Monday, August 11, 2014


The chief Poobah of the racetrack and the EDTC was on local radio this morning bragging about the sale of the Fort Erie Racetrack's 388 acres to a Buffalo group headed by Carl Paladino and a couple of collection agency owners.  Lively group that will be.

So, folks, do you remember the recent kerfuffle about a parcel of racetrack land that the town was considering buying?  "Whatever happened to that?" you might ask.  Well, nothing really, except that Jim Thibert had a hissy fit because a couple of members of council said that the proposed acquisition was "bonusing." "Perhaps Jim Thibert did not understand that such an incentive to sweeten the deal for a potential buyer was bonusing," you might say. Oh, but you would be wrong!

Because Jim Thibert knows bonusing.  He knows it so well that he used it as an excuse as to why his EDTC was having trouble luring new businesses and manufacturers. Here is what he said just this past January:

 “With bonusing laws, we also can’t give away free land, free services, or defer taxes, something they can do easily over in New York.”

Thibert said this in his annual profanity-laced apologia to council on the economic state of the Town of Fort Erie. Always quick to blame council, especially this council, Thibert used the incentives offered to businesses in New York State as the reason Fort Erie was dragging behind in attracting new enterprises.

Then, he allegedly tried to use that technique to sweeten the deal with the potential new owners of the racetrack. Fortunately, council did not take the offer, thus avoiding a potential legal problem with the sale.  In fact, El-Ad (Nordic Games) insisted that the parcel not be broken up for sale, so the plan to buy 13 acres on Industrial Drive was never going to be part of the deal.

It didn't stop Jim Thibert from blowing a gasket and suing Ward 5 Councillor Don Lubberts for Conflict of Interest.  Thibert maintained that Lubberts' employer had done electrical work for David Compson, the reputed broker of the deal with the Buffalo group, and that Lubberts was in conflict because of it. Lubberts maintains that he checked with his lawyer and was given the go-ahead to take part in the discussions. Reports have come back that Compson and others were not amused by the lawsuit and apologies were sent around.

So, Thibert has been on a short leash regarding the sale and he was finally able to speak about it early this morning.  Suddenly, Fort Erie is in the midst of a major boon and has become a happening place - all because the Buffalo guys bought the track. OK. Then Thibert went on to talk about the multi-million dollar marina project on the Niagara River and the Canadian Motor Speedway as if they were already done and in operation. (Just like in one of his shiney brochures of a couple of years ago where the Bay Beach Project, the Canadian Motor Speedway, and the marina were included as though they were already running, but the restored Point Abino Light Station was omitted.) 

Guess that was another example of Thibert's selective memory.

Now we know for a fact that Thibert does know bonusing.

Editor's Note: RIP Robin Williams. One of the funniest guys ever.