Buffalo Common Council President James
W. Pitts anticipates that the city, as owner of
the Broadway Market, will want to makes
changes on the board after an audit is completed in the wake of a $250,000 deficit.
Pitts said the aim will be to provide more
stability for both market operations and tenants.
The Council president disclosed that the
audit will provide the basis for Council hearings in which "market management, board
members and merchants will be questioned
about what vent wrong.
"A lot of the vendors think that people
are coming in and making political decisions."
he said. "I do think we
should try to limit the
kind of political influence previously present
at the market."
Two city auditors report every day to the
community room of the
market, where work is
said to be progressing
The job is not easy,
said Tony Farina, executive assistant to City
A. Nanula. "It's very
difficult because of the
condition of the books
out there." Farina said.
Among the board
members are two Democratic politicians who
play .strong roles in
Broadway-Fillmore institutions dependent on
public grants: Gregory
B. Olma, a county legislator. and David A.
Franczyk. a former Council member who rep-
resented the Fillmore District for many years.
Olma and Franczyk are, or have been,
deeply involved with Central Terminal reconstruction, the Polish Community Center and a
Polish library across from Olma's house.
There have been complaints that some
board members are also on other boards controlled by Olma or Franczyk. said Pitts.
Reached by telephone, Franczyk said that
as a Council member, he directed millions of
dollars to the Broadway Market and made appointments to, its board, but was not himself
eligible to serve on the board.
"No Council member has ever served as a
board member," he said.
Franczyk said that before the money problems became news. he volunteered to join the
board and was accepted. He said he has yet to
attend his first meeting.
Asked the names of his appointees to the
current board, Franczyk said he did not-have
any papers before him and did not remember
specifically. Karen Ellington, the new Council
member from the Fillmore District, has not
yet been appointed to the board. She will.
however, have a role in the next city budget.
and she said market tenants have approached
her for help.
With Niagara Mohawk threatening to shut
off the power, the Masiello administration
found an extra $87,000 earlier this month to
keep the power on, a city official said. The city
already had paid half of the utility bill under a
lease with the market, and, in effect, paid
again. The board recently asked the Council
to take over the entire cost of utilities, and the
matter will go to a vote in the Council.
Meanwhile, there are complaints of expenditures that preceded receipt of grants and a
sweetheart deal 15 months ago with the current anchor tenant. Save a Lot. After Tops
pulled out as anchor store, the
board invested $500,000 in city
grant money in upgrading the space
subsequently rented to save a Lot,
a franchise operated by Horrigan &
Tops did not sell meats, but independent merchants complain that
Save a Lot offers some of the same
products as specialty stands.
"He's in competition with all the
meat stands, all the produce stands.
Our business has gone down," said
a vendor, who spoke on condition
Save a Lot now pays $3.75 per
square foot under a lease that will
finish at $5 per square foot in 2018.
Other tenants pay $13.75, and they
say increases are demanded as
"This is what the board has
done," said a tenant. "They have
put everybody's livelihood in jeopardy, but they have jobs."
Horrigan notified the Broadway
Market Board early this month that
he hopes to sell his lease and will do
so at the end of 60 days.
With the busy Easter season approaching, vendors are hoping to
make money. The comptroller's office is with them in that hope, and
audit results are not expected until
after the holiday.
One board member, mayoral appointee Peter Cammarata, is for-
mer director of the market When
Cammarata left to become a vice
president of Buffalo Economic Renaissance Corp. in the mid-1990s,
the market was in the black.