Loanshark Politics and Other Things

Endorsements will come tomorrow both in text and by way of a Trending Buffalo podcast I’m recording with Brad Riter and Artvoice editor Geoff Kelly today. 

In the meantime,

1. Donn Esmonde is still an ass – whether he’s touting Congressman Brian Higgins being a good guy for agreeing with Donn Esmonde, and embracing “quicker, lighter, cheaper” on the waterfront – because “fast, big & grand” is never, ever something to which any community should aspire. Good enough is good enough in Goodenoughistan. Also, Preservationist Tom Yots is a great guy because he’s going to help save a church that all of you – yes you – suburb dwellers single-handedly decimated with your flight from the neighborhood. 

2. Paul Wolf says that Niagara Falls’ trouble troika are being reasonable by asking questions about developer Mark Hamister’s $25 million + plan to develop a mixed-use hotel development near the Falls State Park. 

Asking questions is one thing. From everything I’ve heard from people who have been involved in politics for a long, long time, this city government is uniquely dysfunctional and corrupt. So much so that it makes any other dysfunctional and corrupt government entity look like Switzerland by comparison.

The reason why an appraisal is stupid here is that the city got the land for free, because there’s nothing on it whatsoever, and because it is surrounded by squalor, vacancies, and something that looks like it was airlifted from Fordham Road in the Bronx. The Falls are a couple of blocks away, but the culinary institute (which is not promoted in any way on any approach to the city) is directly across the street.

This is a city that has ceded acres of prime real estate to a NYC-based land speculator who is still patiently waiting to actually do something, and thus leaving acres of prime real estate empty and unattractive.

Niagara Falls Redevelopment redevelops nothing, and these three clowns sit there and ask nothing. Hamister comes to town (he owns and operates hotels, btw) with a plan and all they have to do is sell him a parcel of land for $100k and they get actual redevelopment.

Let’s kill that. Clearly, empty lots and vacant haunted wax museums are the highest and best uses for property in and around the neglected flash cube.

3. Marc Odien does a pretty good job connecting a lot of the disparate dots underscoring this season’s political double-dealing and corruption. It’s all about who gets to pick whom for patronage jobs, and it’s about bad people kicking money back to each other. This comes from the Facebook page of Falls Mayor Paul Dyster (I’ve shortened the links): 

One more time from the top if you missed links from the previous posts:

Top petitioner for Fruscione was Louis D. Turchiarelli, 3248 Seneca Street, Apt. 10, West Seneca, NY 14224. Six sheets of 25 each on 6/29-30.

On petitioner Louis:

And on pollster father Don:

Father, son and firm Gia Consulting use same address.

Payment to Gia Consulting (could be for petitioning, push polling or both) from Sam Fruscione from 32 day pre-primary report ($1k):

Anderson and Chooklokian also use Gia.

Payment to Gia Consulting from WNY Progressive Caucus from 11-day pre-primary ($4k):

3248 Seneca St.–same address as Turchiarelli used on petitions.

From prisoner locator website: : Served two years and was fined $1,500.

In case you didn’t click any of them

A man who had been active in Buffalo politics was sentenced Monday to two years in federal prison for threatening physical violence to collect a Rochester gambling debt.

Louis D. Turchiarelli, 38, of California Street, pleaded guilty to using extortion to collect an extension of credit. FBI agents arrested him last year after learning of threats against a Rochester man who owed $18,000 to bookmakers.

A former professional boxer, Turchiarelli had been a longtime Democratic Party activist in Buffalo before his legal problems. He resigned as the party’s West Side zone chairman about two months after his arrest. In September 2005, he ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for Erie County legislator in the 6th District. He also lost a 2003 primary contest for Niagara District Common Council member.

A federal judge in Rochester sentenced Turchiarelli to two years in prison and ordered him to pay a $1,500 fine, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett A. Harvey said.

The three responsible question-askers on the Niagara Falls city council are retaining the professional services of convicts. Good government, it’s not. 


  • To be fair to the 3 ‘responsible question askers’, they were the only people who asked any questions about the Holiday Market fisaco. They were sold a bill of goods by Dyster and Rivers about job creation, sales tax revenues, etc. Basically the same thing is happening again. Every time Dyster has a number about job creation it’s different than the previous one. Projected tax revenues under the proposed PILOT also tend to fluctuate.

    While I don’t completely endorse the council’s actions, I don’t blame them for being skeptical. I also don’t think t’s fair to get on them for NFR’s inaction of their real estate ownership. Those purchases were made in the late 90s banking on a casino being put there. NFR pays their taxes due, unlike most of the hack developers around here, so they’re not the squeaky wheel. The city doesn’t have much of a hammer aside from eminent domain to get NFR moving, and taking vacant property ON the tax rolls and moving it back OFF doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    In summation, it’s Niagara Falls. Everybody involved in politics up here is crooked. Nothing gets done unless they give up a piece of something. It’s never going to change, no matter who is on the council, or who is mayor.

    • There were many more questions to ask about the Holiday Market. That guy wasn’t Mark Hamister who, for all his faults, is a local guy with a track record of doing these types of developments.

  • In 2008 Don Turchiarelli was introduced to Tim Clark by STEVE PIGEON at a clandestine meeting at PIGEONS mothers home in West Seneca.It was decided that they would hire Turchiarelli to run a phone bank for CLARK FOR ERIE COUNTY EXEC campaign.However they didnt have the money and big donors had maxed out contributions.So MIKE “BAGS OF CASH’MULLENS paid turchiarelli in cash violating election law.Its 2013 and one of the biggest contributers to TIM KENNEDY and thereby wny progressives is MULLENS. NICE HUH


  • For someone who spent a decent chunk of his life dealing with criminals of every stripe…..I’m speechless.

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