Niagara Gazette —
"We're going to continue to promote George's story because what George did was heroic," Fruscione said.
He noted that several other communities, including New York City, Chicago and, more recently, Las Vegas, have opened centers dedicated to mob history and he said the items his shop sells are nowhere near on the same scale.
"Only in Niagara Falls do we make a big deal out of this," Fruscione said.
As for his decision to vote on the grant for the pizzeria next door to his firm's novelty shop, Fruscione said Vecchies was not involved in the application process and is not affiliated with the pizza shop owner in or his business in anyway. He also said Little Italy Niagara has not and will not benefit from the grant proceeds provided to its neighbor.
"I'm pretty clear when it comes to abstaining," Fruscione said. "I'm not going to compromise my family's integrity."
He accused Grandinetti of attempting to use the situation to her political advantage, suggesting she is "down in the polls" and now needs to "go negative."
"She's grasping at straws in an election year because she has spent four years on the city council doing nothing," Fruscione said. "My accomplishments are huge. Her accomplishments are zero."
After Wednesday's meeting, Vecchies admitted that he went to city hall to obtain an application for a loan for the business owner, but did not actively work to obtain a grant for him. He also did admit to developing a business plan for the pizzeria owner. He insisted that neither he, nor Fruscione, have benefited from the grant personally.
"The grant is for the business, not the building," Vecchies said.