Poloncarz calls on Dixon to fire political consultant tied to insider trading accusations

Jun 28, 2019

A longtime political advisor for Congressman Chris Collins and current political consultant for Erie County Executive candidate Lynne Dixon has been accused of benefitting from insider trading. At this time, Christopher Grant has not been charged with a crime, but current County Executive Mark Poloncarz said Dixon needs to do the right thing and cut ties with Grant.

Christopher Grant speaking on behalf of Chris Collins after NY-27 race in 2018
Credit Nick Lippa / WBFO

"I had a conversation with my campaign manager today. I told her, if you had been accused of insider trading, I would have immediately fired you. Because we need to have responsible government, ethical government. When I've had to deal with issues, commissioners or others, we've immediately performed an investigation and if it appeared that the person violated the law, we ensured they no longer worked for Erie County government," Poloncarz said.

In a statement released by Dixon, she said Poloncarz’s claims are ‘preposterous’ and that four of his top commissioners have left office in disgrace, including Al Dirschberger who was sentenced to five years in prison for raping a county employee.

Poloncarz said he took action when it was needed.

"When the information came to us of an investigation in Albany, I immediately commenced an investigation. That was on December 23," Poloncarz said. "We couldn't get ahold of him for a couple of days around the Christmas holiday. Finally got ahold of him on December 28 and I demanded his resignation. Even though it was just an allegation."

Grant owned approximately 23,300 shares of Innate Immunotherapeutics’ stock as of May 31, 2017 according to the Buffalo News. He dumped those shares the day after Collins learned the stock may be worthless.

Michael Hook, a longtime republican staffer, Gerald Bucheit, real estate developer and businessman in Buffalo, and Christopher Graham, president of Volland Electric of Cheektowaga, have also been connected to accusations of insider trading.

According to WKBW, Buchheit gave political donations to Poloncarz's campaign. Poloncarz said he will return every donation Bucheit has made in the past year.

WBFO has reached out to the Dixon camp. No comment has not been returned.