Lets start out with a joke,
Why did Niagara Falls get all of the toxic waste and Lewiston all of the lawyers?
Niagara Falls got to pick first. (Thank you thank you, I’ll be here all week folks)
Niagara county needs many things. What we don’t need is more county employed lawyers. Guess how many we have. If you guessed 25, an unreasonably high number for a county in desperate need of better financial management, you’d be crazy. Crazy and sadly too frugal of a guesser. 36! That is how many attorneys Niagara County employs. Does Niagara County need 36 attorneys?
So where do these attorneys come from (besides the bottom of a swamp)? The Niagara County GOP, currently the overwhelming legislative majority, has the authority to hire all of the County’s attorneys. Niagara County attorneys enjoy health insurance, pensions, and a yearly pay raise. Further, all of these attorneys are permitted to have their own private practice outside of their County responsibilities. The Senior County Attorney, Claude George, earns almost $100,000.00 per year from the County alone.
So how does a budding young barrister get one of these coveted jobs? Well, by looking at the list of Republican Party and George Maziarz donors, the answer is clear. Attorneys get hired simply by donating large sums of money to Maziarz and the GOP.
The GOP even has an annual golf tournament, catered to attorneys, in which they demand a donation of $500.00 per golfer. And attorneys, both currently employed or anxiously awaiting employment, trip over themselves to make the donations.
Since all attorneys are not the same (with the exception of the speed in which they react to a passing ambulance), we must ask, is Niagara County getting the best legal services for their money? We think not. Clearly, Niagara County’s team of legal eagles is comprised solely of attorneys generously contributing to the GOP and desperately hoping for a job.
Let’s look at a few of “Queen” George’s hand selected attorneys:
Theodore W. Janese, III, Esq.: An assistant County attorney for the last few years. He rakes in about $40,000.00 per year for this part-time gig. On top of it, Maziarz appointed Janese as the chair of the Niagara Falls Water Board where Janese recently approved a patronage promotion to Republican-esque City Councilman Glenn Choolokian.
Niagara County Assistant County Attorney and former North Tonawanda City Court Judge R. Thomas Burgasser, Esq.: A close friend with the Senator, since Maziarz’s North Tonawanda days. Burgasser even used his connections to get his daughter, Jessica Burgasser, Esq., a part-time job with the Conflicts Attorney’s Office.
Speaking of Conflicts Attorneys, this is a new department within the County. Attorney, and Legislative Majority Leader Rick Updegrove sponsored legislation to create this new department of attorneys. The department is so controversial that it cannot even be accessed through the County website. It is rumored that there are 6 or 7 part-time Conflicts Attorneys in this office. Their sole job, we are told, is to represent those criminals that cannot be represented by the Public Defender’s Office because of some conflict of interest. Some of these attorneys have a case load of 2 or 3 cases per year. Don’t worry. Updegrove claims that their close to $50,000.00 per year salaries is a cost savings to the County. Makes you wonder whether Updegrove had some friends of his own that needed a job in this Department.
The newest Assistant County Attorney, Katherine D. Alexander, Esq: Hired late in 2011. Ms. Alexander was previously employed in Senator Maziarz’s Albany office while she was attending Albany Law School. She graduated law school in May 2011, passed the bar, and was admitted into practice in the Fall of 2011. Maziarz made good on his promise and provided her with a job as Niagara County Attorney just a few weeks after she became an attorney. Is this the most qualified candidate for the job? Or is being a County Attorney so simple that a lawyer only needs a week or two experience before she can master whatever Niagara County throws at her?
The Industrial Development Agency, run by Henry M. Sloma, also has a staff of attorneys that is not included in Niagara’s dream team of 36. The IDA is represented by Maziarz’s right hand man “King” Henry’s firm, Harris Beach. In fact, “King” Henry Wojtaszek, Esq. is a partner in that law firm. Wojtaszek’s wife Caroline Wojtaszek was also a Assistant District Attorney until she took a job with Judge Farkas in Niagara County.
And the list of attorneys goes on and on. Besides the County Attorney’s Office, there is a slew of District Attorneys, Public Defenders, Conflicts Attorneys, Social Services Attorneys, Water Board Attorneys, Industrial Development Attorneys, Labor attorneys, and other attorneys retained for special projects at an hourly rate. (The law firm of Webster Szanyi was retained, and billed the County about $300,000.00 to sue the New York State Power Authority. The firm eventually lost the lawsuit, but kept the fees).
And the hits keep coming! Former Legislator drop-put Vincent Sandonato is currently in law school and has been promised a job if and when he passes the Bar Exam. Also, Republican attorney Jenelle Messer, Esq., after diligently working on every Republican campaign under the sun, is expected to receive a job soon too.
