Niagara Gazette

Local News

September 19, 2013

Cuomo seals deal with Hamister for hotel project


Niagara Gazette —

Controversy surrounding the project reached a peak just days before the Sept. 10 primary when a mailer suggesting Hamister was attempting to run a "con game" with the project arrived at households in the city. The same mailer lauded Fruscione for taking a tough stance on the proposed development. Following the election, Fruscione found himself on the outside looking in as he failed to secure one of three Democratic Party lines on the ballot for the upcoming general election. 

Days before the primary, a representative from the political action committee, the Western New York Progressive Caucus, admitted to the group's involvement in the printing and distribution of the flier. The Buffalo-based PAC counts among its donors Fruscione’s political ally and former chairman of the Erie County Democratic Committee Steve Pigeon, State Sen. Tim Kennedy of Buffalo, and other Western New York businesses and business owners.

On Thursday, with the political attack and controversy behind them, Cuomo joked that Hamister “should be governor for one day” if he wanted to see just how brutal politics can be.

“Mr. Hamister, I can’t tell you how grateful we are that you gave us the benefit of the doubt and you hung in there with us,” Cuomo said. “Mr. Hamister got involved in a little bit of a political season you see. He will never run for office. I’ll tell you that much.”

The key project approval came on Monday when three of the city council's five members agreed to authorize it. The deciding vote came from Anderson who changed his position following discussions with Cuomo's appointee, Empire State Development Regional President Sam Hoyt. Hoyt was able to persuade Anderson to approve the project, meeting with him several times and visiting him at his home to provide assurances that his three main areas of concern about the proposal would be addressed in the final contract.

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