Niagara Gazette

Local News

September 4, 2013

Fruscione mailer makes waves

(Continued)

Mayor Paul Dyster and Chris Schoepflin, president of the state-run USA Niagara Development Corp., have said the reduced price is part of an incentive package for the developer.

During an update on negotiations at Tuesday's council meeting, Johnson said there had been no material changes to the terms laid out in the original project term sheet, but that language changes and clarifications had been made.

"The material terms and conditions that came from the July 2 communication are much the same today as they were then," Johnson said. "There have been a few new things that were not contemplated at that time."

Johnson declined to say whether the price of the land had been renegotiated.

"I'm not going to address that right now," Johnson said.

Dyster, who saw the mailer while home for lunch on Tuesday, said he's never seen a political mailer attacking someone who is not running for office.

"It's a political mailer that tries to make a private developer look like a criminal," Dyster said. "This is the kind of thing that gets you sued."

Dyster, who has publicly supported the project since Hamister Group was selected as the project's preferred developer in February, said the mailer's description of the state procurement process as a "sweetheart deal between Buffalo business interests and local politicians" is a "gross mischaracterization" of a process meant to prevent political interference.

"There was no sweetheart deal," Dyster said. "This was a competition that included the land."

Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti, who is also running for a Democratic line in the primary, said she was "disgusted" and "embarrassed" by the mailer.

"I was horrified when I got that in the mail," Grandinetti said.

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