Niagara Gazette

Local News

August 29, 2013

Hornblower vows appeal as judge upholds state's handling of no-bid agreement with Maid of the Mist

A state supreme court justice from Niagara County has dismissed a competitor's legal challenge aimed at reopening a contract currently held by the Maid of the Mist Corp. to operate boat tours at the base of the Falls.

In a decision issued Thursday, New York State Supreme Court Justice Catherine Nugent Panepinto ruled that state officials, including New York State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey and New York Power Authority President and CEO Gil Quiniones, acted appropriately and within the law when they agreed to modify the terms of a 2002 agreement between the state and the Maid to cover plans for the conversion of the state-owned Schoellkopf Power Station site into storage facilities for the company's fleet. 

Hornblower Cruises, a California-based firm that will begin offering boat tours of its own from the Canadian side next year, had challenged the legality of the process that led to the signing of the 2012 memorandum of understanding that altered the terms of the Maid's original tour operation deal with the New York state. The company's attorneys argued that state officials entered into the modified agreement without seeking competitive bids for service as required by law. 

In her ruling, Panepinto noted that the court is compelled to "exercise a high degree of judicial deference to the involved state agencies" and that the court may also "recognize other reasonable interpretations of the work described in the amendment." Panepinto determined that it was "not irrational" for the New York State Comptroller's Office to conclude that the docking facility "does not alter the identity or main purpose of the original contract." Her ruling describes the state comptroller's conclusion that public bidding was not required prior to construction as "reasonable."

"This is just another confirmation that everything was done properly," said Maid attorney Brian Gwitt. "From the Maid of the Mist's standpoint, they believed they did everything properly and this is just confirmation." 

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
House Ads
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page
Poll

Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
No, the indian reservations are sovereign land and they are selling them on their land.
Not up to me. Native Americans decide the rules on their land.
Don't care. Smoking isn't good for you.
     View Results