Former ECC President sues union for defamation

BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) – The former president of Erie Community College is taking a stand against a union representing the school’s teachers, accusing them of defamation.

In a new lawsuit, David Balkin accused the faculty association of Erie Community College and its president, Andrew Sako, of slandering him online. The lawsuit alleges that Sako allegedly released statements to the Union website He said the former president engaged in “anti-union and anti-humanist antics that have contributed to a negative public image of SUNY Erie.”

“The south campus has been severely debased by the ‘deactivation’, to use our former president’s term, of the south campus and the construction of the new stadium,” read the union’s July 2023 online update.

These statements were also circulated in emails sent to union members, the lawsuit says.

The FFECCs July 2023 update said the following:

“The FFECC and others have dismissed the behavior of the former president in his words and actions: his deceit, slashing and burning to disband the college and convert it into a low-tariff trade school, and ten months of blaming the FFECC and the lazy old faculty of all problems at SUNY Erie. We fought until the board and others saw his true colors and realized they had hired the wrong person!”

July 2023 FFECC update

“The comments were intended to damage the plaintiff’s reputation,” the lawsuit says. “The statements were false or were made in reckless disregard for the truth or falsity of these statements and were made with malicious intent.”

The lawsuit states that the FFECC did not stop Sako from making defamatory statements about Balkin, even after he became aware of his emails and web posts.

“The plaintiff was well known in the community as a college president and was known as…
have good character,” the lawsuit states.

Balkin, who served as ECC President from 2010 February by December 2022 calls for the union’s July update to be withdrawn or amended. He is also seeking $300,000, or an amount to be determined, in punitive damages.

When asked for comment, the ECC had no comment as of Thursday afternoon.

Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. More of his work can be found here and Follow him on Twitter.

Tom Vazquez

Tom Vazquez is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Tom Vazquez joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with Tom Vazquez by emailing

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