For those Niagara County residents that have children that are aspiring lawyers, heed this advice: Register as a Republican, contribute and work on as many GOP campaigns, and a lucrative County Attorney job will be bestowed upon you by Queen George Maziarz and his minions.
On Friday, August 24, 2012, I had the opportunity to witness the Sal Paonessa ”internet radio” show. His special guest that night was none other than the Supreme Chancellor of the Nick Wallenda fan club, Senator George Maziarz.
Ironically, Maziarz, a Republican, and the third most powerful Senator in the State, boasted about his close personal relationship with Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo. In fact, Maziarz told Poenessa that after the Senate and the Assembly passed legislation to allow Wallenda to tightrope walk across the gorge, the Governor planned on vetoing it. However, Maziarz bragged that the Governor changed his mind and signed the bill allowing Wallenda to attempt the walk, as “a personal favor to” Maziarz.
Maziarz also spent more of his time on the Poenessa show promoting Wallenda’s new biography. Of course, you may also recall that it was Maziarz who publicly opposed Mayor Dyster’s request to have Wallenda honor his contract with the City of Niagara Falls and repay the City the $25,000.00 he was obligated to pay.
The rest of Maziarz’s interview consisted of “Boy” George describing the “psychological” and “economic” issues that the City of Niagara Falls and its residents are having. Clearly, Georgie Boy knows the problems that our City and residents face, but he is ill prepared or unmotivated to actually help us.
Maziarz could use his “close personal relationship with Governor Cuomo” to resolve the Seneca Nation issue and deliver our desperately needed Casino revenues. Instead, Maziarz has been expending his energy and resources to promote one daredevil that provided just one performance in the City. I’m no economist, but I am pretty sure that the tightrope walker didn’t create $58 Million in revenue to the City of Niagara Falls. Recouping that money would be a true feat worth praising.
In reality, Queen George needs the City of Niagara Falls to be desperate and in dire need of the Casino money. That way, he can prance into town, like a knight in shining armor, and deliver the casino money to the City. (But only after pilfering the revenue and doling it out to his local special interests).
Matter of fact we are currently investigating a story about some young staffers who left Assemblyman Ceretto’s office due to feeling that Boy George had too much control of his office. Rumor has it that most of Ceretto’s staff are just Maziarz plants. Its been reported to us that the staffers felt there was illegal use of tax payer money being used by the office to print and distribute political items. One staffer even noted that they had direct orders from Maziarz to secretly sabotage projects in Niagara Falls. So then little George could scurry into town and clean up the mess.
It’s scary, though, that the Maziarz monarchy over Niagara Falls is almost in place. Queen George predicts an easy victory over his challengers. With him, he will bring “King” Henry Wojtaszek, his Court Jester Nik Wallenda, and his bumbling City Councilmen Fruscione, Choolokian and Anderson.
It really is time we start questioning our elected officials and move away from this plague of ‘business as usual’ in Niagara Falls.
Citizens United was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions. This case has changed elections as we knew them. This is the fraud; not dead people voting or Mickey Mouse trying to register. This ruling should be enough to make TEA Parties take to the streets. “Patriots” should be unfurling the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag all across the nation. Instead, nothing not a word about this incredible shift in power. Because of this disgraceful ruling, the wealthy can now choose their candidate and probably get them elected to any office they like. It’s funny how supporters of Citizens United bring up the fact that not only corporations can donate unlimited amounts of money but “unions can do the same”. I want to know what union can come even close to the resources that Exxon has! Mitt Romney is the poster child for the Citizens United ruling. He doesn’t have to say anything; he will just roll the dice that his billionaire friends will get him elected. “Candidate Mitt Romney is brought to you by Exxon Mobile”. This is the ruling that started the Occupy movement, and gave the 1% even more power!
Voting is not a privilege it is a RIGHT. So when States try to make it necessary for you to have State issued identification to vote we should all be alarmed. For example Tennessee requires you to pay an $8 fee to receive a Voter Identification or you cannot vote. Poll taxes are outlawed by the Constitution. Making a citizen pay to get identification so they can vote is a poll tax. This is why States Rights are so dangerous. The other thing that I find weird is there is NO voting fraud problem in the United States. There has been study after study done proving that there is NO voting fraud issue. The issue is Republicans know when the Lower Middle class starts voting they LOSE.
