August 29, 2007

Fact Check - Merrill Bender

In the August 24 US&J, Niagara County Legislature candidate Merrill Bender admonished the Majority Caucus for "failing to keep open a wonderful county home for our seniors and closing the Mount View facility, which was a moneymaker for the county before they took control."

A financial review of county documents sheds a very different light on Mr. Bender's interpretation of what is and what is not a "moneymaker". Keep in mind, Bender stated the facility was making money prior to the majority caucus taking control, which was in January of 2004.

In 2003, Mt. View lost $1,356,042.00
In 2002, Mt. View lost $811,268.00
In 2001, Mt. View lost $968,944.00

If you are going to be a candidate for public office, and make public statements such as the one regarding the profitability of Mt. View, you should take the time to verify your figures. If not, someone else will.


Larry S said...

Why would Bender let the facts get in the way of a good lie?

Him and Phyllis should get together.

Anonymous said...

It makes me wonder why people like this become media darlings. Good hard working individuals like his opponent, John Syracuse are not given the credit that is due. John Syracuse is hard-working businessman, community leader and family man.

Bender is a person that cannot be trusted.

The media in ths county makes me Sick.

By the way has Bender filed any finicial statements at the County Board of Elections?

Scott Leffler said...


How exactly is Bender a "media darling?" Cause his letter to the editor was printed? Cause he calls into talk shows? Your misrepresentation of the media makes me sick.

Fat Tony said...

Anon, I'm no fan of Bender, but to blame the media is pretty lame.

I don't feel bad for Bender getting called out since that is all he has done on his blog and at Legislature meetings. He has set himself up as some sort of expert and now it turns it he can't get his facts straight.

Bender is one of these sanctimonious types who believes that if you disagree with him on an issue like AES or Mount View you somehow are evil and out to screw the public.

That's his character flaw...not the media's.

And if spineless members of the County Legislature refuse to call him out when he spews his venom at Leg meetings....I'm talking to you Biermiester and Virtuosity....but rather give credence to his lies, when then they have made him a credible source.

But the media....they're just doing the reporting.

Virtual Unreality said...

Tony, I have to disagree with you. The media is not simply "doing the reporting". They allowed Bender to use their forum to prmote his lies, the same thing that you accuse the Leg if doing, without questioning him.

He made the statement that Mt. View was profitable prior to the Reps taking the majority. That is an absolute LIE. What did the US&J do? Nothing except print his lie.

Where is their responsibility to verify the truth in guest editorials? Does that not exist? Is anyone allowed to say anything they want in that column, regardless of how inaccurate, and the paper simply schucks its responsibility?

I think that's garbage and the paper is more at fault than Bender for allowing his lies to be published.

Fat Tony said...


If someone is not factual in a guest view, then those with the facts should step forward and write their own piece setting the record straight. Maybe our favorite Bumpkin Greg Lewis could get out there and sent the record straight, but that would actually take time and putting down the donut, wiping the crumbs off the keyboard, and doing some work.

Mike Hunt said...

Merrill Bender is a joke.

Merrill Bender said...

AS usual you pick out one line and tear me apart and miss the larger point being made or the glaring facts of tax loss on the AES deal.

If the Politically connected in Niagara county had not engineered the AES PILOT an instead fired the IDA and rescinded the AES Pilot -
The taxppayers of Niagara County would have a net gain in revenue; lower property taxes and still have a quality Nursing Home to be proud of. Instead we have lost 200 jobs in our area and forced Seniors to move.
The case for Mount View its money making and profitability numbers have been shared on other forums.

With a small County investment, Mount View could have made money. With a much smaller investment than the Projected $18 Million to close, Mount View could have been self sufficient and profitable.

If Mount View losses justify in your mind its closure, then the net loss of the IDA of close to $90 million should have you screaming 10 times as loud to close and shut down the IDA put every employee there out of work and shuffle the work to the private sector because they do it so much better.

2006 IDA projects estimated over their life span to create $3 million in additional tax revenue.

AES PILOT projected to lose $95 Million.

Who is ignoring the BIG facts??

ARE you ready to shut down the IDA yet??

Anonymous said...

the greed seeths from bender and his cast in somerset. from the facts I have read in the paper it is a crime the residents pay any tax at all. I come from a small town in western MA that was home to a power plant - we didn't pay a dime in property tax. is it true that aes paid $20 million last year. if that small town and school cannot make it work on $20 miilion someone ought to call for a review of the books.

Sail Away said...

Mr. Bender, with all due respect, the original post simply pointed out the fact that Mt. View was not making money prior to the Majority Caucus taking over in 2004, which is contrary to your assertion in the Union Sun.

It had nothing to do with the AES PILOT or the need for a county-run nursing home. Those are certainly fine topics for debate.

If you have numbers from "other forums", as you state, that contradict the numbers that were provided to me directly from the county, please feel free to correct me.

Anonymous said...

Merrill, your facts have been proven (at least challenged to be) inaccurate. Please respond tp your inaccuracies instead of spinning about the rest of us common folks missing your point....if you could make a point in less than one million words, maybe all the rest of us dummies could keep up with your never used masters degree in education. Bankruptcy shouldn't pay!

Scott Leffler said...

anon and virtual unreality,

back to the media bit ...

Are you saying that the newspaper ... any newspaper should fact check letters to the editor? Should they call sources to verify the contents from a second party? Should they do the same with advertisements? If so, how can every restaurant have "the best fish fry in town?"

Again, I think you're trying to paint the media with a brush that just doesn't stroke.

Any newspaper in the US allows rebuttals to letters to the editor. If you've got a difference of opinion ... or want to call out a letter writer, you're welcome to do so.

Should I - as a talk show host - spend three hours after each show listening to every comment any caller makes and fact checking those comments so the next day I can verify or villify?

Why the desire to downgrade the media? They make enough REAL mistakes that you shouldn't have to make up issues to complain about.

Just my 2 cents. Free as usual.

Anonymous said...

I have lived in somerset my entire life...mostly happily. everyone knew politics was corrupt in this small town by the likes of wally coates, shoemaker and downs who ran the town as their small fiefdom. these folks all take take direction from the matriarch ms. becky connolly. no one really cared that coates was taking 5 paychecks from the town as long as the taxes were the lowest in the county. most importantly, it was quiet in this town. now we have bender. no one in town will support this guy becasue they know his background. bender has never worked a day in his life, he was forced out from his short stint on the school board in scandal, he stiffed mom and pop suppliers and vendors by buying electronic equipment and sailboats without paying them. the elections cannot come soon enough so this rat can go back to his mansion on the lake that he doesn't pay tax on - actually the insurance company built that house after it was destroyed by fire under suspicious circumstances

Mr. Pink said...

Mr. Bender,

Here's two cents of free advice: be accurate in what you say when you run for office. Don't blame Sail Away for calling you on the carpet for using bad information. Own up to it and move on.

I guess you're allowed to take potshots at people but when you get called on the carpet for factual inaccuracies...well, that's ignoring the other issues.

The agitator said...

As a Niagara County resident who doesn't live in Somerset, I couldn't care less about the PILOT. Everyone knows the town was loaded with cash but rather than use it to create long-term, sustainable development a few sheisters like Shoemaker got rich. Now the gravy train is over and you're all wondering where the money went.

Pigs get fed, hogs get slaughtered and the political class like you, Sweeney, Shoemaker and Connelly have been hogs for too long. Oink. Oink.

cg466 said...

Bender your a chump.Mt View deserves to be closed.I am sick of paying do you read me chump.

Anonymous said...

Coates is a crook and a stuck up snob!!