Niagara Gazette

Local News

September 11, 2013

Touma tops in primary voting; Fruscione fails to secure Democratic line

Fruscione odd man out in four-way city council race for three Democratic lines

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — “That definitely played a role,” Fruscione said. “It was a negative role by the media. But, that’s something we’ve all got to deal with in the future. They treated me like it was 1951 in the Falls. This ain’t 1951, folks. It’s 2013. Racism, anti-Italianism will not be tolerated at all in Niagara Falls so I’ll continue to move my mission forward.” 

Fruscione and his campaign manager, Ron Cunningham, referenced articles and television news reports that appeared in the run-up to the primary, including those concerning his involvement in a souvenir shop downtown that counts among its items mob-related merchandise. An anonymous mailer referencing Fruscione’s involvement in the store was also delivered to Falls voters in recent weeks. 

Another anonymous mailer, delivered within the past week under the label the “Niagara Examiner,” criticized the councilman’s private and business dealings as well. He blamed Dyster and other opponents of his in the local Democratic Party for printing and distributing the flier which he described as “anti-Italian.” 

“It was definitely a smear campaign and it’s unfortunate that some people will do anything to win,” Cunningham said. 

At least two anonymous mailers hit local mailboxes, encouraging voters to choose Fruscione. One was highly critical of Grandinetti. Another, which received far more attention and media scrutiny, lauded Fruscione for joining fellow members of the council majority in questioning aspects of Buffalo developer Mark Hamister’s proposed $25 million downtown hotel project. The flier, which suggested Hamister was attempting to run a “con game” in the Falls, was distributed by the WNY Progressive Caucus, a political action committee that counts among its donors former Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Steve Pigeon, state lawmaker Tim Kennedy and other Buffalo-area political figures and businesses. 

Fruscione denied having had any advance knowledge of the mailer’s delivery as did a spokesperson for the Caucus. Fruscione said he did not believe his stance on the Hamister agreement or the flier criticizing the developer had an impact on the primary’s outcome. 

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