I read yesterday that some States are considering having welfare recipients drug tested. I wonder if the same States are considering drug testing for all those receiving State funds. We all know the answer will be NO! Could you imagine having Yankees owner Hal Stienbrenner drug tested before he received State funds for the new Yankee Stadium? Anytime I hear the words “States Rights” I know some sort of bigotry is around the corner. Whether its race, sexuality, ethnicity, or economic standing “States Rights” is a code word for it. Here is a contradiction; all those small government Republicans are in favor of “States Rights”. The crazy thing is the only thing that “States Rights” does is increase the size of government. Republicans don’t care though as long as there Capital Gains Tax doesn’t go up!!! The irony is most folks voting for the GOP will never encounter Capital Gains.
From The Post:
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Detailing the history of One Niagara will prove to be this author’s greatest undertaking since he completed his dissertation on Basket Weaving in graduate school, many eons ago. With the complexity of this business, and the fact that I do not want to lose my audience, I will provide only the Cliff’s Notes version (or Spark Notes for our 30 and under crowd):
One Niagara is possibly the most valuable piece of real estate in the City of Niagara Falls. It was once owned by Niagara Falls Reporter’s publisher and low-income housing scam artist Frank Parlato. Parlato utilized this property as a parking lot and a trashy bazaar. No wonder he fell behind on his property taxes, at times owing the City, County and School District around One Million Dollars. Under Parlato’s ownership, the building was condemned multiple times too. It is even rumored that Parlato was living in the building.
Fast forward, Parlato “sells” the building to a group of investors. The investor’s group is led by Attorney Paul Grenga. The list of investors is kept secret, yet it is believed that Parlato still owns the lion’s share of the company. Needless to say, the “sale” of the company was more of an attempt to give One Niagara a “cleaner” and “saner” image with Grenga as a spokesman, instead of straightjacket bound Parlato.
During this time, the City of Niagara Falls brought foreclosure proceedings against One Niagara for the almost One Million Dollars in property taxes that One Niagara owes the City. Even this couldn’t be a simple affair! At
least two other entities joined the action stating that they were equity owners of One Niagara and that the current leadership under Grenga was not recognized. Apparently, like the many people who bought houses under Parlato’s low-income housing schemes, some more investors were rudely awaken! Who would have thought Parlato would rip them off? (See the Seagram’s heir scandal in which Parlato allegedly conned the family out of One Million Dollars…apparently, he didn’t use this money to pay his property taxes). This case, after about two years, is still pending in State Supreme Court.
The Link: Parlato’s newspaper, the Niagara Falls Reporter, survives based on the gratuitous investment from Roger Trevino and Niagara Falls Redevelopment. It is even been reported that Trevino ghost writes articles
for the paper. Trevino is also very politically active. His political allies include none other than Gary Parenti and Steve Pigeon. For years, even Parenti’s protégé, Council chairman Sam Fruscione was given a pass from the Niagara Falls Reporter for all of his indiscretions. Never once did that paper write a negative article about Fruscione (except once, and he was warned ahead of time). But then again, why would it? Fruscione was protected by Parenti. Fruscione relies on Parenti for advice on issues. And when the Niagara Falls Reporter decides, almost every week, to write a negative article about Mayor Paul Dyster, it is Sam Fruscione who is always available with a quote and negative comment.
So clearly, Parlato, Parenti, Pigeon, Trevino and Fruscione are in the figurative bed together.
That is also the reason why Fruscione does not openly call for One Niagara to pay its real estate taxes. While the rest of Niagara’s residents and businesses are struggling to make ends meet and to pay their taxes, One Niagara is given a free pass from the Council Chairman. Is this a repayment for the free pass he has been given at the hands of the Reporter? Or is it something deeper: maybe Sam Fruscione scrounged up enough cash to become an investment partner in One Niagara? Either way, Fruscione’s choice to ignore this huge problem, in the face of a looming City bankruptcy, is improper and unethical.
We invite commenters of all opinions here at the Post and encourage a free discourse between intelligent people who genuinely want the best for this city. Color us surprised when one of these commenters was no other than Joe Donovin. If our good readers are not familiar with this character, he was a contributor to The Niagara Falls Reporter. Now, we are not sure if this is the same JD but it inspired us to discuss a theory we had been meaning to share.
What does Niagara Falls Reporter contributor Joe Donovin, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy all have in common? THEY DON’T EXIST!!
After reading a few articles published by Joe Donovin in the Reporter, we became curious. Specifically, Mr. Donovin’s information seemed pretty detailed and personal. The stories were definitely written by an insider. Since we have never heard of anyone named Joe Donovin, we did a little research into this mysterious man. And just like our prior attempts to locate the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, we were equally unsuccessful in finding out who Donovin is. There is nobody within 100 miles of Niagara Falls that has that name.
