Niagara Gazette

Local News

July 24, 2013

Mafia talk takes center stage at council meeting

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette —

"It really irks me that the city of NIagara Falls and Councilwoman Grandinetti would stoop to this level," Vecchies said. 

At one point, Vecchies, referencing an article that appeared in the Buffalo News on Wednesday, suggested Grandinetti told the media outlet she was "ashamed" of her heritage.

Grandinetti immediately interjected, telling Vecchies he was misquoting her. 

"I'm not ashamed of my heritage," Grandinetti said. "I am ashamed of it being misrepresented, so let's try to get that straight Mr. Vecchies." 

Earlier this week, Grandinetti publicly questioned Fruscione's decision to vote to approve a $15,000 grant for the pizzeria owner in his role as a member of the board for the NFC Development Corp., a lending arm of the city. She suggested that Fruscione should have recused himself from the vote, or made it known to her and other board members that Vecchies played a role in the application process. She also suggested it may have been appropriate for Fruscione to tell board members of his business interests in the building next door to the pizza shop. 

After Wednesday's meeting, Grandinetti said her position has not changed.

"He did not disclose their connection," she said. 

She said she also still believes selling products related to mob activities and figures sends the wrong message about Niagara Falls and is not something the city should be looking to glorify or revive.

Following Wednesday's meeting, Fruscione said "90 percent" of the items being sold inside the Falls Street Emporium are knick-knack type of items, including flip-flops, purses and bubble guns. He said the store's mob-related merchandise and displays are intended as a tribute to George Karalus, a retired state trooper who was active in investigations that eventually led to the breaking up of organized crime rings in the Falls. He said he is not seeking to glorify the mob or the mafia and teaches his own children to "denounce" such figures and activities. 

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