We've picked up an interesting story from several sources concerning former NCIDA director John Simon. You may recall that Simon was pushed out of the IDA a few years back, leaving the organization on the brink of bankruptcy.
During his tenure, Simon was obsessed with taking over Niagara Falls International Airport. When the NFTA put out a plan to privatize the airport, Simon put together a proposal that would have put the airport on the backs of taxpayers. The NFTA instead chose to go with Cintra, an international company that had a large portfolio of airports.
Simon then enlisted the help of then-Congressman John LaFalce who made wild accusations about Cintra and did everything possible to sideline the deal. Eventually, Cintra walked away. (As an aside, Cintra has continued to invest and expand their international portfolio while NFIA remains essentially vacant. This in spite of LaFalce's promise at the time to line up major dollars for the airport if Cintra was out of the mix.)
Fast forward to today where the NFTA is finally about to invest in building a new terminal at Niagara Falls. There is both casino money and NFTA funds set aside for the project. Bids are being taken.
John Simon, who has been working for the OZ Project in Wheatfield -- yes a match made in heaven -- has quietly resurfaced in certain circles trying to derail the project, telling anyone who will listen that it should be killed and vowing to lead the charge to do just that.
Unbelievably, we are told a few politicians are actually taking him seriously. We've also been told that Tom Christy has bought into this nonsense....Tom, you are really putting your credibility at risk.
Let's be clear. Investment in a new terminal at NFIA must happen. We have all waited too long to have people with questionable track records like John Simon come out of the woodwork and screw it up.