Articles by: Tony Farina

Dyster Pay Raises Hitting Brick Wall With Lawmakers

Dyster Pay Raises Hitting Brick Wall With Lawmakers

Niagara Falls October 13, 2016 at 2:05 am

As we reported last week, Niagara Falls city lawmakers were surprised by the hefty city hall pay raises for administrators contained in Mayor Paul Dyster’s proposed 2017 spending plan, and as Council Chairman Andrew Touma said on Wednesday, “it is not the right time for substantial pay raises,” given theRead More

Hefty Pay Raises in Dyster Budget Come Under Attack

Hefty Pay Raises in Dyster Budget Come Under Attack

Niagara Falls October 6, 2016 at 11:17 am

Mayor Paul Dyster’s $91 million proposed budget for 2017 includes some hefty raises for several staffers, including his own secretary, and is coming under fire from from a former city economic development chief who called the proposed salary hikes “a slap in the face” to the taxpayers of the cityRead More

In its heyday it was the premier hotel in Niagara Falls. It was reportedly the home of Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio while filming Niagara in 1952. Former guests of the hotel include U.S. President John F. Kennedy, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Joseph Cotten and Al Capone.

Suspicious Developer Seeks Background on Hotel Niagara RFP

Niagara Falls October 6, 2016 at 11:01 am

So what’s up with the state acquisition of the historic Hotel Niagara, the legendary Niagara Falls hotel at 210 Rainbow Blvd. in Niagara Falls? USA Niagara, one of the state’s development agencies under Empire State Development, which played a big role in the state-backed Hamister Hotel project, acquired the once-grandRead More

Trott Access Center

Virtuoso, Zona, Grozio Help Keep Methadone Clinic at Current Site

Niagara Falls September 29, 2016 at 6:34 am

The Northpointe Council’s methadone clinic in Niagara Falls, which only a few short months ago was on track to move to a Sixth Street site that some residents were resisting, will remain at its current location at the Trott Access Center on 11th Street thanks to bipartisan efforts of severalRead More

JC Seneca

JC Seneca to Run for Seneca President

Niagara Falls September 8, 2016 at 12:05 pm

Promising transparency and a new path that provides hope, faith and trust in government, businessman JC Seneca of the Cattaraugus Territory announced today that he is running for president of the Seneca Nation of Indians in the election scheduled for Nov. 1. Seneca, 56, chairman of the One Nation Organization,Read More

Falls Reassessment Plan Slowing Down

Falls Reassessment Plan Slowing Down

Niagara Falls September 8, 2016 at 12:02 pm

It appears the planned citywide property reassessment in Niagara Falls, the first in 14 years, is not necessarily a done deal just yet after many taxpayers voiced strong opposition to the plan at last Tuesday’s public hearing in council chambers. “People were obviously concerned,” said Council President Andrew Touma onRead More

It didn't cost any of them a dime including the silver haired guy in the middle - Mark Hamister, since taxpayers and bankers paid for his entire hotel. The clever developer knows how to grease the itchy palms of politicians to win development contracts paid for by the taxpayers. Hamister got a free hotel and  from left to right, Councilmen Kenny Tompkins, Charles Walker, Mayor Paul Dyster, Hamister, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti and Council Chairman Andrew Touma happily shovel some dirt for the cameras. And life is good for everyone but the taxpayers.

Public Can Learn About Reassessment at Council Meeting

Niagara Falls August 31, 2016 at 10:57 pm

  by Tony Farina Residents of Niagara Falls who want to learn more about the planned citywide property reassessment should make a point to attend next Tuesday’s (Sept. 6) council meeting at City Hall when officials including Assessor James Bird will brief lawmakers on the reassessment process. Joining Bird inRead More

Bills, Sabres Getting Ready but Sun Still Shining

Bills, Sabres Getting Ready but Sun Still Shining

Columns August 3, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    Well, the Buffalo Bills have opened camp to prepare for their second season under head coach Rex Ryan.  Could this be the year the Bills end the longest playoff drought in major sports? Of course we won’t really know the answer to that question for some time, probablyRead More

Attorney Paul Cambria seeks to learn whether the government threatened attorney Edward Betz, former Judge John Michalek and possibly others with charges if they failed to cooperate in the prosecution of Pigeon.

