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Promises Made to Anderson 'Written on the Wind'

Did they deceive Robert Anderson?

Sam Hoyt, regional president of Empire State Development Corp., and political strategist Steve Pigeon spoke with Councilman Robert Anderson and helped persuade the councilman to change his stance and support the Hamister project.

It all happened a few days after Councilman Sam Fruscione suffered a surprising and mortifying defeat in the Democratic primary after receiving weeks of pummeling by the media for refusing to approve the Hamister deal, as it was proposed.

With Fruscione neutralized, the supporters set their sights on Anderson.

Anderson said he was promised three changes in the agreement that would make the deal better.

But, last Monday, he voted to approve the original deal as it was written and proposed in July.

The three changes were written in the wind.

At the council meeting Hoyt and City Attorney Craig Johnson said these changes, that Anderson said he wrangled from the governor, were not in the contract. They were only verbal assurances, things they would try to do if possible.

The proposal for the Hamister hotel that was approved by the council, now gives all power to the mayor and USA Niagara to amend the deal. It was approved when Anderson joined council members Kristen Grandinetti and Charles Walker in the 3 - 2 vote to move the project forward.

Anderson's requirement that language be added to ensure local workers be hired was also not put in writing. Anderson said he is relying on the governor's good word that the people who live in Niagara Falls will get first crack at the construction work on the hotel.

Hamister has previously agreed to try "as far as practicable" to hire companies whose principal offices are in Erie and Niagara counties, but declined to make any guarantees.



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

SEP 24, 2013