UH OH: City Forced to Pay Contractor That Piccirillo Ignored

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Former member of the Dyster Administration Seth Piccirillo.

 

By: Tony Farina

The Niagara Falls City Council last week almost quietly approved a $76,000 payment to Wendel Engineering for work on the Highland Ave. Fire House that was long overdue from the previous administration despite numerous attempts from the contractor to get paid by the city.

Mayor Robert Restaino submitted a request to the council on Feb. 7, essentially asking that they make good on the contract that had not been honored by the city and former Community Development Director Seth Piccirillo who during the 2018-2019 period in question was clearly considering his political future, eventully losing his bid for the mayor’s office.

According to the communication from Mayor Restaino to the council to get the contract paid, he said Wendel had fulfilled their work requirements on the fire house during 2018 and issued three invoices to Community Development that, unfortunately, “were apparently disregarded by the department’s former director, Seth Piccirillo.”

Restaino said Wendel made several more attempts during 2019 (the year of the bitter race for mayor) to collect their money but were unsuccessful.

 

 

Apparently, according to the Restaino message to the council, the new administration found that Wendel had not been paid because the New York State Development grant which Piccirillo had told the council would cover the work would not cover the cost and so he ignored the problem, perhaps hoping it would go away.

Given that the council was “misinformed” relative to funding, Restaino said the city was obligated to compensate Wendel not only because it is obligated to do so, but also to preserve the city’s reputation with the business community.

 “In order to move this city forward, the community must know that we have the ability and integrity to fulfill our contractual obligations,” Restaino told the council in his memorandum.

City Hall sources hint there may be more surprises still to come, adding to the already severe financial problems the administration inherited when the new mayor took office on Jan. 1.

Since losing his bid for mayor in a bitter primary battle with Restaino last June, Piccirillo seemed to disappear from city government in the last half of the year and he has since moved on to the private sector.

 

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