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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 10, 2013

former niagara falls building commissioner sentenced for corruption

BUFFALO, N.Y.-- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Guy A. Bax, 66, of Niagara Falls, N.Y., who was convicted of corruptly accepting gratuities in connection with his role as the Building Commissioner for the City of Niagara Falls, was sentenced to two years probation by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. 

            First Assistant U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr., who handled the case, stated that between 2007 and early 2009, the defendant, in his capacity as Acting Building Commissioner for the City of Niagara Falls, routinely recommended and promoted John Gross and his company, David Gross Contracting, to individuals and entities seeking permits and approvals from the city. Bax also created a perception that it would be in the best interest of those seeking permits from the City to use Gross and his company and if they did so, they would have an easier time obtaining the approvals they sought. In exchange for, and as a reward for Bax's practice of steering business to John Gross and David Gross Contracting, the defendant received, at no cost, various items of value from John Gross and David Gross Contracting. The items included home repairs and maintenance services at Bax's personal residence, such as the remodeling of his bathroom and plowing of his driveway, an expense paid trip, free golf outings, and other benefits.

John Gross was sentenced to 33 months in prison in January 2012 for mail fraud and filing a false tax return.

            The plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Richard M. Frankel, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge, Buffalo Division, and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, under the direction of Toni Weinrauch, Special Agent-in-Charge.