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ANALYSIS By Mike Hudson

Mayor Paul Dyster is on the warpath against One Niagara again. The fact is, he never left the warpath.

While Mayor Paul Dyster is painting himself as "we just want to make sure people pay their taxes," his record of protecting taxpayer dollars and interests says something else altogether.

He's given hundreds of thousands to the Seminole Nation of Indians' Hard Rock Cafe to subsidize free concerts, helped subsidize Global Spectrum, and handed out big grants to campaign contributors Shawn Weber and Craig Avery, along with former Democratic Committee chairman and campaign contributor Mike Lewis.

He cut a deal with campaign contributor Clint Brown for South Junior and the 39th Street School, helped out campaign contributor Jimmy Glynn with USA Niagara for Glynn's hotel, threw $225,000 at Idaho sharpie Mark Rivers for his holiday market on Old Falls Street, and squandered millions of taxpayer dollars on the mishandled courthouse construction project.

Dyster's corporation counsel Craig Johnson is charged with putting One Niagara out of business. Johnson rents, does not own, property in the city. He's not invested in the community.

Dyster's administrator Donna Owens rents, and never did buy a home here. In fact, most of his top people are not living here.

Dyster moved his business to Tonawanda. The one thing Dyster owns here is his home on Orchard Parkway, and he has turned that to his advantage, using taxpayer money to get his street designated historic.

One Niagara is located in the heart of a dead downtown. Does it owe taxes? It's hard to say. A federal RICO action against the city might prove that the opposite is true: The city may actually owe One Niagara money.

There has been a terrible pattern of abuse by this mayor and attempts to shutter the place and deprive it of the honest services of government.

Dyster has been unrelenting in his ill treatment of One Niagara, whose owners want to work out a tax repayment plan that can allow it to survive.

But Dyster refuses to work with them, despite having done all sorts of funding favors for others and bending over backwards to help campaign contributors.

At its Monday meeting City Council, at the request of the corporation counsel, will be asked to sign off on a property tax adjustment on another property.

That adjustment is the result of Third Street Associates "grieving" their assessment for 2009 and 2010. They own 418 Third St. and 425 Second St.

Judge Boniello ruled in their favor, though it's probably by stipulation. Their property was assessed at $585,000, and Boniello cut it down to $350,000.

The office building at 418 Third St. houses the Bank of America branch.

According to a preliminary search of records, Nigel Heppborn of Angola apparently owns Third Street Associates. Heppborn was in the banking world and used to run a company in Buffalo named Nova. He developed bankruptcy prediction software that Bank of America used. Reginald Newman sat on his board of directors at Nova and on M&T Bank's board of directors, alongside big-time Dyster campaign contributor and sponsor Jimmy Glynn.

Funny how these men can get active help from Dyster and his team to get their taxes renegotiated, while One Niagara and its principals, who are not campaign contributors, cannot even get an opportunity to meet with Dyster to work out a deal.

One Niagara is not blueblooded enough to negotiate with Johnson or Dyster. One Niagara may have issues, but it is locally owned and operated in a distressed downtown -- who else can say the same?

One Niagara is trying to do business, employ people, turn a profit and stay in business.

Say what you will, Mr. Dyster, this building is invested in the city, unlike you and your top administrators.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com April 19, 2011