Friday, May 29, 2015


An innovative company 43North has hosted about 150 Canada-based entrepreneurs for a tour of what Western New York has to offer young start-up companies. The guests were impressed, many considering expanding their businesses to Buffalo and Western New York.

Funny, isn't it that Buffalo can attract young business people while the best that Fort Erie's Economic and Tourism Development seems be able to do is prop up a dying seasonal industry and to find a way to get the government to build a NOT-NASCAR raceway. Way to look to the future.

As we watch the eventual decline of Fort Erie into a hapless border town, we can also thank those who have been at the public trough too long. Fortunately, the present council wisely chose Tom Kuchyt as the new CAO despite a very strong campaign by some to appoint the notorious Russ Wilson to the post.

He has certainly earned his notorious label. Years ago, he abruptly left his job at Canada Customs. It was alleged that there was money missing from the office Christmas Fund which was administered by Wilson. No proof but a precedent was set. There were many "shortages" in bingo revenue since Wilson is in charge of Gaming for the town. Fortunately, the OLG has put a stop to that possibility because of widespread abuse of bingo money all through the province. Some familiar names crop up on long-ago documents regarding bingo theft. One local event planner was banned from bingo parlours or any involvement with bingos because of alleged theft.

The Wilson becomes head of Bridges Medical Program. Oops, his treasurer gets caught embezzling over a quarter million dollars and somehow she was able to get away with it for a couple of years and Wilson knew nothing about it. Now there's a guy with his finger on the pulse of his organization. Great experience for CAO. (That is, if you want a CAO who looks the other way while the cupboard is being emptied.) 

Isn't it time for Russ to go off into the sunset and pursue his dream of owning a strip club on the highway? Maybe he could go into the jewelry business with his wife and her old boss, Doug Martin. Or maybe he can try to run for office. He was elected once; then people smartened up. 

I must say that, like Jim Thibert, Russ Wilson is Teflon® coated. No matter how many try to chip away at the veneer, it refuses to break down.