April 29, 2009

Who Is Cafarella Fighting For?

I was more than a little disappointed by the story in the Buffalo News about Jason Cafarella, the Niagara Falls legislator and one-time renegade Democrat.

The truth is, I’ve always had a soft spot for Cafarella. He bucked his own party establishment a bit to get where he is, and for a while he showed some degree of independence from the hyper-partisan Dennis Virtuoso in the Legislature. Actually, I always thought he was kind of a straight shooter. Lately, though, he’s been voting the party line far more than bucking it, and, quite frankly, has been acting a lot like, well, like a Niagara Falls politician.

And I don’t mean that as a compliment.

So, when it broke that the Pine Avenue Business Association had allowed its members’ health insurance policies to lapse, despite taking payments from the members for insurance they thought they were getting, my first thought was, “Slimeballs.” But when I found out that Cafarella was the attorney for these guys and offering up lawyerly platitudes, I was more than disheartened.

See, when Jason Cafarella says things like “the Association had been making payments to Independent Health, but ‘did fall behind’” and the best explanation he can offer for his client’s bad behavior is “I feel very bad for all the people who were negatively impacted, and I do agree it’s taken too long to resolve this issue,” and tells the press he advised the Association’s board not to comment, I wonder what became of that straight shooter.

Look, I get that lawyers have to protect the interests of their clients. But it’s the PINE AVENUE Business Association. And that means that these were businesses not only right in the heart of Niagara Falls, but businesses right in the heart of Cafarella’s own district. And it sure looks like they got gypped.

Jason Cafarella needs to choose between his constituents and his client.


Barney said...

Conflict of Interest - He is a Board member too.

PABA Board of Directors

Gail Bimont
Comm. Dev. Liaison

Jason Cafarella
Fire Fighter/Attorney

Michael Cimino
Tops Markets

Jerry Genova

Michael Kudela

Frank Maietta

Dr. Merletti

Randy Ubrianco
RU Planning

Barney said...

"...Genova said the part-time administrator who handled the health care account has been fired. A second paid employee, Executive Director Mary Jo Zacher, will continue to do work in community relations and economic development that is funded through the city’s community development funds..."

It's a two person operation - how does the Executive director and the board not know what going on. Maryjo should be fired and Jerry should resign.

Barney said...

Last month Mary Jo Zacher worked hard to account for every single flower pots that the PABA owned.


Well maybe she should have been more focused on the book keeping -

she needs to go, she has demonstrated complete incompetence!

Barney said...

What does everyone think about Maryjo’s comments in today’s Gazette article?


Is she just passing the buck to Mr. Genova or is she truly the fall guy? If she correct, then why not provide more detail – specifically what actions did Jerry Genova take to lead to this mess?

What business got a “free ride” while others paid their fair share? Where their relationships and/or business interests between Mr. Genova and/or his close companion Samuel Fruscione that influenced this decision making? Who knew what when and when? When will the business that paid their” fair share” be reimbursed now that all the money is gone.

Somebody should really get the FBI involved – the Niagara Falls Police department is too close to a number of the players.

Jason Cafarella should step aside - he has a very big conflict of interest on his hands.

Jerry Moss said...


It should be the State Attorney General's Office.
And if they were co-mingling funds to keep this afloat - it's against the law.
Board members should be on notice.

Bob LaBarbera said...

Better nip this in the bud! Seems curiously similar to a scam in the Tonawanda's about 35 years ago. The Empire State Businessman's Assn was headed up by a guy named Tom Draper...now deceased, who used the premium dollars for his own personal expense acct. This amounted to tens of thousands of dollars--not to mention their loss of insurance coverage. He was assisted by recently indicted ponzi schemer, Guy Gane. Investigate quickly and file your claim in ASAP to the bonding co., provided it's bonded, or everyone will take a huge hit!