Niagara Gazette

Local News

September 4, 2013

Fruscione mailer makes waves

An anonymous campaign mailer delivered to households in Niagara Falls has added more controversy to the already politically charged Hamister hotel deal. 

The political postcard, which touts some of the accomplishments of one candidate for city council while criticizing Buffalo developer Mark Hamister and his plans for a new $25 million downtown hotel, does not identify the individual or group that financed its creation or distribution. 

The candidate it features - Councilman Sam Fruscione - denied having anything to do with it on Wednesday, saying he's interested in finding out who printed it himself.

"I don't know where it came from and I had nothing to do with that," said Fruscione, one of four candidates involved in Tuesday's Democratic primary for city council. 

The postcard's delivery comes as Fruscione and his colleagues in the council majority, including Chairman Glenn Choolokian and Councilman Rober Anderson Jr., are continuing negotiations with Corporation Counsel Craig Johnson, officials from the state and the Hamister Group. Council majority members have suggested in recent weeks that talks have been progressing. 

On Tuesday, Choolokian said Johnson has been tracking down answers to questions majority members have been asking about the state's proposed deal with Hamister for the city-owned lot at 310 Rainbow Blvd.

"I think we're going in the right direction," Choolokian said. "We'll have to see what happens from here."

The campaign postcard calls into question the motives of Hamister Group Chairman and CEO Mark Hamister, at one point describing him as a "con man" who is trying to swindle the taxpayers of Niagara Falls. The mailer also suggests the developer is being dishonest by not releasing the details of his financial plan for the hotel before an agreement has been reached.

"What is he hiding?" part of the postcard reads. 

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