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It's kind of comical, really.

Exactly one year ago, the biggest story the Niagara Gazette had going was that Paul Accardo, brother of then-state Assembly candidate John Accardo, ran a company called Flexcare, and the company was responsible for around $748,000 allegedly "missing" from retirement accounts for the Lew-Port Teachers Union.

If you look closely at the Gazette's online archives, which isn't easy, you'll see that from the beginning of August until the day of the Democratic primary, they were running about a story a day on the so-called "scandal."

Funny thing, though. After the election, in which John Accardo trounced former Gazette employee and former state assemblywoman Francine Del Monte, the paper dropped the story like a hot potato. It disappeared from the radar. Gone without a trace.

Until a couple weeks ago, that is. Until John Accardo became so bold as to challenge another Gazette favorite, Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster, in this year's primary.

The stories this August have been carbon copies of those printed last August. In fact, Mark Scheer might just as well have saved the old stories, changing some of the names for the new ones.

Once again, it's the apocalypse. Once again, the candidate, John Accardo, must be implicated in whatever it is they're saying his brother did -- which is something, alas, the reader can never quite figure out from reading the stories.

Are we supposed to believe that an investigation or anything else was actually white-hot in the runup to the 2010 primaries, went away for a year, and now suddenly is white-hot again? That wouldn't make any sense whatsoever.

What is more plausible is that a newspaper writer, with clear but consistently denied bias, has tried for two years running to smear John Accardo with the same tired story. Even if every allegation in the stories were true, which they're not, they would have no bearing on John Accardo, since he has no connection to Flexcare whatsoever, other than the fact that his brother founded the company.

Here's a not-so-bold prediction: The minute the primary election is over, you won't hear another word about Flexcare, the Accardo family or anything else in that sorry rag they call the Niagara Gazette.
Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com Aug. 30, 2011