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'09 candidate for supervisor accuses town of harassment ; Comments to board seen as politically motivated

Businessman David J. Mongielo, who lost a bid for town supervisor in 2009, alleged during Wednesday's Town Board meeting that he is being harassed by the town.

"If I had an attorney who would take the case, it would probably be worth $1 million," Mongielo said during the public comment period.

Supervisor Marc R. Smith, who is up for re-election this year, said that it must be political season.

"We have our opponents lining up and saying things that obviously aren't true," he said during the meeting.

Mongielo, who was convicted of violating the town's sign ordinance last year after an unsuccessful attempt to have a court invalidate it, said during the meeting that he was slapped with summonses for allegedly violating town ordinances regarding his swimming pool.

He said that the pool was built in 1973 and that it long predates the regulations he was accused of violating.

Mongielo also accused Smith of attacking him last year via an Internet posting.

Niagara Times, a blog that reflects the views of the county Republican organization, provided a link to a YouTube video featuring Mongielo in which he pretends to be a mentally disabled person.

The blog also accused Mongielo of illegally filling his pool from a town hydrant. Mongielo said Wednesday that "I paid the water bill the next day."

He added, "You're trying to drive me out of this town. It's got to stop, please."

"If you find yourself in Town Court month after month, you're obviously violating town rules," Smith said after the meeting.

Smith also had an exchange with Paul R. Black, a Harding Avenue Extension resident who has criticized the town's 2007 contract regarding the proposed new Lockport YMCA on Snyder Drive.

The fundraising for that seems to have stalled, but if the project is ever completed, the town has a contract with the YMCA to install a parking lot, pave an entrance road and install a walking trail at the site in exchange for 12 acres of land around the building as a town park.

The town has stashed $300,000 in a reserve fund for that work.

Denying he was a political opponent of Smith's, Black said, "I keep coming to the conclusion that it's not in the best interest of the town."

Smith disagreed and said he continues to support the project, which he said the Town Board has backed since 2000, four years before he first took office as a councilman. Smith is now in his third term as supervisor.

The board approved a list of annual appointments Wednesday, including a new seven-year term for Planning Board Chairman Richard R. Forsey and a five-year reappointment for Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Timothy J. Lederhaus.

Councilwoman Cheryl A. Antkowiak will continue for her second year as deputy supervisor, meaning that she will be paid $18,576, twice as much as the other board members.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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