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SEP 30- OCT 07, 2014

Casino Revenue Cut by $1.4 Million; Dyster Wants $1.5 Million for State

By Mike Hudson

September 30, 2014

USA Niagara manages Old Falls St , which really means they sub the work to Global Spectrum Corp., which makes a profit by charging taxpayers for events on the two block street. Since taxpayers pay, there is no true incentive for Global Spectrum to put on events that make money. During the last few years, under their management, Old Falls St is generally barren of activities- other than a hot dog vendor, an Indian snack vendor and a couple of tee shirt sellers.

No sooner had Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster discovered that the city would lose $1.4 million in casino revenue for 2013 than he proposed giving an extra $1.5 million of your hard earned money to the state-run USA Niagara Development Corp. to help them "operate and manage" the Conference Center Niagara Falls.

Never mind that USA Niagara neither operates nor manages the conference center. That task is contracted out to a private company called Global Spectrum, a multinational corporation that manages public event venues in the United States, Canada, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Presumably, USA Niagara is paying Global Spectrum with the money it will get from the city. Why? Does USA Niagara get a cut? When the city had its own convention center in what is now the Seneca Niagara Casino, it paid convention hall operators directly.

Starting in January, 2013, the city stopped its payments to USA Niagara. The former council majority, then consisting of Sam Fruscione, Bob Anderson and Glenn Choolokian, decided it was sheer folly to continue paying the state agency when the local share of revenue from the Seneca Niagara Casino hadn't been coming in since 2008.

At that time, the payments amounted to only $1 million a year for the management of the convention center and Old Falls St.

Dyster didn't say why he has chosen to increase them to $1.5 million annually in his Sept. 9 letter to the council asking for the city to use $1.5 million of casino cash annually for the next five years.





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