Articles for J. Dale Shoemaker

Sep 20


Genesee County officials make misleading claims

Following a state Supreme Court lawsuit over a critical piece of infrastructure for its Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park, the Genesee County Economic Development Center has begun a public relations campaign. Beginning last week, just days after Orleans County sued the neighboring agency to block a sewage pipeline that would discharge across county lines, Genesee County EDC placed advertisements and letters to the editor in local news publications in an effort to defend its industrial park. The agency also published a new page on its website defending the wastewater pipeline. The advertisements link to the new webpage. There’s just[...]

Posted 4 days ago

Sep 18


Wastewater from industrial park could violate federal law

Oak Orchard Creek is considered Orleans County’s “lifeblood.” Flowing south to north from Genesee County wetlands to Lake Ontario, it provides trophy salmon and trout a place to feed and spawn. The creek draws fishermen, $30 million in tourist spending and around $100,000 in county revenue each year. “Oak Orchard Creek is a huge — a huge — part of the fishery … it’s gigantic,” Lou Borrelli, captain of a fishing charter boat, told Investigative Post. “Generally speaking, most of the fish are going to be affected by the water quality, because if it does get contaminated that could have a[...]

Posted 6 days ago

Sep 14


Lockport IDA subsidies likely despite AI fake

In July, a plastics manufacturer gave the Lockport Industrial Development Agency a fake study generated by artificial intelligence to support its request for subsidies. Thursday, the IDA signaled that it’s prepared to give the company $312,000 in tax breaks anyway. Two months ago, SRI CV Plastics gave the IDA’s board of directors an abstract and citation for a study that purported to show the safety and benefits of PVC pipes, which the company wanted to manufacture. A group of 48 environmental groups are protesting the project, arguing that a public agency in New York should not be subsidizing a plastics[...]

Posted 1 week ago

Sep 11


A high-stakes battle between WNY counties

In an unusual move, one Western New York county has sued a neighboring county’s industrial development agency in an effort to stop a key component a major economic development project. Orleans County filed a complaint Monday in state Supreme Court against the Genesee County Economic Development Center, seeking an injunction to stop the construction of a wastewater pipeline that will service the Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park, known as STAMP. The Genesee County EDC “started construction without having all their ducks in a row and did so at their own risk,” Jennifer Persico, an attorney representing Orleans County, wrote[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

Aug 23


Former OTB employee alleges discrimination

Click “unmute” to listen. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is investigating discrimination claims made against the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. after a former employee said she was the victim of “racism and humiliation and discrimination.” Tonya Stewart-Gray, who worked as a security officer at the Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel from January through April, has alleged her former coworkers and supervisors routinely harassed her, belittled her and denied her request for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, causing her to develop sciatic nerve damage. Stewart-Gray said that when she brought her concerns to CEO Henry Wojtaszek, he[...]

Posted 1 month ago

Aug 9


Niagara IDA extends Amazon tax breaks

Amazon’s stalled warehouse project in the Town of Niagara won a reprieve Wednesday. The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency, in a unanimous vote, granted the e-commerce giant a six-month extension on a package of $124 million in property, sales and mortgage tax subsidies tied to its proposed  distribution center. That means Amazon has until February 2024 to close on the subsidies the agency granted one year ago for its planned 3 million square-foot facility on Packard Road. Board Chairman Mark Onesi said the IDA could vote on two more six-month extensions, meaning Amazon could have until February 2025 to begin[...]

Posted 2 months ago

Aug 7


No action on Amazon’s warehouse in Niagara

One year after winning $124 million in tax subsidies from the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency, Amazon has taken few steps to build its promised 1,000-employee warehouse in the Town of Niagara. On Monday, the 217 acres of land along Lockport Road where Amazon plans to build its three-million-square-foot facility remained vacant. No earth had been moved, no stakes were in the ground. No construction equipment was present. In response to the delay, the IDA is now poised to grant Amazon a six-month extension on its subsidy package. The extension — which the IDA’s board will consider Wednesday — indicates[...]

Posted 2 months ago

Aug 3


No more free golf for Chautauqua IDA

The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency has agreed to make changes to the way it operates after a scathing state review in May found “inappropriate and questionable” spending at the economic development outfit. Those changes, however, come with some consternation from the IDA. While it told state officials it would curtail some of its spending and review some of its policies, it vigorously defended other practices the state Authorities Budget Office critiqued, arguing the agency can’t force it to change.  The IDA, for example, will no longer reimburse an executive for a country club membership where he played golf with[...]

Posted 2 months ago