PARLATO: Piccirillo has Record of Harebrained Ideas & Dangerous Incompetence; Will Make Perfect Successor for Dyster

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Piccirillo has Record of Harebrained Ideas & Dangerous Incompetence; Will Make Perfect Successor for Dyster


By: Frank Parlato

He is a man to match the mountains – or at least accidentally demolish them.

Seth Piccirillo is running for mayor of Niagara Falls and is expected to get the endorsement of the current mayor, Paul Dyster.

That in itself may demolish his chances of winning.

Speaking of demolitions, I recall a day in May 2015, when Piccirillo accidentally demolished a home at 1338 Centre Ave. in Niagara Falls.

The house collapsed after his crew – from Isaiah 61, the not-for-profit corp. he ran, that was supposed to rehab homes and sell them to homeowners while, at the same time, teaching students building trades – removed the bearing walls.


“I’m a community development director, not a competent renovator!” The first house Seth Piccirillo renovated fell down. Fortunately no one was in the home at the time.


The roof fell into the basement as walls bowed outwards. Fortunately, none of the students were in the house. A neighbor called the fire department to tell them the house was falling.

“Yes, the roof ended up in the basement,” Acting Code Enforcement Director Louis Fontana told the Reporter then.

When questioned about the work on the house, Fontana said, “They took out interior partitions and the roof pulled the walls out. They demolished support walls – everything was gone. They must have pulled supports that were holding up the rafters.”

In addition to taxpayer money spent to fix [ruin] the house, it cost taxpayers an additional $34,222 to clean up the mess Piccirillo’s team created.

The house was formerly owned by a city firefighter who donated it to charity to help the city. Nice try dude.

Piccirillo assumed management of Isaiah 61 after its founder and executive director James Haid suddenly left town about eight months before the house collapsed. The public learned about his departure from the Reporter.


Another harebrained idea from the clown prince of Niagara Falls. Seth Piccirillo who brought us frosty the snowman fire hydrants also brought a novel idea of bringing more attention to vacant and boarded up buildings in the declining city – painting murals on them.


Back on September 15, 2014, Dyster wanted to use $500,000 in casino cash to renovate an abandoned fire hall on Highland Ave. for a new store and school for Isaiah 61. The council approved the request.  That was four years ago, and the old firehouse is still not renovated. Though it is believed the money has all been spent.

Back when Dyster made the request for $500,000 from the council, both Dyster and Piccirillo knew Haid had left Isaiah 61 to take a new job in Utica – but they didn’t bother to tell the council that the longtime director and founder of Isaiah 61 had left or that they planned to let Piccirillo take over operations.

Informed City Hall sources say Piccirillo underestimated the condition of the firehouse walls and the firehouse – like the house on Centre St. – may collapse at any time. That’s why work on the firehouse stopped after hundreds of thousands in taxpayer money was spent.

Let’s add up the score: Piccirillo and Dyster got at least $500,000 to fix an old abandoned fire house. They never fixed the firehouse.



They have, as far as we know, been unable to fix a single home and place a homeowner in one since Piccirillo took over Isaiah 61.  Piccirillo did however accidentally demolish one.

In order to run for mayor next year, Dyster and Piccirillo conspired to switch his pay from federally-funded Community Development to city-funded Code Enforcement.

To obscure the fact that Piccirillo lacks qualifications or accreditations to be Director of Code Enforcement, Dyster and Piccirillo conspired to appoint him as “acting director’ on the fiction that they will seek a legally qualified person to become director.

Meantime Piccirillo skirts the Hatch Act – which restricts how federally-funded employees may be employed if they run for municipal office. Dyster did this by a bookkeeping sleight of hand. Dyster’s proposed 2019 budget calls for Piccirillo to leave his $82,000 job at Community Development for an $82,000 job as Acting Code Enforcement Director.



If you like lack of transparency and self-serving tricks – a government designed to serve the people employed in it over the people who pay for it – while all the time telling anyone who will listen about how good, great and noble they are  – the exact kind of government Dyster has been operating for 11 years, you could not do better than Seth Piccirillo.

Plus, you get a little more with Piccirillo – you also get harebrained ideas at taxpayer expense.

He took hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay college grads to live here. Although it was a complete waste of taxpayer money, it did get us worldwide press as the city that was so desperate it had to pay people to live here.



He decided to paint abandoned buildings in the city with colorful murals drawing more attention to the city’s decline.

He painted fire hydrants as dalmatians, rainbows, fairies, elves and dinosaurs. They look cute. The problem is there is actually a purpose for fire hydrants being painted yellow and red – so firefighters can spot them easily and know what to expect as to water pressure.

Piccirillo probably did not know that.

If Dyster is incompetent and extravagant  – what other mayor could blow through $200 million in casino revenue and have nothing to show for it? And then forget to ensure that the Senecas continued to pay when their renewal came due? I think you get all these with Piccirillo, with the added bonus of being both dangerously incompetent – think houses falling down –  and at times outright silly – think a fire hydrant painted as a leprechaun.

I think you get the idea.

Maybe if he is elected he could paint up a fire hydrant as Pinocchio using himself as the model.

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