We then turned to good ole’ investigative reporting. What we discovered was shocking! Rumor has it, that “Joe Donovin” was a collaborative project between City Council Chairman Sam Fruscione and Kevin Ormsby. Insiders tell us that Sam and Kevin wanted a vehicle to trash the city, while keeping their “good” name. Thus, the birth of JD.
We learned that Niagara Falls City Controller Maria Brown made some enemies by recommending the elimination of a position in City Hall. Turns out, the job that was to be eliminated was held by Kevin Ormsby. Next thing you know “Joe Donovin” is writing scathing articles about Ms. Brown.
In the end, Ormsby kept his job in City Hall by virtue of his friendship and loyalty to Council Chairman Sam Fruscione.
We also learned that in addition to writing under a false name, he was sharing privileged information with The Reporter. Why, would Council Chair Sam Fruscione dare violate the oath he took to protect the best interests of the public and partner with the Niagara Falls Reporter?
Let’s take a moment to examine Sam Fruscione. A man who since entering the political scene in 2005 hasn’t accomplished much more than causing scandal or sensationalizing the city’s pitfalls. Fruscione, is a self proclaimed “proud Italian-American” and even hosts the Little Italy public access television with his bestest buddy in the whole wide world, Jerry Genova. Their show glamorizes organized crime and obsesses with the Italian-American underworld. Instead of focusing on the proud hard-working heritage of Italian-Americans, these two worship mobsters and murderers. Unfortunately for the rest of us, our chairman never boned up on real Italian-American history and instead watched a mob movie or two. It was also Fruscione and Genova who were at the heart of the Pine Avenue Business Association’s collapse and the demise of the annual Italian Festival.
So what exactly does Fruscione stand for politically? Let’s look at the recent graduate incentive program introduced by the Dyster administration over the past few weeks. Last Wednesday, in the Niagara Gazette, Fruscione stated that he supported this new program. Yet in this week’s Niagara Falls Reporter, Fruscione changed his mind and no longer supports the program.
Fruscione also claims that he supports the demolition of vacant housing. But Fruscione slashed the budget for demolitions to $75,000.00, knowing very well that demolitions cost about 22,000 a pop. Is he serious? His budget will not even pay for 4 demolitions. So what did he do with the money instead?
How about a $250,000 Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center Facade Improvement. That could be eleven demolitions! And he sent this money to the Medical Center despite the fact that the hospital’s CEO earns over $600,000 per year.
What will be important to Sam Fruscione this year? Who will he be sending our money to? Another NFMMC project (who btw is a big contributor to The Reporter)? A tax break for Frank Parlato’s One Niagara?
Sources tell us that Parlato is a regular visitor of Fruscione’s at City Hall. And every time Parlato leaves Fruscione’s office, he has volumes of documents in his hands.
Maybe if Sam can’t be trusted with his city documents, some of his privileges should be suspended…just like his email account with the School District was suspended because he was abusing it with his buddy Gary Parenti.
With the primary quickly approaching, we, of course, are seeing a heavy push at the end to expose each candidate for their weaknesses. The only real primary this September is between incumbent Monarchical matriarch George Maziarz vs. political newcomer Johnny Destino. These two will battle for the Republican line on September 13th.
Destino’s campaign, which seems to be echoed by Democratic candidate Amy Witryol, argue that Maziarz has been, at best, unsuccessful in helping the residents of Niagara County since he took office 18 years ago. Clearly, though, with all the hype and exaggeration that goes into a campaign, these statements are not entirely accurate.
The truth is, “Queen” George Maziarz, with the help of his suave political confidant, “King” Henry Wojtaszek, have helped quite a few residents of Niagara County. Specifically, the King and Queen have used their amassed power to dole out political patronage positions to their family, friends and loyal supporters.
Thanks to the help of reformist Carl Paladino, here is a list of the GEORGE MAZIARZ FRIENDS AND FAMILY UNEMPLOYMENT REDUCTION PLAN:
“Wife”: Beverly Maziarz is the Secretary to Honorable Richard C Kloch Sr., Acting Supreme Court Justice, Niagara County (appointed by Governor.) Her first marriage was to Mel Denny.
Brother: Edmund P Maziarz Jr., Town Justice Pendleton. Former Niagara Community College Board of Trustees is married to Marian Louise Maziarz, an employee of North Tonawanda School District.
Brother: Marvin Maziarz works at Niagara County Community College, Former Member of the Niagara County Community College Board of Trustees appointed by the Governor.
