Tonawanda News

Local News

April 11, 2014

Cannata out as Riviera Theatre director

Longtime director resigns, files lawsuit over severance deal

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — But her description of the parting implies it wasn’t mutually agreeable.

“He resigned from the Riviera Theatre,” Santiago, who also runs the Chamber of Commerce of the Tonawandas, said. “He submitted his letter of resignation. If the board had wanted to, you could be hearing that he was fired.”

Adding to the tumult is the resignation of several members of the board itself. At least three members who have expressed admiration for his job performance, which included more frequently using the Riv as a venue for live music and a multi-million dollar expansion project presently under way, quit around the time of Cannata’s departure.

Santiago denied the board members quit in a show of support for Cannata, instead saying they could no longer meet the time commitments for serving on the board.

“There was a couple of members who didn’t want to be part of the changes,” Santiago said. “The reason they gave had nothing to do with (Cannata’s departure).”

Santiago added that “negotiations in regards to his departure” are ongoing, an apparent reference to the lawsuit Cannata filed over the severance package.  

“I’m going to be honest with you, I’m not understanding the necessity of it,” she said, of the lawsuit. “It’s not making any sense. I think it’s more or less a clarification of the terms of his departure. I thought it was crystal clear.” 

Cannata wouldn’t speak to specific terms of the lawsuit and the News was not able to obtain a copy of it before the close of business Thursday but Cannata was firm stating he signed a termination agreement “and they haven’t honored it.” 

“It’s as simple as that,” he said. “I haven’t been able to collect on it. That’s the nature of the lawsuit.”

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