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Another One Bites the Dust. Yvonne's Bakery is Shuttered

By Frank Parlato

Yvonne's is no more and so is your $20,000.

The NFC Development Corp, part of the city’s Department of Economic

Development, voted last year to award a $20,000 grant to Lakea Strong in order for her to open up a cafe and bakery on Third Street, which she opened and named "Yvonne's Bakery."

The NFC was created to “foster business, industrial and employment retention, and development in Niagara Falls.”

It is unclear if they have had any true success.

Yvonne's is a good example.

Located on a once popular and busy street that has been shattered by government meddling, Yvonne’s bakery was a poor business plan from the start. USA Niagara spent millions on Third Street, creating a streetscape that narrowed the road, eliminated parking and destroyed every business that was not government subsidized.

Yvonne’s bakery is now among the casualties.

Within one year of Strong getting her $20,000, Yvonne's bakery was history.

Strong got public money without working to earn it and without any obligation to pay it back.

Prior to Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster taking office in 2008, the NFC operated differently. The NFC made loans and funded itself more like a bank, using interest earned and repayments of principle made from earlier loans to fund new loans to small businesses.

As chairman of the NFC, Dyster decided instead to use Seneca casino money and give out grants, instead of loans. People who applied for loans were told to take grants instead.

He soon depleted most of the NFC reserves.

In addition, Dyster led the NFC to aid some of USA Niagara's corporate welfare initiatives and the NFC now began to hand out money, not to small business people, but big developers.

One hotelier, millionaire Faisal Merani, got more than $1 million. Other recipients were the Rapids Theatre which got $250,000 and Lewiston millionaire Craig Avery who received $200,000. Avery was a campaign contributor to Dyster although Avery told the Reporter he never asked or received preferential treatment because of that.

Grants went to Michael Lewis, former chairman of the Niagara Falls City Democratic Committee and big-time landlord Sean Webber.

Both were campaign contributors to Dyster.

The Thunderfalls Ice House, owned by multi-millionaire Joseph Anderson, got a $100,000 grant.

Why millionaires need NFC grants while the working middle class of this city groan and tremble under the oppressive weight of nearly the highest taxes in the nation is hard to fathom.

And why there is never mercy on them for the hard lot they face.

The taxpayer is the least among us.

As Dyster hands out bonanzas, large and small, to wealthy businessmen, the city takes the houses away from the working, struggling poor through tax foreclosures when they cannot afford to pay exorbitant property taxes.

And no one sees the cruel irony of this diabolic scenario.

Aside from handing most of the NFC money to millionaires, some was set aside to squander on small businesses with poor business plans.

The ill-fated and short-lived Eddie Jay’s, Shorty’s Restaurant, Mary’s Soul Food, and a host of others took the money and were soon shuttered.

Curiously, $75,000 was given to NFNY Hotel Management to help establish a TGI Fridays. In other words, taxpayers paid to get a chain restaurant that has 920 locations into a hotel. Normally TGIF pays its own way.

Meanwhile, Yvonne's Bakery is gone.

There is nothing at all to show for the people's hard work that earned the money to pay the taxes that got the bakery lady her $20,000.

How hard do you have to work to earn $20,000?

In less than a few minutes, the Dyster-controlled NFC handed your hard work away, almost as if you and your efforts meant nothing, nothing at all.

How easy it is to spend money you did not earn and how little it is valued.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Jul 30, 2013