The water cooler talk around City Hall last week had nothing to do with pothole repair, public safety or any of the other challenges facing Niagara Falls in the upcoming months.

Instead, the hot topic was the apparent resurgence of a federal investigation involving former Mayor Vince Anello that has gone on for four years without yielding charges.

And some feel enough is enough.

“I was hoping this was all behind us,” said Council Chairman Samuel Fruscione. “It’s just a dark cloud over City Hall again.”

Anello is being investigated for loans he received totaling $40,000 from developer Joseph Anderson while running for mayor in late 2003. Anderson currently owns multiple properties in the city, including the old Wintergarden and the vendor rights to the East Pedestrian Mall.

The investigation centered on council actions taken that benefited Anderson while Anello was a councilman and later as mayor. Anello, who has maintained his innocence, was never charged and the probe had died down — at least publicly — in the past two years.

But it was not forgotten.

“When people know there’s a federal investigation going on at City Hall, it does affect what’s going on,” Councilman Charles Walker said. “It’s really time to get this settled and move on.”

Federal investigators visited City Hall last week to look over meeting records pertaining to City Council action involving Anderson from 2002 to 2007. On Thursday, they returned with a pair of subpoenas ordering information from the city clerk and controller offices. Both times, the agents made no direct contact with current Mayor Paul Dyster or members of the City Council.

“We’re kind of clueless about what’s going on,” Fruscione said.

Dyster said investigators could be making another visit to the clerk’s office on Monday. Meanwhile, information recovered from the subpoenas issued earlier this week are scheduled to be submitted to a federal grand jury on June 4.

“I don’t feel our city employees are put out (by the information requests),” said Dyster, adding his instruction to workers was to cooperate fully with the investigators. “Because we need to see that justice is done, it’s a necessary burden, but I’d like to see this resolved as soon as possible and put it behind us.”

Fruscione said he’s hoping the investigation can soon wrap up for good so the council can focus on other issues affecting residents.

“It has nothing to do with the council past or present,” he said. “It’s Vince’s problem, we just have to keep moving forward. All this does is bring back bad memories.”

Contact reporter Rick Forgione

at 282-2311, ext. 2257.

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