By Jill Terreri
Niagara Metals has indeed hired a firm headed by former Buffalo Mayor Anthony Masiello, according to a contract on file with the state's lobbying commission, and posted below.
Last week, Niagara Metals declined to confirm that they had hired Masiello, or be interviewed by The Buffalo News. Masiello didn't return calls for a story on his lobbying efforts on behalf of the company, but they were confirmed by North Council Member Joseph Golombek, who represents the area.
Niagara Metals operates in the southwest corner of Elmwood and Hertel, a half-mile from the former Auto City auto wrecking yard, where another scrap metal dealer is hoping to open its doors.
An intense lobbying effort from both companies is underway, and the matter was the subject of a Common Council committee meeting last week, when Kim Weitsman, president of Ben Weitsman and Son of Buffalo, fielded lawmakers' questions.
Ben Weitsman and Son is a sister company to Upstate Shredding, owned by Kim's husband, Adam. The company is named for Adam's grandfather. The business has 11 locations and annual sales of $650 million, according to the company web site. The company's interest in Buffalo is related to its proximity to Canada, Kim Weitsman has said.
A signed agreement dated June 25, 2012, shows that Todd Levin, owner and operator of Niagara Metals, also known as North Buffalo Enterprises, LLC, has agreed to hire Masiello, Martucci, Calabrese and Associates for a year at a cost of $30,000 plus expenses, effective July 1. The contract is to be paid in monthly installments of $2,500.
Ben Weitsman and Son of Buffalo, meanwhile, has hired Park Strategies, LLC, at a cost of $5,000 per month. Former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra is a Park Strategies vice president and has been making calls on the Weitsmans' behalf.
A signed agreement from Aug. 1, between Kim Weitsman and Park Strategies, LLC, shows that their contract started Aug. 1 and lasts until Jan. 31.
All such contracts must be filed with the state, even in the case of lobbying mayors and city councils.
The proposed new scrap metal business, which would be located at 409 Hertel Ave., will be reviewed by the Planning Board on Dec. 18. The Council is not expected to take any action until then, Golombek said today.