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City Hall still not lending to business

You want the good news or bad news first?

OK, the good news.

The governing board of the Buffalo Economic Renaissance Corp. met earlier this week and did not approve a single grant for a barbershop.

More good news. Kinda.

Mayor Byron Brown, chairman of the BERC board, showed up for the meeting. For five or 10 minutes, anyway. Then he was off. But hey, he put in an appearance, something he doesn't do all that often.

The bad news?

Eric Gadley, who BERC pays about $72,000 a year as its chief lending officer, once again gave a monthly update in which he had no new loans to report.

In fact, BERC has not made a loan since October. That's five months.

I checked our loan database and BERC over the past 12 months has made a grand total of eight loans worth $1.3 million. That works out to a loan every month and a half.

A board member asked Gadley how the loan activity matched up against BERC's goals for the year.

The answer: There are no goals.

This lack of lending has become a trend since Brown took office.

But not to worry. BERC President Dennis Penman said he expected to deliver recommendations to the mayor by the end of the week on how to reform the city's economic development and block grant programs..

If you read this blog on a regular basis, you know all about the plan. It's the one put together by some of the very people who helped create the problems that they have now come up with a plan to solve. Without talking to anyone outside their little circle.

Adam Walters, a BERC board member, made that point when he said: "There is little engagement between the front line people and this (Penman) committee. We have a front line view of what is working and what is not."

Walters also noted that he learned that Penman's committee wants all BERC board members to resign by reading about it in the newspaper.

Walters has reason to be miffed. I mean, the least Penman could have done is call in Donald Trump.




I've got a question about this firing-the-board idea.

The board is self-appointing. If everyone resigns, who appoints?

The mayor?

Hmmmm, wouldn't that be convenient?

Elsewhere during the meeting, another board member -- Tom Kucharski, president of Buffalo Niagara Enterprises -- took a shot at Larry Quinn for the letter he penned with pointed criticism of the Penman committee's recommendations. He termed Quinn's actions "juvenile."

Brave words, considering Quinn has Rob Ray on his payroll, albeit as a broadcaster these days.


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City Hall | Economic Development
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