Nephew: Stephen Maziarz, arrested in 2003 while working for the Peace Bridge Authority, concocted a scheme to smuggle unknown items. George’s chum and Chairman of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency Henry Sloma got him a job at the NFTA working in Accounts Receivable in 2011, making $40,975.
Brother: Paul Maziarz is City of Tonawanda Director of Facilities and Operations
Brother: David C. Maziarz works at the City of Tonawanda Engineering Department and his wife Dora Maziarz is Senior Account Clerk Typist at the North Tonawanda Fire Department.
Nephew: Matthew Maziarz, 29, is employed at North Ton Water Department and was a former North Tonawanda Parks and Recreation employee and a former Department of Corrections employee.
Cousin: Paul Kudla: works on Maziarz staff. Former North Tonawanda Alderman.
Wife’s Ex-Husband: Melvin Denny is head of Water Department in Barker.
Mel Denny’s New Wife: Meg Jo Denny is employed at Barker School as Teacher.
Step Daughter: Kristina Ginty is a teacher in Lockport City Schools.
Step Son-In-Law: Devin Ginty, Kristina’s husband, is a New York Power Authority employee and former AES employee
Step Daughter: Tricia Denny is employed by the City of Lockport Police and was on Senate payroll: 2008- 2009.
Cousin: Jessie (Granchelli) Haley works at the New York State Power Authority at $84,294 per year.
Sister-In-Law: Molly White works at the New York State Power Authority at $79,573 per year
Sister-In-Law: Mary (White) Boudeman works in the Record’s Department at Eastern Niagara Hospital.
Brother-In-Law: Scott Boudeman is the Newfane Town Justice (ran unopposed)
Brother-In-Law: Michael White is the Treasurer, City of Lockport and Former Deputy County Treasurer under Broderick.
Friend: Marcus Hall works in George’s office and is a Councilman in Newfane. His wife Heather Palmer Hall is the Secretary to the Supervisor of Newfane. Heather’s mother and father live next door to Beverly & George Maziarz.
Friend: Malcolm A Needler is on the Niagara Community College Board of Trustees, Financial Secretary and a former County Legislator. He currently works at the New York State Power Authority. He formerly worked at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and Computer Task Group.
Friend: “King” Henry Wojtaszek was appointed Legal Counsel to the State’s Off Track Betting Board. He is former North Tonawanda City Attorney, 1998-2004, Partner Harris Beach 2005-2010, which firm has taken hundreds of thousands in fees from various government and quasi- government entities in Niagara County. He was Chairman of the Niagara County Republican Party from 2000-2009. He is still rumored to be running the western part of the Niagara County Republican Party.
Friend: Kathleen Wojtaszek-Gariano, Henry’s sister. She was Assistant Niagara County Attorney from 1999-2001. In 2001 Kathleen was appointed to that bench by Mayor Mary Irene Elia. She later lost the election to Robert Restaino. Kathleen was later appointed to Niagara County Family Court.
Friend: Paul Wojtaszek, Henry’s brother, is a Niagara County Legislator and works as a confidential law clerk to a Supreme Court Justice in Erie County.
Friend: Caroline Wojtaszek, “King” Henry’s wife, was Assistant District Attorney for 14 years before resigning earlier this year to become Confidential Law Clerk to County Judge Sperrazza.
Friend: Henry (Mickey) Sloma is Chairman of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency and is Vice Chairman (and former Acting Commissioner) of the NFTA Board of Commissioners.
Friend: Sharon M. Sloma is Henry’s second wife and is the Appointed Niagara County Deputy Social Services Commissioner. Their daughtersHolly Sloma and Heather DeCastro are both employed by the Niagara County District Attorney Michael Violante’s office as Assistant DA’s.Heather DeCastro’s ex-husband, Damon DeCastro, was a City of Niagara Falls Attorney until he was fired after they divorced. In 2008 Henry Sloma’s girlfriend Bonnie Gifford was appointed Chair of the Niagara County Community College Board of Directors. Sloma is responsible for the appointment of current NFTA Executive Director Kim Minkel. She was appointed in December 2010.
Friend: Judge Richard C Kloch Sr: is an Acting Supreme Court Justice, Niagara County, Appointed by Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman, 2001 to present. He was appointed as a Court of Claims Judge by Governor George Pataki in 2001 and was reappointed 2005-2013. He was an elected North Tonawanda City Court Judge from 1986-2001, was Commissioner, US Selective Service 1977-2002 and is a Director, North Tonawanda Housing Development Corp, A Buffalo News Article from 6/14/2001 quote by Kloch: “George Maziarz has worked unendingly, tirelessly, to get a Court of Claims judgeship appointment for his district,…my family and I will be eternally grateful.” Kloch is also the godfather of a son of Henry Wojtaszek.
