Niagara Falls Reporter
Home | Archive / Search
OCT 22 - OCT 29, 2015

Will Cuomo Try to Help Dyster Given Hamister Debacle?

Tony Farina

OCT 22, 2015

The site of the Hamister hotel - an urgent do or die Dyster-Cuomo project in Tony Farina 2013 - remains a parking lot in 2015.

One of the big question marks hanging over the race for mayor of Niagara Falls is whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo will endorse fellow Democrat Paul Dyster, the incumbent who is battling for a third term against aggressive GOP challenger John Accardo who many observers say got the nod in the race’s one and only debate held last week.

Dyster very narrowly squeaked by Councilman Glenn Choolokian in a Democratic primary and now faces Accardo (and Choolokian as a write-in) on Nov. 3 to see who will lead Niagara Falls for the next four years.

Dyster is seeking a third term on a record that many see as shaky, and he could certainly use any help he can get from Cuomo who has funneled millions of state taxpayer dollars to Buffalo and Western New York as part of his Buffalo Billion program.

But while the Cuomo billion has created great energy and earnings potential in Buffalo, Niagara Falls seems to be struggling to provide services and jobs to a declining and very poor population that showed their displeasure with Dyster by nearly defeating him in the primary vote.  And many of the development projects started under Dyster have yet to see the light of day.

Among those major no-shows is the much-hyped Hamister Hotel project on Rainbow Blvd. that Dyster—and Cuomo---championed so hard in 2013.  Despite having more than $8 million in public money at the ready, Buffalo developer Mark Hamister has yet to break ground on the hotel project that Dyster, backed by Cuomo, said would save downtown.

But Cuomo is known as a loyal politician, and when he was locked in a battle with the Seneca Nation over slot revenue, it was the City of Niagara Falls that was the biggest loser.  The city was down more than $60 million in slot revenue and Dyster spent down the reserves and failed to make any budget adjustments to deal with the crisis, as noted by an audit by the State Comptroller.  But Dyster never criticized Cuomo, and when Hamister wanted land in Niagara Falls to build a hotel, backed by the state, Dyster carried the fight.

The political problem now for Dyster and Cuomo is that there’s no sign that anything is going to be started soon at the prime downtown parcel pretty much gifted to Hamister for his hotel that has been scaled back a number of times since it was first rolled out by the state’s USA Niagara after a very secretive bidding process.

If Cuomo endorses Dyster, or even comes to town to personally support his friend, he most certainly will have to deal with the question of what happened to the Hamister project.  Cuomo’s state development people in Western New York won’t respond to questions about what’s going on, as usual, and neither will the Dyster administration.

For his part, Accardo says he thinks the council was right when they raised questions about the project in 2013 only to be overwhelmed by Cuomo, Dyster, and other big-name political figures who just about called the hotel a do-or-die deal.

“I don’t think that hotel will ever be built, and the city will have a tough time getting that land back,” said Accardo this week.

With that backdrop, will Cuomo come to Niagara Falls to endorse Dyster?  For now, the only thing we know for sure is that there are no shovels in the ground at the Hamister site that was leveled by city workers to make room for something that is nowhere in sight.  And there are no more debates scheduled between Dyster and Accardo before the election as the Block Clubs inexplicably canceled a second debate that had been scheduled for next Tuesday.

One veteran political observer, who attended the one and only debate last week, said Accardo won handily because Dyster had to run on his record.  That record includes what the mayor called back in 2013 the “transformational” project that will open the door to a flood of new development downtown, creating jobs and spurring economic growth.

It appears the ball is now in the governor’s court.  Maybe he will find a way to jump start the Hamister project for his friend before the election with more state money.  But as of now, sources say Hamister does not have the money to move forward and never did.

It is kind of like a replay for Hamister who was going to buy the Buffalo Sabres a few years ago until he couldn’t get the state money to do it.  It was left to Tom Golisano to pick up the pieces and keep the hockey team in town.  Now Hamister is in the same place, and so far no one has bailed him out, or the city of Niagara Falls which has nothing to show for all that bluster back in 2013.






Dyster's 72nd Street Debacle Turns $300,000 Problem into $1 Million Fiasco
Will Cuomo Try to Help Dyster Given Hamister Debacle?
Skrlin, the Magnificent, Creates Another Masterpiece: Toast Me Goats
Dyster Puts it in Writing for City Employees: 'Just Give me a Fair Chance.'
Dyster's Letter to Employees
In wake of Choolokian Squeaker, Dyster Panders to City Union
Casino Revenue: How Sweet it Could Have Been For The Residents
Tires Slashed at Marine Drive After Council Votes to Move Canalside Concerts
Bilson Sees 'Totes McGoats Mentality' Destroying LaSalle
The Totes McGoats Q&A
'Satanic' Totes McGoats Turns Out to Be Convicted Heroin Dealer, Dyster City Worker
Is it Baphomet or Totes McGoats? Looks the same, What's the Difference?
Gus the Goose Gets Dyster's Goat
Disappointing Bills Should Handle Jags in London Game
'Price' for a Better Niagara Falls
The Expert Voice for Protecting Our City's Bones
Free Pizza Junction Again This Sunday Afternoon for Football Fans at Nifty Fifty
What Makes an Open Mic Special?
News of the Weird
City Hall Jokes
Your Weekly Horoscope

Contact Info

©2014 The Niagara Falls Reporter Inc.
POB 3083, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14304
Phone: (716) 284-5595

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