BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Though you rarely see him on television, behind the scenes, First Deputy Mayor Steven M. Casey wielded a lot of power and knew how to use it.
Now Casey is resigning from Mayor Byron Brown’s administration to work with developer Scott Congel, who is planning a big project on the site of the old Seneca Mall in West Seneca.
“I congratulate him for being selected to this position,” said Brown. “To turn around the operation of city government, and to put the City of Buffalo on firm financial footing required focus and discipline and Steve Casey has helped bring that discipline to city government.”
That property is a potential site for a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills. Casey will head S&R Co. of West Seneca LLC, a subsidiary of developer Congel’s mall and property development company.
Casey got his start in politics working for the Democratic Party under Steve Pigeon. He and Brown have worked together since Erie County Executive Dennis Gorski’s administration in the 1990s.
Casey served as Brown’s top adviser during his time in the New York State Senate, and then came with him to Buffalo City Hall in 2006.
“I saw a guy who really worked day and night for the City of Buffalo,” said Common Council president, Darius Pridgen.
Council member, Michael LoCurto has a different opinion.
“There’s one word that describes Steve Casey…malice.”
Council member David Franczyk compared Casey to the ‘ghost in the machine’
“He was the lurking entity that kind of conspired behind the throne.”
LoCurto criticized Casey for being too hands on.
“From hires to stop signs. I mean everything had to go through Casey’s office.”
At the bargaining table, the heads of the police and blue collar unions says Casey was a fair negotiator, but that’s not the opinion of the Fire Union President, Dan Cunningham.
“I believe Steve Casey was very vindictive, devious and it wasn’t about what’s best for the workers.”
“My decision to leave was very difficult, but after 23 years in government, it’s time for change,” Casey said in a prepared statement. “It’s time to think big and I believe in this West Seneca project. It’s a great opportunity and will forever change Erie County.”
News 4 previously reported that Congel has exciting plans for his property where the old Seneca Mall once stood. The land is nearly 50 acres, right next to the Ridge Road exit of the Thruway, bordered by Route 240 and Slade Avenue.