Former Niagara Falls mayor Vince Anello's back home, freed from prison, and we wish him all the best.
It is our firm belief that, if he hadn't been a crook, he would have been a far more effective mayor than the sad sack we're currently saddled with.
In fact, if he hadn't been a crook, we firmly believe he would have been enjoying the final days of his second term right now.
But he was a crook. There's no getting around that. Shortly before and just after he was elected, he took $40,000 in under-the-table payments from a local developer in return for favorable treatment. Later, he robbed his own electrical union brothers by illegally taking pension benefits when he was still working full time.
As mayor, he surrounded himself with lowlifes, all of whom gave evidence against him to federal prosecutors, and stabbed old friends in the back.
Once the Niagara Falls Reporter published copies of canceled checks and other documents showing he had accepted what essentially amounted to bribe money, barely 16 months after he took office, his goose was cooked.
But he didn't act like it. He told anyone who would listen that we were the crooks, part of some vast conspiracy meant to besmirch his family name. He called us anti-Italian. He promised a massive libel suit.
It turned out that most of the people who listened were gullible newspaper and television reporters, who believed him. The feds took forever to indict him, and for several years the case boiled down to the Reporter's coverage versus that of the rest of the Western New York media establishment.
It turned out we were right and they were wrong, though there wasn't any joy in that result. As usual, it was the people of Niagara Falls who paid the price for Anello's crooked ways.
Like Anello, Butch Quarcini, Jimmy Glynn, the current leadership of the Tuscarora Nation of Indians, Mayor Paul Dyster and county Legislator Dennis Virtuoso have all threatened the Reporter with legal action.
Also similarly, the rest of the local media has sometimes gleefully reported on the threats.
We weren't worried about Anello suing and we're not worried about anyone else suing either.
Because truth is the ultimate defense.
|Niagara Falls Reporter||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||Dec. 20, 2011|