A.G. Underwood Announces Guilty Plea Of G. Steven Pigeon

News from the New York Attorney General's Office 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 28, 2018

Attorney General's Office Press Office / 212-416-8060
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A.G. UNDERWOOD ANNOUNCES GUILTY PLEA OF G. STEVEN PIGEON 

Attorney and Political Consultant G. Steven Pigeon Pleads Guilty to Bribery

BUFFALO – Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood today announced the guilty plea of G. Steven Pigeon, 58, an attorney and political consultant, for bribing former State Supreme Court Justice John A. Michalek. Pigeon entered the guilty plea today before Hon. Donald F. Cerio, Jr., in Erie County Supreme Court to Bribery in the Third Degree in violation of Penal Law section 200.00, a class D felony. 

“As we detailed, Steve Pigeon orchestrated a brazen, multiyear scheme to bribe a sitting judge – demonstrating flagrant contempt for the rule of law and the interests of New Yorkers. Now, he’s being brought to justice,” said Attorney General Underwood. “We have zero tolerance for public corruption. New Yorkers deserve to be able to trust the integrity of their officials – and my office will continue to do everything in our power to hold accountable those who violate that trust.”

From February 2012 through April 2015, Pigeon and Michalek exchanged emails and text messages, which reflected that Pigeon offered, conferred, or agreed to confer benefits to Michalek upon an agreement or understanding that Michalek’s official actions would be influenced. The communication between them shows that Pigeon offered Michalek assistance in obtaining employment and appointments to positions for two of his family members and in helping Michalek obtain a judicial appointment to the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department. Pigeon also gave Michalek and his family member two free tickets to box seats for two separate Buffalo Sabres hockey games and gave one of Michalek’s family members a free ticket to a $1,000 political fundraiser. 

During the same time, Pigeon engaged in ex parte communications with Michalek concerning multiple lawsuits pending before Michalek in which Pigeon had an interest. At times, those communications involved Pigeon receiving from Michalek non-public information about the matters. Pigeon was able to provide ex parte input and advice to Michalek on these cases. Michalek selected an attorney of Pigeon’s choosing to serve as a Receiver, when that person was not on a court issued list of qualified Receivers. In order to appoint that person, Michalek filed a document with the Office of Court Administration where he falsely claimed that he required that attorney’s expertise in handling that receivership. 

On June 29, 2016, Michalek pleaded guilty in connection with the same scheme, for receiving bribes from Pigeon and filing a false document with the New York State Office of Court Administration. He is awaiting sentencing. Following his conviction, Michalek resigned from the judiciary and was disbarred.

Today's plea is also in satisfaction of the December 2017 indictment against Pigeon for crimes under the New York State Election Law relating to illegal campaign coordination during the 2013 Democratic primary races of two candidates for the Erie County Legislature. The Attorney General's prosecution of Kristy Mazurek and David Pfaff remains ongoing.

Judge Cerio set December 21, 2018 for sentencing for Pigeon, who was allowed to remain free on $10,000 bail. His passport was confiscated at his arraignment. Pigeon faces up to one year in jail; he will also lose his law license.

Assistant Attorney General Susan H. Sadinsky of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Bureau and Assistant Attorney General Diane M. LaVallee of the Attorney General’s Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau are prosecuting this case under the supervision of Public Integrity Bureau Chief Daniel Cort and Deputy Bureau Chief Stacy Aronowitz. The investigation was handled by Supervising Investigator Richard Doyle and Investigator Brian G. Ross of the Investigators Bureau, which is led by Deputy Chief Antoine Karam and Chief Dominick Zarrella. Senior Analyst Robert Vanwey of the Attorney General’s Office also worked on the investigation. Executive Deputy Attorney General Margaret Garnett leads the Criminal Justice Division.  

The Attorney General’s Office thanks the United States Attorney’s Office of the Western District of New York, New York State Police, and Federal Bureau of Investigation for their work on the case. The Attorney General’s Office would also like to thank the New York State Board of Elections for their assistance.