Mayor Paul Dyster thought it was appropriate to post this 1996 mug shot of Rick Crogan on his (Dyster’s) Facebook page. His Facebook friends did not agree.
On his Facebook page, Mayor Paul Dyster posted Rick Crogan's arrest story from the Niagara Gazette last Friday and then within minutes posted what he said was a mug shot of Crogan following an alleged arrest on unknown charges in Longwood, Fla., in Seminole County, way back in 1996.
Perhaps coincidentally, the Seminole Tribe of Indians owns the Hard Rock Cafe, competitors of Crogan for outdoor festivals and music events in Niagara Falls.
Police records show Crogan was never convicted of any crime in connection with the purported 1996 mug shot.
However, what was more interesting was that a large number of the mayor's Facebook friends reacted negatively to the mayor posting the old mug shot of Crogan who for years had supported the mayor and was his friend.
People know a railroad job when they see one, and it is interesting that Dyster's own Facebook friends turned on him vigorously on the mayor's own Facebook page.
Here are some of the comments that followed the mayor's posting of Crogan's old mugshot:
Amy Tucker Cuddahee: Is this necessary?
Lorijo Pellow: Not cool at all Sir
Alisa J. Pucci: Why would a mayor play dirty?.... Wonder who the mayor's friends are and if they have police records too.
Eileen M. Soro: What is the reason for the Mayor of Niagara Falls posting something like this? Shame on you!
Dyster himself then weighed in as he tried to explain:
Paul Dyster: Let me clear--the City has not supported the festival financially, but lots of good people have a lot of time, money and effort invested in making this event a success. It has been and I hope will in the future be a positive thing for the City. The volunteers associated with the festival are trying to keep something positive happening here regardless of the outcome of this situation. I shared this post because I was hoping someone could shed some light on previous history.
The mayor's explanation did not assuage his Facebook friends.
Eileen M. Soro: Shame on you. This is hearsay and defamation of character. You are doing ZERO good for anyone involved, including the City of Niagara Falls in regard to this investigation and should be the first person to stop gossip and posts as destructive and petty as this one. ….You have lost my support, no matter what the outcome of this investigation. I have never seen such bad judgment by a local official posted onto a public forum without any regard for the parties involved…
Lorijo Pellow: He should not be posting this. I'm very disappointed in our Mayor. That's my opinion, a lifelong, voting resident in NF. and I do not know Rick Crogan so there is no bias in my opinion
John Breed: Yeah, this isn't too cool.
Alisa J. Pucci: It's nice when some charges are against people, the city picks and chooses what they want to do with the information. Shame!!...
Annette L Quaranto: Remove post!
Amy Tucker Cuddahee:REMOVE POST!
Eileen M. Soro: From what Mr. Dyster has said (not worth calling him Mayor anymore), the City had nothing to do with the Festival, but clearly they do want to be or this would not be something he is posting on his page
Ken Cosentino: Not cool.
Meantime, as word of Dyster's heavy handed attack on what was a former friend spread on the internet, others weighed in on his and other sites.
Theresa Moraca Brockman: Paul Dyster, you should be ashamed of yourself! You have stooped so low on this issue. It is one thing to have a PERSONAL opinion regarding this HOWEVER as an elected official - supposedly the moral barometer for this city- you have stooped to the level of a snake! … You have lost all credibility as far as I'm concerned and not for one second do I believe you posted this for the GOOD of this community. This may turn out to be your own undoing and again, SHAME ON YOU!
Mike No Go: You suck Dyster
Tina Cosentino Flynn: The whole things smells, just like your new garbage and recycling plan. I am tired of closed door deals and no information to the public…
Sam Archi: The Mayor should be ashamed of himself for doing this. No matter what he uses as a reason. The Mayor was a big supporter of Rick until Rick spoke out against the Hard Rock funding.
And the Mayor was indeed a huge supporter of Crogan until recently.
In an April 11, 2013, Niagara Gazette story that reported that Crogan held a press conference to announce he was holding the Niagara Falls Music & Art Festival on Old Falls St. at the end of June that year, Dyster said he was "confident the event will offer the elements he believes are essential to helping revitalize downtown areas — music, art, creative and energetic people and lively public spaces."
"I think it's going to launch into the stratosphere this year," Dyster said of the festival's future.
On Monday, the city was abuzz with speculation that Dyster wants to put Crogan out of business and let the Hard Rock take over the music event.
Note again that the mug shot is from Seminole County and the Hard Rock is owned by the Seminole Nation.
Is Dyster conspiring with the Hard Rock to target Crogan? Is he trying to get Rick to slash his wrists, go crazy or what? Certainly, the mayor's Facebook postings were an attempt to convict Crogan in the minds of the public before any real evidence has been heard, before any trial has taken place.
Will the $40,000 Dyster recently requested from the City Council to revive the Hard Rock concert series be used to "save" what had been a highly successful though isolated example of the private sector at work in the city's downtown?
The event was supported by key sponsors, including Joe Cecconi's Chrysler Complex, Lewiston businessman Smokin' Joe Anderson, Certo Brothers Distributing, and Niagara Falls Redevelopment.
Perhaps Dyster tipped his hand in a subsequent Facebook post. The city, he said, was an active participant in the investigation into Crogan.
"(The city) also has an interest in trying to make sure this situation doesn't negatively impact the many positive things happening downtown, or the many artists, craftsmen, musicians, volunteers and sponsors who are counting on an event taking place," he wrote. "Obviously there is a lot of work to be done in a short period of time, but I will try to keep people posted as the situation develops."
If that doesn't sound like a takeover we don't know what does. Crogan's arrest was and is the only thing that has jeopardized the event, and if the investigation was orchestrated by Dyster – who has close ties with informant Becky Chappell Marchetti's Niagara Rises organization – Crogan will have a monstrous civil case against the city if he's acquitted.
Perhaps the real rub in Dyster's socialist world is that Crogan put the event together through volunteer efforts and private donations. Crogan stressed that no public money is being used.
And that is an egregious affront to a man like Dyster, who believes that government is the answer to every problem.
Curiously, just before press time, Dyster took down the purported mug shot of Rick Crogan and deleted all the negative comments on his Facebook page.
Fortunately for the public, the Niagara Falls Reporter recorded screen shots of all the comments and have saved them for posterity, or for when Crogan is ultimately acquitted, whichever comes first.
Mayor Paul Dyster's most recent profile picture on facebook