When Mayor Paul Dyster was first introduced to James Haid's program he thought "Isaiah 61" was a rapper.
It's true that James Haid suddenly left town for another job. It's not true that he opened a consulting firm with Mark Rivers of Holiday Market fame.
Things have gotten pretty bad when you can't trust a completely mysterious, totally unaccountable, absolutely non-vetted person to do the right thing.
There are plenty of unanswered questions in the wake of Isaiah 61's unexpected collapse. Such as what are Paul Dyster and Seth Piccirillo now going to do with 235 toilets from condemned city houses?
The Chicago fire and the San Francisco earthquake caused less municipal damage than the antics of Paul Dyster and Seth Piccirillo.
When informed that James Haid, Executive Director of Isaiah 61, had left Niagara Falls to work in Utica the mayor said, "We lost one of our best and brightest. It's tough for small cities like Niagara Falls to compete against dynamic, economic powerhouses like Utica."
After Haid slipped town, Seth Piccirillo, Dyster's community development chief, said, "If only we had given him a million casino dollars instead of a half million maybe he would have stayed."
The mayor bristled at the suggestion that Isaiah 61 was just another in a long line of scams. Dyster heatedly said, "This was a truly exceptional scam."
Recipe for success: take condemned city homes, add old toilets and tubs, toss in a falling down condemned fire hall, blend $500,000 of casino cash, stir well…and hand it all over to an unproven stranger from out of town.
Haid said he is going to do for Utica what he did for Niagara Falls. Utica, don't say he never warned you.
Are we surprised? This is the administration that 1) pays people to live here while we pay their college loans, and 2) pays the businesses on Third Street to remain open.