Articles for J. Dale Shoemaker

Sep 15

2022

Big subsidies for luxury apartments

State and local governments eagerly offering tax subsidies to a luxury, waterfront apartment project sounds like something out of a developer’s fantasy. But that’s exactly what’s happening in North Tonawanda. The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency on Wednesday unanimously approved — without debate — a $7.2 million subsidy package for a developer building 110 apartments along the Niagara River marketed as “luxurious living in elegant surroundings.” The project is a third phase of developer VisoneCo’s aims for the section of River Road just north of Tonawanda Island. The first, which is finished, features apartments, townhomes and commercial space. The second,[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

Sep 12

2022

Harborcenter fails to meet its jobs goal

When state and county officials agreed nearly a decade ago to give the Buffalo Sabres and the Pegula family $57 million in tax breaks for downtown’s Harborcenter, the money came with a promise. Jobs. In its application for public assistance, a subsidiary of Pegula Sports and Entertainment promised 205 full-time and 160 part-time jobs. In a subsequent press release, the Sabres upped the ante to 350 full-time positions. Those jobs were supposed to be in exchange for $37 million in tax breaks from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency and $20 million from the state to remediate the brownfield the[...]

Posted 3 weeks ago

Sep 12

2022

Union complaint filed against Geico

Geico employees attempting to organize a union at the company’s Amherst office have filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. At issue are two emails the company sent to employees that organizers said amount to “union busting.” In the first email, sent Aug. 12, Mindy Seibold, the regional vice president for Buffalo, and Pete Rizzo, a company vice president, warned employees against speaking with Geico United organizers visiting them at home. Because of the pandemic, organizers previously told Investigative Post, many Geico employees are working from home, meaning that union organizers have been knocking on[...]

Posted 3 weeks ago

Sep 7

2022

Geico workers organizing in Amherst

 Workers at Geico, one of Western New York’s largest employers, are attempting to organize a labor union, an effort that, if successful, would be the insurance company’s first-ever union. But workers told Investigative Post that Geico is attempting to stop their organizing, an effort that could bring union representation to some 2,500 employees. Two emails sent by company vice presidents last month show the company attempting to dissuade workers from signing a petition for a union election. In one email, the company officials even suggested that employees should call the police on their coworkers if they ask them to sign[...]

Posted 3 weeks ago

Sep 2

2022

Inside Amazon’s massive subsidy in Niagara

Robert Taylor, a lifelong Niagara County resident, is thinking about moving south. Probably Florida. But Taylor isn’t chasing the warm weather and low property taxes that have drawn tens of thousands of other Northerners to the South. Rather, he’s running away from something.  Amazon.  The online retail giant plans to open a 3-million-square-foot warehouse less than a mile from his Packard Road home in the Town of Niagara. Amazon plans to employ 1,000 people at the warehouse and hundreds of cars and trucks will travel to and from the facility daily. The warehouse will be a “first mile” distribution center[...]

Posted 4 weeks ago

Aug 24

2022

Subsidies for South Buffalo pot farm

Updated: 1:46 p.m. A pot growing operation in South Buffalo has received two major subsidies from economic development agencies. The first, in January, came from the New York Power Authority, which approved an allocation of 2.9 megawatts of discounted hydropower. That equates to $3.5 million in savings over 10 years, based on 2021 energy prices, a NYPA spokesman told Investigative Post. The second subsidy came Wednesday from the Erie County Industrial Development Agency, which approved tax breaks worth $3.1 million over 15 years.  It’s the first subsidy the IDA has awarded to a marijuana producer and the second largest tax-break[...]

Posted 1 month ago

Aug 10

2022

Big tax breaks for Amazon in Niagara County

It took the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency less than a minute Wednesday to approve $124 million in tax breaks for Amazon to bring 1,000 warehouse jobs to the Town of Niagara. Amazon, one of the world’s largest and wealthiest companies, plans to open a 3-million-square-foot warehouse along Lockport Road, which will be a “first mile” distribution center where bulk shipments of goods will arrive and be sorted and packed for shipment to other Amazon facilities in the region. The goods will make their way to customers from those other facilities. Despite hearing concerns from residents about the $15-per-hour jobs[...]

Posted 2 months ago