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ANALYSIS By Mike Hudson

Thanks to the efforts of Ohio resident David Crapnell, Town of Niagara resident Roger Spurback and Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster, $400,000 that was headed for Niagara Falls to create jobs, tear down vacant buildings and generally improve the character of the city's South End will go instead to Troy, Utica or some other municipality that's actually interested in development.

The $400,000 grant, awarded to Niagara Falls Redevelopment by the state through former state Sen. Antoine Thompson's office, was to have been used for the demolition of a number of vacant houses on property the company owns downtown, and for the renovation of the former Magaddino Funeral Chapel as a modern office building.

"Basically, it's $400,000 that would have been invested here that's now going to be invested somewhere else," said Laborers Local 91 Business Agent Dick Palladino. "It's a shame, because the building trades unions here could have used the work."

Palladino said that NFR was prepared to hire dozens of Laborers from the Seneca Avenue union hall, along with a number of workers from the allied unions, to participate in the project.

Crapnell, whose personal automobile still bears Ohio license plates, is an organizer for the Gamaliel Foundation and head of its local organ, NOAH. According to author Stanley Kurtz, the Gamaliel Foundation is a black separatist, anti-American spiritual movement that combines radical left-wing politics and religious zealotry to produce a strange brew organizers call "liberation theology."

Why the group has targeted NFR is uncertain. Millionaire Carl Paladino's restoration of the former United Office Building here received millions in taxpayer-funded subsidies, grants, loans and tax breaks without a peep out of NOAH.

Likewise, Roger Spurback was silent on the United Office Building project, and on the millions spent to open a couple saloons on Third Street that are coincidentally owned by contributors to the election campaigns of Mayor Paul Dyster.

"The city needs that money. The billionaire doesn't," Spurback told the Buffalo News. "In today's world, with neighborhoods that are falling down, I don't think it's appropriate to give state money to a billionaire."

Spurback, who received Dyster's "Citizen of the Year" award, despite the fact that he doesn't live in the city, also failed to realize that the money won't be coming back to Niagara Falls in any way, shape or form.

"The city is in dire straits," he said. "This money should be allocated to the city to tear down vacant houses. That's where the money is needed."

Except that it won't be. The money was specifically earmarked to spur private development, and will go instead to some other developer in some other city in some other part of New York state.

So instead of having a $400,000 project that would have created jobs, demolished a dozen vacant houses and returned a long-vacant Niagara Street building to productive use, Niagara Falls will once again get absolutely nothing.

With the backing of Mayor Paul Dyster, this was Ohioan David Crapnell and Town of Niagara resident Roger Spurback's New Year's gift to the city.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com Jan. 4, 2011