Niagara Gazette

Local News

May 10, 2013

Bax gets probation

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Bax's plea agreement with prosecutors outlined an incident in fall 2007, when he met with a developer who was looking to convert a piece of property for a new business venture in the Falls. Bax provided the individual, referred to as "Business Person 1," with copies of the city's constriction codes and said, "You have to know the right people" to complete the development.

He told the developer he should hire Gross to work on the property conversion because Gross "knows the right people and he knows the (building) inspectors." Bax told the developer that others had tried to create similar projects here, but had failed because they were not using contractors who were "the right people."

The developer told FBI agents that, based on what Bax had told him, he hired Gross because he believed it was the only way to get his project completed. Gross was paid between $25,000 and $35,000 for the work.

In return for steering work to him, Gross remodeled a bathroom at Bax's home and snowplowed his driveway for free. Gross also took Bax on an expensive fishing trip and regularly included him in golf outings.

Arcara himself remarked on "how little" Bax received in return for steering business to Gross.

"Not withstanding how cheap (Bax) could be purchased, that discount doesn't discount the harm he did to the public," Kennedy said. 

While Bax admitted his guilt in accepting a gratuity in only one instance, law enforcement sources have told the Gazette that he routinely engaged in that conduct. 

Bax expressed "remorse" for his conduct.

"He is full of remorse and feels bad for the city," Connors said.

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