Joseph Mascia says he's not surprised Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown removed him from his position as Commissioner of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority, adding that he is exploring legal options to reverse the decision.
In a statement released late Friday afternoon, Brown said Mascia is “a racist masquerading as an activist.” He goes on to say that Mascia “holds strong discriminatory beliefs against the people he claims to be helping.”
Mascia said the move is no surprise to him, and claimed the mayor has been repeatedly trying to oust him because he has exposed problems within the housing authority.
“I have tried to expose the corruption. When you send numerous emails to the mayor about the misuse of funds, mismanagement, incompetence, well you know what it’s still there. It didn’t go away. To remove me for this reason is just to hope that whatever investigations are going on will stop.”
Mascia said his constituents know better.
“I was just nominated by a city-wide council from the housing authority for president of the Resident Advisory Board,” said Mascia. “So if the residents didn’t think that highly of me or thought I was a racist in any way I doubt very much if they’d want me to represent them on the Resident Advisory Board. So, in fact, I’m not going away.”
Mascia’s removal follows his suspension from the BMHA Board in July 2015 after audio recordings were discovered in which Mascia repeatedly used racist language to describe elected officials in Buffalo, housing authority leaders, and African-Americans.
The Mayor had the executive power to rule on Mascia’s removal at the time of his suspension. He opted to appoint a hearing officer to the case and stated that he made his decisions based on the results of a fact-finding mission.
Mascia said he will talk with his attorney and review his legal options, including an appeal and a possible injunction aimed at delaying a June 14 election for housing commissioners. Mascia’s removal would prevent him from seeking reelection.
Mayor Brown was unavailable for comment when attempts were made Friday afternoon.