Friend: Ron Winter is Judge Richard Kloch’s Clerk. Ron’s wife, Joan Winter, is a school teacher in Lyndonville.
Friend: Mike J. Norris is current Chairman of the Niagara County Republican Party; is the City of Lockport Attorney and State GOP Committeeman for the 142nd Assembly District. He is a former District Aide for Assemblyman David E. Seaman (R) Lockport, former Vice Chairman of the City of Lockport GOP Committee; former Elections Commissioner 1999-2002 and former Staff member in Senator Maziarz Office. It is rumored that while “King” Henry controls the western part of the County Republican Party, Mike Norris controls the eastern part of the county.
Friend: Jim Ward; Former County Legislator; Executive Advisor to George since 2003 is a former Niagara Falls Bridge Commissioner. In 2000/2001 Ward was involved in a scheme to conceal from the Legislature’s Administration Committee, which he headed at the time, the fact that a 10% pay cut the Legislature had voted for the election commissioners the previous year had never materialized in their paychecks. He is a former Niagara Falls Bridge Commissioner.
Friend: Patty Weiss is George Maziarz’s personal pit-bull. Her husband, Wally Weiss, is an employee of New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). George Maziarz is Chairman of the State Energy Committee. Patty’s son, Dan Weiss, is the Chairman of the Niagara County Conservative Party and is a teacher in the Niagara Falls School District. Dan’s son Michael allegedly works for the Niagara County Water Department.
Friend: Mike Carney is Deputy Elections Commissioner; Former Deputy County Treasurer under Broderick, (appointed). He resigned as Deputy Treasurer to take a job as Grant Director for NCCC. He is the former Clerk of the Niagara County Legislature, former North Tonawanda City Councilman and former North Tonawanda School Board Member.
Friend: Kyle Andrews, 29, is the youngest countywide officeholder, appointed by Governor Paterson to take over for David Broderick as Niagara County Treasurer after Broderick resigned as a result of scathing audit issued by the State Comptroller’s Office. Kyle’s starting salary as Treasurer is $82,775.
Friend: Vincent Sandonato, a former Legislator was appointed as Senator Mark Grisanti’s Niagara Falls Chief of Staff in 2010. It is Sandonato who was tasked with the duty to overthrow Niagara Falls Republican Chairman Robert Krause this summer.
Friend: Andrea McNulty, after being forced to resign from the Legislature when she secretly moved out of her district, McNulty quickly landed on her feet with an Administrative Assistant job under Jennifer Pitarresi’s Risk and Insurance Services Department in Niagara County. She recently took a job as the Marketing Director for the Niagara County IDA under Henry Sloma.
Friend: James Sobczyk, former Niagara County Legislative Clerk and current Niagara County Auditor. Both positions are patronage and appointed by the Maziarz’s legislative majority.
Friend: Kenneth Genewick is a Niagara County GOP committee man and Lockport Alderman. He was appointed as the Director of the Office of the Aging in Niagara County in 2011.
Friend: Joseph Vacanti, is a former Niagara County Legislator. He resigned from this position and was promptly appointed as the Niagara County Civil Service Director.
Friend: Christian Peck is the secret publicist of Maziarz’s NiagaraTimes.Blogspot.com. This blog is used by Maziarz and gang to attack their political foes. Most recently attacked was Republican reformist Carl Paladino. Peck’s position, at a cost of more than $60,000.00 per year is purely patronage and was created solely for him.
The County also employs over 33 attorneys. All of whom are regular contributors and active supporters of the Republican Party.
Clearly, Maziarz has accomplished his goal to keep his friends and family gainfully employed. But while the rest of Niagara suffers the highest tax rate in the entire Country, crippling unemployment, and a lack of development, Maziarz continues to dole out patronage and causes our taxes to grow year in and year out.
I never thought I would ever utter these words, but I miss Mike Hudson. Anyone with a little bit of common sense understood what the Niagara Falls Reporter was about from the very beginning. Sensationalism. Very rarely did Hudson and crew get a story right, and when they did, we would surely hear it for years to come.
It is also the negativity and crass “journalism” from the Reporter that makes Niagara such an undesirable area for outside interests. Pretend you are an outside investor and you may want to invest in the City. You decide, like any good investor, to do some research. You quickly, with a simple Google search, stumble upon the Niagara Falls Reporter. Week after week, year after year, the Reporter stakes claims and wild accusations regarding scandals and corruption. All of which, with the exception of their accusations regarding former Mayor Anello, are blatant falsities. Who then in their right mind would want to spend their hard earned money investing in this area when a group of naysayers are so intent on ruining the image of this area?
