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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Group Calls for Investigation into
Niagara Falls Ferry Deal

Niagara Falls, NY -- The Niagara Preservation Coalition (NPC), a not-for-profit organization comprised of Niagara-Falls-area citizens alarmed over a controversial "re-calculated" tourism ferry boat contract that it says would damage the local environment, destroy one of the most significant historical artifacts left in New York State, and cheat taxpayers out of up to $100 million in revenue, today called upon State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to investigate the contract process.

At issue is a no-bid state contract NPC says is "being rushed through to the benefit of Niagara Falls ferry boat operator 'Maid of the Mist.' which plans to raze or alter a significant portion of the Schoellkopf Power Station, an historic waterfront property that was in the process of being granted federal landmark status as recently as 12 months ago for its cultural and archaeological significance due to its importance in the history of the advent of alternating electric current technology." Other qualified ferry operators, including an operator that recently won the contract on the Canadian side of the Falls, have offered up to $100 million more in revenue to taxpayers for the license to ferry local visitors around the Falls, with no need for environmentally hazardous and archaeologically destructive construction on the New York side, according to NPC.

"Citizens who care about Niagara Falls -- its history, its natural beauty, and the revenue that this wonder generates for the region -- are sending an SOS today to State Comptroller DiNapoli and Attorney General Schneiderman," said NPC founder and president Lou Ricciuti, a past board of director member and trustee of the Niagara Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau and a noted environmental researcher and author. "Niagara Falls -- not Maid of the Mist -- is the national icon, and, as such, it demands transparency in every area of its operations. What we are seeing instead is a shady contract process that reeks of backroom politics."

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