Chris Koch, the CEO of New Era, voluntarily resigned from the UB Council in early March to “focus on professional obligations,” UB spokesperson John Della Contrada told The Spectrum Wednesday.
Koch hadn’t attended a single council meeting since Dec. 10, 2018, according to council meeting minutes. The UB Council generally meets four times per year.
Koch’s resignation took place weeks before he was sued in Erie County Supreme Court by Daniel Parisi, whom Koch hit with his car last May.
In his suit, Parisi claims that Koch “knowingly, intentionally, maliciously, willfully and with gross and wanton negligence struck” Parisi with his Cadilac Escalade, possibly committing “assault and battery.” Parisi is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.
Parisi, the ex-partner of Koch’s girlfriend, showed up at Oliver’s Restaurant in Buffalo, where Koch and his girlfriend were dining. Parisi said in a statement to police that he noticed his ex-partner and Koch leaving the restaurant, but Erie County District Attorney John Flynn told WIVB that Parisi wasn’t there by chance.
Parisi alleges in his statement that the two exchanged insults, at which point Parisi got out of his car and challenged Koch to a fight. Video footage obtained by WKBW shows Parisi approaching Koch’s car, at which point Koch accelerated forward, nearly crushing Parisi between the two vehicles.
“He tried to hit me with his f—ing car,” Parisi is heard saying on Buffalo Police body camera footage.
Parisi says in his suit that he suffered a broken hand and injured back due to the impact of Koch’s car.
Koch was originally charged in May with first-degree reckless endangerment, a felony, according to an Erie County DA press release. The DA’s office reduced that charge to two misdemeanors in June before the case was dropped entirely by Buffalo City Court Judge Andrew LoTempio in September, according to another DA press release.
“While our office did oppose the motion, we cannot comment further as the case is now sealed by operation of law,” the DA’s office said in its statement.
The DA’s office declined to comment further.
Koch stepped down as president of New Era after charges were dropped, according to WKBW. He maintains his role as CEO.
Parisi claimed that Koch got special treatment because of his status in Buffalo, adding in a WKBW interview that he filed the suit because he was “unhappy” with how his case was treated by the justice system.
Koch’s attorney did not respond to requests for comment.
Parisi’s attorneys did not respond to requests for comment.
Grant Ashley contributed reporting to this story.
Victoria Hill is the Senior News Editor and can be reached at email@example.com