Cambria Seeks Info on Plea Deals in Pigeon Case

Erie County, Featured July 28, 2016 at 1:18 pm

Political operative and former Erie County Democratic Chairman Steve Pigeon faces nine felony counts in a state prosecution involving former State Supreme Court Justice John Michalek who has already pleaded guilty to two felony counts, including taking bribe, and who is expected to be a key witness against Pigeon ifRead More

Touma, Bird Seek to Reassure Taxpayers on Reassessment As Plans Move Forward on First Revaluation in 14 Years

Touma, Bird Seek to Reassure Taxpayers on Reassessment As Plans Move Forward on First Revaluation in 14 Years

Community News, Featured July 21, 2016 at 12:16 pm

  The first citywide property reassessment in 14 years is likely to begin in November, says Niagara Falls Assessor James Bird, with the new rates for taxpayers likely to be included with the school tax bill of August, 2018, if all goes according to plan. “A lot of people believeRead More

Donald Trump and Carl Paladino

Paladino Leads Trump Brigade

State and National News July 21, 2016 at 12:00 pm

The big political news this week, of course, was the nomination of New York billionaire Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for president at the GOP convention in Cleveland. Prominent among the Trump supporters is Buffalo developer Carl Paladino, front and center in front of the podium at the headRead More

Carrie Cohen "I try cases" Only she didn't.

Michalek’s Famous Lawyer Paid Well to Take Guilty Plea

Erie County, Featured July 21, 2016 at 8:21 am

Carrie Cohen was a big-time prosecutor with corruption-fighting U. S. Attorney Preet Bharara in the Southern District of New York and before that, with the State Attorney General’s office.  But she left it all behind a few months ago to return to possibly greener financial pastures in private practice withRead More

Ed Sullivan, former Sorrento executive now owns Hanson Sign Company

Former Sorrento Cheese Exec Finds Perfect Career Match

Community News July 21, 2016 at 6:03 am

Every once in a while in life, we find a perfect match.  It may be a golf club, a pet, a career, or a partner.  There is something that tells us this is it!  This fits me perfectly and I know it, a once in a lifetime match that IRead More

Despite the nonsensical claims of the Hamister hotel being a signature hotel and catalyst for development, it is merely a smallish, 128 room, few or no amenities  Hyatt Place hotel.
Considering that it was located 300 feet from the entrance of the Niagara Falls State Park some would call it an horrific case of underdevelopment!

Goldman Sachs Bails Out Hamister, Cuomo, Dyster

Featured, Niagara Falls July 14, 2016 at 6:14 pm

Gov. Andrew Cuomo came to Niagara Falls on Tuesday to officially break ground on the long-awaited Hamister hotel project in downtown Niagara Falls and he used the occasion to praise his state development team led locally by Howard Zemsky and Sam Hoyt and paint a rosy picture of the successRead More

Thomas DeSantis says the radioactive waste on North Ave. is safe.

Everything Desantis Said Concerning Radioactive Waste Dump Was Wrong

Featured, Niagara Falls July 14, 2016 at 6:10 pm

  It turns out that nearly everything City Planner Tom DeSantis told the mainstream media last week in connection with a radioactive waste dump on North Avenue was incorrect, and Tuesday he was back peddling in the Niagara Gazette after an investigation by that paper found that the reporting onRead More

Steve Pigeon

Around and About: Schneiderman- Pigeon Political Feud Colors Indictment

Featured July 7, 2016 at 10:06 pm

Despite Big State Spending, Start-Up NY Falling Miles Short on Jobs Almost lost in the unbelievable feeding frenzy over the indictment last week of political operative Steve Pigeon was the news that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s highly-touted job-creation program Start-Up NY has created more tax-free zones than jobs. Empire State Development,Read More

Lafarge cement plant in Syria...company reportedly paid terrorists to stay in business

Cement Maker Lafarge Reportedly Paid Taxes to ISIS

News June 30, 2016 at 6:25 pm

French cement maker Lafarge, which has several Western New York locations including Buffalo and Niagara Falls, entered into deals with armed groups in Syria, including the Islamic State, to protect its business interests in the country, according to the French daily newspaper Le Monde. According to Le Monde in aRead More

Not much activity at Hamister hotel site...officials mum so far on formal groundbreaking

No Sign Yet of Major Groundbreaking Ceremony for Hamister Hotel

Niagara Falls June 23, 2016 at 4:29 pm

  It all seems so long ago that the state and the administration of Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster announced with great fanfare that the Hamister Group based in Buffalo had been selected for a $25.3 million downtown development project at 310 Rainbow Blvd. that would include an upscale hotel,Read More

Hamister May Need More Taxpayer Money to Revive Failed Project

Hamister May Need More Taxpayer Money to Revive Failed Project

Niagara Falls April 14, 2016 at 8:33 am

According to informed sources in the Buffalo development community, Mark Hamister is about $6 million short of the mark in financing for his much-hyped $35.7 million Niagara Falls hotel project on Rainbow Blvd. that was trumpeted by state and local officials more than three years ago as the city’s bestRead More

Gawel to Seek Chairmanship of City GOP Committee

Gawel to Seek Chairmanship of City GOP Committee

Niagara Falls April 13, 2016 at 11:34 pm

Former Councilman Michael Gawel says it is time for new leadership at the helm of the Niagara Falls City Republican Executive Committee and he will be challenging current GOP Chairman Vince Sandonato for the top job at the reorganization meeting in September. Gawel, who has been a highly visible figureRead More

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