But like I said, I miss Mike Hudson. And no, I am not a saloon owner. Like him or not, at least when Mike Hudson was in charge of the Reporter, there was at least a sliver of journalistic integrity.
Yet with Hudson out of the picture, at least for the most part, we are left with the lunacy of Frank Parlato, Jr. While Hudson basks in as much sun and Rum in Los Angeles, Parlato’s crazed mind runs afoul throughout the Reporter.
Parlato, it has been said, writes most of the articles of the entire Reporter and simply slaps other people’s names on as the “author” or “journalist”. Parlato, a shareholder of the One Niagara building, uses the Reporter to wage war against the State and the City. It is the City that has filed foreclosure proceedings against One Niagara for their almost $1 Million in tax arrears. And if you listen to Frank long enough (a minute or two is usually too long), you will hear him gripe about how the State park across the street from One Niagara is destroying his business.
Besides Parlato using the Reporter to wage a war to support his personal interests, he succumbs all of his readers to a writing style reticent for junior high school newspaper columnists and right wing blogs. The spelling and grammar is atrocious and the layout is sloppy and confusing.
Most egregious is Parlato’s narcissistic Letters to the Editor section. Never, in my entire existence, have I seen a letter to the editor receive a retort. But now, under Parlato’s crazed leadership, the Reporter responds to each and every Letter to the Editor that criticizes their newspaper. Can’t the Reporter stand by its own articles and opinions without trying to get the last word in?
So Mike Hudson, you may not be one of God’s most perfect creatures. You may like your gin a little more than most, and you may be in dire need of a haircut, but we miss you badly. Please come back and rid us of the Parlato experiment.
For so long, we have seen the Republican Party cater to the desires of the religious right. Holy extremists press the Republicans into championing their extreme religious beliefs. While I am not a devoutly religious person, I do firmly believe in many of the morals and religious laws that are passed on. I honor my mother and father, I do not kill, cheat or steal. I respect my elders and my neighbors.
So why is the Republican led Niagara County Government cutting vital services to our City’s elderly? Office for the Aging Director, and Republican Alderman from Lockport, Kenneth Genewick, unilaterally decided to cut three Senior Citizen Nutrition Sites for Niagara Falls residents. What most people do not realize, is that without these nutrition sites, many senior citizens will not have any means to eat. This is literally the last line of sustenance for many of our elders.
So it was in bad taste that Genewick mailed letters to city residents that utilize the important nutritional services at these locations informing them that the Sites will be closed effective August 31, 2012. The sites to be closed are located at St. Johns AME (located in the North End of Niagara Falls), Tuscarora Nation House (located on the Tuscarora Reservation) and Summit View Place Apartments (located on Williams Road in Niagara Falls).
The interesting part is that this will only save the County $40,000.00. Now we encourage good government and cutting wasteful spending. Yet Genewick cut these programs voluntarily. There was no resolution that was passed in the open Legislature. There was no emergency budget session requiring the departments to cut spending to eliminate a budget deficit. Why would a Republican department head want to cut 3 nutrition sites for Niagara Falls senior citizens?
Our hypothesis may seem outrageous, but it is plausible and highly likely. Here goes: this was done intentionally to create an easy issue for Senator Maziarz and Assemblyman Ceretto to champion.
Let’s look at the facts: a Republican Alderman, who was appointed to as department head in the Office of the Aging, cuts the nutrition sites by sending letters directly to the affected seniors and creating a huge public outcry. The Republican led Legislature was not involved in the decision, so they can skate through this controversy unscathed, and thereby will not suffer any political fallout. And most convincing, all three of these nutritional sites, which are scattered throughout the County, are within Queen George Maziarz’s new district.
Democratic Legislators from Niagara Falls, Dennis Virtuoso, Owen Steed and Jason Zona proposed a resolution on July 31, 2012 calling upon the Legislature to order these sites to remain open for the entire year. Specifically, their resolution states that the funds to operate these nutrition sites have already been budgeted for the entire year, so they should remain open. Naturally, the Republican majority would not permit this resolution be brought to a vote. Rather, they voted to send this resolution to committee where it will be deliberated further. However, the very earliest this resolution can be brought to a vote in the Legislature will be in the first week of September. Yet, these nutrition sites are slated to close on August 31st.
How could Senator Maziarz and Assemblyman Ceretto condone the cutting of vital services for a large group of voting Senior Citizens? Simply put, they won’t. Queen George will prance in like a knight in shining armor to save the day. Can’t you see the campaign rhetoric now? Mailers and television commercials with senior citizens thanking him for saving their nutrition programs!
