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OCT 28- NOV 05, 2014

Ulrich Sports New Rolls Royce Wraith; as County GOP Rewards Him with Lucrative Lease

By Frank Parlato

October 28, 2014

When you got it, flaunt it. And that’s what Dave Ulrich does with his gorgeous 2013 Rolls Royce Wraith.

Good news.

Big time Republican campaign donor David Ulrich of Lockport, fresh from winning the award to store county voting machines at his Newfane warehouse, celebrated his soon-to-be-inked Niagara County lease by appearing in town in a new Rolls Royce Wraith.

Talk about class!

This super supple car with its 624-horsepower engine is the most powerful Rolls Royce ever built and economically priced at $284,000.

About 1/6 of what Ulrich will earn on his new lease with the county.

"There’s a sense of effortless grace and elegance but at the same time something more contemporary and daring," said Giles Taylor, director of design for Rolls Royce, about the Wraith.

He could have been describing Ulrich, who has gracefully donated $50,950 to State Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane; $27,500 to the county GOP committee and $8,519 to individual Republicans in the county since 2000.

Ulrich also made seemingly effortless donations to Republicans Chris Lee, Chris Collins, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Henry Wojtaszek, George Bush, Alphonse D'Amato, Nancy Naples, the New York Republican Committee and various PACs associated with the GOP.

Republicans, who control the legislature 11 to 4, have made it clear they will award the voting machine storage contract to Ulrich’s Clear Opportunities Properties and were set to instruct County Manager Jeffrey M. Glatz and County Attorney Claude A. Joerg to negotiate the deal with Ulrich without a further vote.

But County Legislature Minority Leader Dennis F. Virtuoso, D-Niagara Falls, won a minor concession when he insisted that the Republicans at least put in the price and length of the lease before voting to give Ulrich the award.

Ulrich had the lease for storing voting machines for five years at his former Lockport Mattress plant on Transit Rd. in Newfane.

He had to face competition this year to keep the lease when, after his lease expired, the Republican majority, under pressure from Democrats, put the voting machine storage contract out to bid.

Ulrich had been charging the county $3 per square foot, or $86,400 a year, for 28,800 square feet of warehouse space under the old lease.

In August, after the lease expired, Ulrich doubled the rent to $6 per square foot to take advantage of the lapse between the expiration of his old lease and the time it would take to put a new lease out to bid.

He is now, temporarily, charging taxpayers $14,400 per month instead of the $7,200 he was getting during his five-year lease.

But all's well that ends well, as the Bard used to say.

Ulrich won the bid competition this year coming in at $4.25 per square foot for 15 years, but offered to reduce the price to $3.95 a square foot, or $113,760 per year, if the county deletes a clause that permits them to cancel the lease with 120 days’ notice.

If Ulrich gets the full 15 years, he will earn $1,706,000 over the lifetime of the lease.

Ulrich bought the 60-year-old warehouse for $75,340 in 2004.

The county received four bids, ranging from Ulrich's low bid of $4.25 to almost $9 per square foot.

The second low bidder, Niagara Frontier Distribution, with warehouse space on Old Saunders Settlement Rd. in the Town of Lockport, also bid $4.25 per square foot.

While Ulrich was low bidder, Democrats say the bid process was flawed and that the original, April 22, Requests for Quotation (RFQ) was written to ensure Ulrich won.

"If you look at the request for proposals, it's pretty clear they deliberately eliminated any competition," Virtuoso said.

From the number of parking spaces, to the type of loading docks, to entrances, to location of electrical outlets, the RFQ seems to require exactly what Ulrich's warehouse has.

Under amount of space, the RFQ states: "The County requires approximately 28,800 usable square feet of space."

Approximately 28,800? That's an odd number for an approximation.

But Ulrich has exactly 28,800 square feet available.

Photos of Ulrich's warehouse, however, where voting machines are stored, show as much as 13,000 square feet of unused space suggesting the county doesn't need anywhere near 28,800 square feet of space.

Virtuoso brought this up and asked for a needs assessment, but was overruled by the Republican majority.

Then there was the location requirement.

Initially the RFQ required a warehouse be located within 12 miles of the Board of Elections at 111 Main St.,, Lockport. Ulrich's warehouse is 11.4 miles away.

About a week before the deadline to submit bids, County Manager Jeffrey Glatz said the county would "consider" bids from outside the 12-mile limit.

By that time, it was late for serious bidders outside the 12 mile radius to create and submit a bid.

"The Niagara Falls City School Board (about 20 miles away) was going to put in a bid that would have been substantially lower," said Democratic lawmaker Jason Zona. "But they saw the 12-mile requirement and could not bid."

Niagara Falls School Board President Russell Petrozzi told the Reporter that "We had space at the Trott Center. But when we found out it had to be within 12 miles of Lockport, we did not bid."

Zona said the school board would have offered their space for $50,000 per year, or less than half what Ulrich will get.

But Ulrich has a winning way with both leases and automobiles.

In 2012, Ulrich got a no-bid lease from the county for the storage of county records for $128,160 per year, for five years, for a total of $640,800, at the same Newfane warehouse.

With records and voting machines in storage there, Ulrich will get $240,000 per year on a property he paid $75,000 to acquire.

Before that, the Republican-controlled county legislature handed Ulrich a no bid lease for 20-40 East Avenue in Lockport to house the Department of Social Services and a lease for 111 Main Street for the Veteran's Office, Probation, Board of Elections, Office for the Aging, Department of Motor Vehicles, and Human Resources and a no bid lease for 50 Main Street for Niagara County Community College.

The assessed value of these three properties before he got the leases was $985,000. In 2005, after he got the leases, he sold the three buildings - with nice long term leases - for $9.1 million.

"The most potent and technologically advanced Rolls Royce in history, Wraith is a car for the curious, the confident and the bold," says Rolls Royce's marketing department.

County Republicans should be equally proud of their bold and confident landlord David Ulrich, as he sports about in his Wraith.

As Sir Henry Royce said so long ago, "Take the best that exists and make it better: when it does not exist, design it.'

Apropos of this, some say that the county designed a voting machine lease to make sure the best man got it.

In addition to his Rolls Royce, Ulrich enjoys a more sporting look when he drives his 2013 Ferrari 458 Spider ($260,000). Other times, when he wants to be less ostentatious, look for him gliding through town in his confident and sophisticated Aston Martin or his powerful hand crafted, luxury Bentley.

Never a “Johnny-one-car’ the sophisticated taste of David Ulrich compels him to drive a Bentley (below) and a Ferrari (above) when the mood strikes.






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Phone: (716) 284-5595

Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
Managing Editor: Dr. Chitra Selvaraj
Senior Editor: Tony Farina