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Dyster Says Pay Contractor/Contributor or Else

Dyster with fellow comedians

The background was an email concerning payment to a contractor, Mark Cerrone Inc., for work performed on the CSX railroad bridge over Lewiston Road.

The email came from Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster and was sent to a city hall department head. It said, in effect: Get my contractor paid right away or you're fired!

The city had just received a reimbursement agreement from the state for the work Cerrone performed (mid six figures). What follows is the completing of paperwork by the outside engineer, Wendell Engineer, the city, and the contractor, all required in order for the city to be reimbursed by the state.

A city hall source told the Reporter that someone representing Mark Cerrone Inc. contacted the mayor about speeding up the payment.

It was not the first time someone from Cerrone contacted the mayor.

Financial disclosure forms reveal that Cerrone has been making regular contact in order to make campaign contributions totaling thousands of dollars. That started in 2007, when Dyster first ran for mayor, and continuing through his re-election campaign in 2010.

Cerrone has been one of his most fertile contributors.

Last week, the mayor began to bird dog for Cerrone.

But did the mayor really mean: Pay my contractor or you're fired?

There was, as far as anyone familiar with the circumstances could determine, no foot dragging or any attempt to withhold or delay payment. Normally, no one would get fired over an invoice of this nature being processed in due course.

After the email message was sent, however, as if by magic, Cerrone got his check within a few days and about 10 days ahead of schedule.

After the payment was made, sources tell us, the mayor told the department head that the email was meant to be a joke.

We cannot say with any confidence that we understand the mayor's humor.

"Explaining humor is a lot like dissecting a frog, you learn a lot in the process, but in the end you kill it," Mark Twain observed.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

OCT 01, 2013