"The decades-long saga of the Glynn family is playing out like some kind of Greek tragedy, with overtones of 'Falcon Crest' thrown in for good measure. It begins with family patriarch and business mogul James Glynn, who rose from the ranks to purchase the Maid business 40 years ago. Glynn's ruthless ambition, unrestrained greed and boundless ego were the character traits that enabled him to subdue the local tourism industry, buying influence and wielding power in ways that would have made Machiavelli blush." - The Man who Bought Niagara Falls
The city of Niagara Falls has its own version of the scheming and avaricious Mr. Potter character of the 1946 movie classic, "It's a Wonderful Life". His name is James Glynn, owner of the iconic Maid of the Mist boat tour. And if James Glynn had a George Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart) to foil his nefarious plans for domination of the local tourist trade, that individual would Frank Parlato.
Parlato's columns in the Niagara Falls Reporter from November, 2008 through February, 2011 ripped the lid off the fetid garbage can of Glynn's dealings with the Niagara Parks Commission of Ontario.
The stench was so overpowering it resulted in wholesale resignations and dismissals from the Canadian parks agency, and the subsequent revocation of Glynn's lease on that side of the border, effectively ending the monopolistic stranglehold he had on boat rides below the Falls.
Parlato's textbook investigative reporting exposed the secret terms of the sweetheart lease that Glynn wangled from the NPC, courtesy of his cronies that populated it at the time, a lease that would have cheated Ontario taxpayers of millions of dollars in revenues had Glynn's plot succeeded.
After unceremoniously getting the boot from Canada and losing his lease to a competitor, Glynn doubled down on his holdings on the US side of the border, focusing all his money and influence derived from decades of running possibly the most lucrative boat tour on earth like a laser beam on the Andrew Cuomo administration. Rather than follow the Canadian example and open up the Maid concession to a fair bidding process, Cuomo arbitrarily awarded Glynn an extended, no-bid lease for $100 million less than competitor Hornblower's standing offer.
Soon to be released in book form, "The Man who Bought Niagara Falls" sets out, page after page and step by step, in complex and stark yet highly readable detail, the fascinating story of the denouement of the powerful Glynn by Frank Parlato, acting in the journalistic tradition of Sinclair, Tarbell, Woodward and Bernstein, using the power of the press to fight corruption and get a better deal for the common people.
Part II of the book reprises five years' worth of articles by Reporter columnist James Hufnagel which cover every conceivable aspect of how the city of Niagara Falls has been screwed out of its waterfront, its fair share of the local tourist trade and therefore its prosperity and quality of life, because of Glynn, Buffalo-based fast food conglomerate Delaware North, the Albany agencies they control and the local politicians who kowtow to all of the above.
The city of Niagara Falls suffers from some of the highest rates of per capita poverty and crime in the entire northeastern United States, despite that fact that every year eight million tourists visit the famous waterfalls at its doorstep. In a clear and convincing manner, "The Man who Bought Niagara Falls" explains why this is so.