Erie County Water Authority: Due Dilligence or Political Attack?

Former Trump Advisor Caputo now Subject of ECWA Inquiry

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Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - A week removed from testimony given on Capitol Hill, former Trump campaign advisor and WBEN contributor Michael Caputo finds himself involved in a political controversy back home.

When the Erie County Water Authority switched from Republican to Democratic control at the beginning of the year, Caputo knew his PR firm Zeppelin Communications was on the way out as the Authority's representative. He was unaware at how it would happen.

"We resigned and told them we'd be happy for the transition to the new PR firm, to do whatever they wanted to do," Caputo said. "We resigned on the 1st of May. On the 3rd of May they passed a resolution saying that I can't resign, they were going to fire me." 

Read the Zeppelin letter to the ECWA HERE 

The firing wasn't the end of it. 

In a letter to Caputo's firm, the Water Authority requested he provide a detailed audit of all invoices dating back to September of 2015. The letter claims that there were deficiencies in being able to provide details on billable hours.

Caputo said he sees the move as political and unnecessary, and that he wasn't required under contract to go in-depth in invoices.

"Our firm bid on this against other PR firms. We were the lowest bid," Caputo said. "We came in at $5,000 a month, which is a very small PR contract for a large agency like the Authority. We were not allowed to bill any more than $5,000, and every single month we worked about $7,500-$8,000 worth of time against the contract. We lost money on this contract, technically, for three years."

"This is just political retribution."

Caputo believes the Democrats in control of the Authority are looking to add to his legal woes after his much-publicized appearances in front of the House, Senate, and Mueller Team as part of the investigation in to Russian election meddling. He said he's hopeful the dispute might give an opportunity to reform the way politics influences the Water Authority.

The Erie County Water Authority is withholding Zeppelin Communication's last check for $5,000. 

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