Tonawanda News

Opinion

October 18, 2012

Town shanked golf course concession deal

Tonawanda News — Town of Tonawanda leaders got caught with their pants down this week when the vendor they ousted after a heated political campaign uncovered a rather embarrassing — and potentially costly — blunder.

Michael Vishion, a town businessman, operated concession stands at the Brighton and Sheridan golf courses until 2010 when the town abruptly canceled Vishion’s contract with a year remaining on the five-year deal.

You see, Vishion had the temerity to challenge Town Councilman Dan Crangle in that year’s election. Vishion lost and Crangle, who chairs the town’s recreation committee and has run roughshod over the department for years, approved the cancellation.

The evidence of political interference in otherwise uncontroversial town business seems obvious given the timing. Town leaders say they were contemplating the move to take over concessions at the golf courses since 2008, years before Vishion ran against Crangle. They hold up emails at the time discussing the concession takeover as proof the decision wasn’t politically motivated. 

It still begs a question: Why if it was so lucrative in 2008, did the take-over only happen after Vishion’s board run in 2010?

But nonetheless Recreation Director Dan Wiles at the time said the town could make “exponentially more” money than Vishion’s private firm. 

We were skeptical of that claim but at least part of it seems clear now why they made it: Stiffing New York state on property taxes can certainly help pad the bottom line. 

When Vishion, who has remained a board critic since the issue blew up in late 2010, went asking about how his old business was faring under town stewardship things began to unravel. A records request came up with no sales tax receipts.

It was only after Vishion’s records request that red flags were raised at town hall. Not surprisingly, the town began collecting the tax in January.

Text Only
Opinion
  • CONFER:

    April 23, 2014

  • GUEST VIEW: What young people aren't learning in college The results are distressing to say the least. A recent survey found that only 17 percent of college graduates â€" graduates! â€" knew the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation, just 42 percent knew the Battle of the Bulge was fought during World War II, and not even two in five could identify term limits for their senators and representatives.

    April 23, 2014

  • DuVall, Eric mug.jpg DUVALL: In defense of the Common Core

    They've become the two dirtiest words in education, but the Common Core is very much worth defending.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • tucker, barb.jpg TUCKER: Bits and pieces from out and about Ever since it was restored and opened, the Hotel @ Lafayette in downtown Buffalo has fascinated me. Last Monday, the Preservation Buffalo Niagara offered a tour of the hotel led by developer Rocco Termini.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug - adamczyk.jpg ADAMCZYK: Kenmore is a village made of bricks Buffalo and surrounding environs have brick buildings galore, often in the process of repurpose. Whole neighborhoods made of brick await development, redevelopment, gentrification, whatever wand will be waved at them to make them function again. Structures here tend not to be razed; they fall down occasionally but typically simply stand and wait.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • leffler, scott.jpg LEFFLER: Justice is blind -- and deaf and dumb I've always been intrigued by the concept of justice. I say concept because it really seems more theoretical to me than practical. One man's justice is another man's nightmare.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: Don't go soft on teenage criminals

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • DuVall, Eric mug.jpg For Sabres, more suffering is on tap

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • tucker, barb.jpg TUCKER: Taking down trees 'disheartening' Several readers have questioned the City of Tonawanda's tree removal program. An email to Jenna Koch, who represents the third ward and checks into any query on the city, explained the program.


    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug - adamczyk.jpg [Duplicate] ADAMCZYK: Letterman was on my side The announcement that Mr. Letterman is retiring from his groundbreaking television program, sometime in 2015, is already old news, but it gives opportunity to ponder a few truisms about history and modern life.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo