Niagara Falls mayoral candidate Demetreus Nix’s campaign gained momentum this week after filing a designating petition to join the Democratic Party primary election ballot. Nix will compete against incumbent Mayor Robert Restaino, seeking reelection, and former city councilman and labor leader Glenn Choolokian.
Mayoral Candidate Demetreus Nix
Retired Deputy Police Chief and Air Force veteran Carl Cain announced his candidacy on the Republican Party line.
Tensions escalate between Nix and Restaino
The NF Reporter previously highlighted a dispute between Nix and Restaino during a Juneteenth Day event at Nix’s home.
Last month, Nix accused the Niagara Falls Division of Code Enforcement of targeting him under the direction of the mayor, and alleged the mayor’s involvement in his recent felony indictment for burglary and other charges.
Nix, who operates local business Nix Construction and Property Management, claims Code Enforcement’s Joseph Chick harassed him over work permits.
The most recent incident involves Chick allegedly revoking Nix’s construction permit. Nix said Chick falsely informed his client that they needed to file for a permit and hire another contractor for the job. This occurred on the same day Nix was burying his three-year-old daughter, adding to the family’s distress.
Corey Baskerville, the Director of Code Enforcement for the City of Niagara Falls, denied Nix’s allegations. Baskerville said he had only one conversation with Nix two weeks ago, and Nix’s complaint was not based on firsthand information.
“The sum of Mr. Nix’s complaint, involving a single customer who owns a property in the City, related to just one meeting between Mr. Chick and that customer, which Mr. Nix was not present for. So, his complaint was not based on firsthand information,” Baskerville said.
Corey Baskerville – Director of Code Enforcement, City of Niagara Falls.
Baskerville said he contacted Nix’s customer, who provided no information to support Nix’s complaint and praised Chick’s professionalism.
The NF Reporter contacted the customer, who gave no comment and “did not want to get involved in politics.”
Is Nix’s Indictment Politically Motivated?
The Niagara County District Attorney’s Office recently indicted Nix in connection with a break-in on a house Nix was doing contracting work and where the property manager owed him money and refused to pay.
Nix faces charges of second-degree burglary, second-degree criminal mischief, and fourth-degree grand larceny. Authorities claim he stole $1,500 worth of construction equipment and caused $30,000 in property damage.
Rod Davis, the Pierce Avenue property manager with ties to Mayor Restaino, testified before the Niagara County grand jury that issued Nix’s indictment.
Nix claims the charges are politically motivated.
Business Dispute Leads to Accusations
Nix said Davis owes him $13,000 for work his contracting company performed at Pierce Avenue and other sites in Niagara Falls. He says he went to the Pierce Avenue property to retrieve his tools when it became clear he wouldn’t be paid.
Text messages between Nix and Davis reveal a business dispute, with Davis apparently engaging in delay tactics and stopping payment on checks after they were mailed.
Sources say the district attorney presented the grand jury with evidence linking Nix to the crime, including security camera video, fingerprints, and other forensic evidence.
When called for comment, Davis said Nix was a “criminal” who resorted to “street tactics.” He referred any further questions on that case to the district attorney’s office.
Nix claims all the charges are explainable. The mayoral hopeful claims that Rod Davis owes him $13,000 for work his contracting company performed at Pierce Avenue and other sites in NF. Nix says he went to the Pierce Avenue property to retrieve his tools when it became clear he would not be paid for his work.
“Of course my fingerprints are over there,” Nix said. “I did all the work on that house.”
Nix points out that the original arrest was based on a burglary in the second degree, but the indictment only returned a burglary in the third-degree charge.
He denies committing burglary and says, “Rod Davis should be indicted for his funny business with federal funds.”
Text messages between Nix and Davis show there was a dispute.
On December 30, 2022, Davis confirmed he had “dropped [Nix’s] check in the mailbox yesterday morning.”
On January 5, 2023, Nix wrote Davis because the check never came and he was 30 days late on the payment.
“I sent $5K. Balance should be done this week,” Davis wrote the next day.
By the following week, Nix told Davis the check had yet to arrive.
Davis claimed he would put a “stop payment” on the missing check and deliver the money to Nix in person on January 10.
Davis never showed. Nix was upset.
The following text exchange ensued:
Davis told Nix he was “letting chief of police and the mayor handle this now.”
“I’ve never seen justice move this fast. [Davis] called the cops and the mayor on me. Two days later, their ‘full investigation’ was completed, and I was arrested. They want me wrapped up before the primary,” Nix said. “They want me to cop out to burglary in the third and take probation so I can’t run for mayor.”
Nix’s indictment has impacted his campaign, with the Working Families Party holding back their endorsement, he said.
Nix is also concerned about a section of the City Charter that could bar elected city officials from holding office if they were convicted of a crime involving “moral turpitude.”
While he has submitted over 700 signatures to appear on the primary election day ballot for the Democratic Party, his candidacy may still face legal challenges.
Nix believes this election will raise significant issues for low-income voters and the Niagara Falls black vote. He cites the current controversy over Mayor Restaino’s Centennial Park project as a prime example.
“That is just about rich people fighting over land. The money that the mayor wants to use for the Centennial Park project is money meant for bettering the quality of life for those at a lower income. It’s easy for the mayor to pass our money because we don’t have a voice, so I’m running to be the voice for those who have never had one.”