Little do they know, that it is “Queen” George Maziarz himself that orchestrated the scare that these three senior nutrition sites will be closed. And he is creating this scare only to publicly correct the problem and seize more votes in a City that looks upon him very suspiciously. We only wish that a man so cleverly devious would spend his time to actually improve our area instead of increasing his own power and influence.
Someone once told me that politics make strange bedfellows. And while the word bedfellows might be as outdated as Myspace (or jokes about Myspace being outdated for that matter) the age old adage is magnified and very relevant when it comes to current Niagara Falls politics.
Flashback: to a kinder and gentler in Niagara…not necessarily when folks were tossing around the term bedfellow, but rather about two years ago. Former appointed City Councilmember, failed City Council candidate and failed Mayoral candidate Glenn Choolokian used his political clout to have himself considered for the Niagara Falls’ Water Board’s Executive Director position. His resume boasted that he had been employed with the Water Board for over 20 years. However, he had no administrative experience, no managerial experience and met none of the educational requirements. Thankfully, his political clout two years ago was not strong enough to hijack the Water Board.
Fast-forward: Republican Assemblyman John Ceretto and Republican Senator “Queen” George Maziarz lobbied their colleagues in the State Government to appoint borderline Democrat Renee Kimble to fill the fifth seat on the Niagara Falls Water Board. Why would two Republicans seek to appoint a Democrat and former Legislative Chairwoman to this board?
Ironically, even in a board of five, there are factions. And before Kimble was appointed, the Water Board was divided with two members on each side. Kimble would be that tie breaker. But who would she side with? The group that is loyal to Queen George Maziarz, or the group that opposed his attempts to run yet another municipal group.
Renee Kimble is our modern day Blanche DuBois from A Streetcar Named Desire. She has always depended on the kindness of strangers. Kimble, a graduate of law school and a perennial Bar Exam flunky, has been unemployed longer than political hack Sam Archie. She has taken and failed the bar exam more often than Joe Pesce in My Cousin Vinny, except that he eventually passed it…she has yet to accomplish that task. So clearly, with nothing left to offer the workforce, she has had to make do with some interesting bedfellows. Enter Queen George, Assemblyman Ceretto and Councilboob Glenn Choolokian.
Choolokian friend, supporter, and Water Board member Thomas Vitello, then proposed that they create a new job in the Water Board called a crew leader “specialist”. Although this position has the same job description as crew leader, it comes with a pay raise of $4,000.00, which can increase to over $8,000.00 a year. In a 3-2 vote, City Councilboob Choolokian was hired for this new position. Those who voted for it were Republican Assistant County Attorney Ted Janese III, Vitello, and Renee Kimble. In justifying why the City of Niagara Falls, which is on the brink of bankruptcy, can dole out a patronage position to a sitting councilman, Kimble’s stated: “When people are in power, you decide to put other people in power.” These facts have all been covered by local papers, but the deeper questions have yet to be addressed.
Why would Kimble sell out the Democrats and join forces with the Republicans? Very simply, she needs a job. And by selling out to the Republicans, and being that crucial tie breaking vote on the Water Board, Maziarz and the Republicans control all of the hiring, patronage positions, contracts, consultants, and appointment of attorneys that the Water Board has to offer.
It is actually scary that this group is so brazen. A couple of months ago, City Councilmen Choolokian and Fruscione, openly admitted that they have weekly meetings with Queen George Maziarz. This alliance of Dumb and Dumber, Maziarz and Ceretto, pressured Cuomo and other representatives to appoint Kimble to the Water Board. (Kimble, it should be noted, is long time friend and ally of Gary Parenti. Parenti has ran both Choolokian’s and Fruscione’s election campaigns). Kimble gets appointed and immediately joins the group of loyalist to the Queen. Then, within a couple months, the patronage begins. The first public benefactor: Choolokian. Who is next?
It is our prediction that Renee, who is in desperate need of a job, will be given a patronage position within the Niagara County government or higher.
Then, in the next year or so, when the current Executive Director of the Water Board’s contract runs out, this group of three board members will anoint Choolokian as the Executive Director. And why not? With a year or so under his belt as the crew chief “specialist”, he will have ample qualifications to run this multi-million dollar a year municipal entity (please note our sarcasm).
Another Choolokian related rumor is that if this falls through he plans to run for mayor. People have buzzed about Fruitscione running for Mayor but our sources say the chairman is actually backing Poolokian. Brilliant.
So the biggest question is; WHY DO WE KEEP ELECTING THESE PEOPLE?!?