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Back-and-forth on Brand-On

By Jill Terreri

The disagreement between the city and Brand-On Services over what the company owes under its contract to operate the Erie Basin Marina continues, and a deadline is looming. 

Tomorrow is the deadline for Brand-On to pay its invoice with the city, for $343,245. The company, run by the Wolasz family, has disputed that amount, and said it only owes $27,412. A meeting last week between the parties did not resolve the matter. 

The Common Council has urged that a compromise be reached, but that has not happened yet. Legal action by the city to recover the funds is possible. 

Meanwhile, the Department of Public Works is bidding out the contract for a new vendor to operate it in 2014. 

Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder's office found that the company had deducted rent payments that were not allowed under the contract, as well as other irregularities, in a recent audit. A lawyer for Brand-On, Mark Carney, has said that the company had agreements with city personnel to perform maintenance work and deduct the cost from its rent, and that the work was performed at the direction of the city. The comptroller insists that the contract can only be modified by the Common Council, and cannot be amended by an agreement with City Hall staff.

In a letter to Rene Wolasz, Brand-On president, Schroeder scolds her husband, Michael Wolasz, who was a city employee until 2012, for conducting marina work on his city email account at a time when he was working for the city, according to his city timesheet, which the comptroller's office reviewed. The letter was also sent to the city's top lawyer, Tim Ball.   

 

Schroeder Response to Brand-On.pdf

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City of Buffalo | city spending | Common Council | Mark Schroeder
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Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

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Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

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Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | [email protected]


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | [email protected]

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