Former city engineer Curtis says DeSantis profits from train station

 

 

 

Was city Planner Tom DeSantis’ longstanding desire to build a new train station in the city’s North End driven by any actual need for a new facility or by something else?

Is his relationship with Wendel Duchscherer Architects and Engineers merely a professional alliance or something more dark and sinister?

3708c8a

Former City Engineer Robert Curtis claims Senior Planner Thomas DeSantis is on the take in the building of the train station.

 

Former city engineer Robert Curtis brought these questions out into the open over the weekend with a series of posts on Ken Hamilton’s Niagara Community Forum Facebook page, where he implied that DeSantis was on the take.

When another commentator remarked that the only one who would benefit from the train station project is the contractor building it, Curtis jumped in with both boots.

“And Wendel Engineering, and whatever kickbacks the planner got during this fifteen year or more design process,” he wrote.

Curtis went on to say that, once the train station was complete, DeSantis would likely find employment with Wendel.

“And a guaranteed part time position at full time pay when he retires from the city,” he wrote. “You name the amount of bet and I’ll take it! He’s already traveled the world as a ‘outside consultant’ on their dime.”

 

desantis

Senior Planner Thomas DeSantis declined comment on whether he had any hidden motivation for the push for a $44 million train station that is clearly overbuilt and far more expensive than needed for Niagara Falls.

Reached at his City Hall office this week, DeSantis said he had nothing to say about Curtis’s allegations.

“I’m not going to comment on anything he says,” he told the Reporter, a reaction Curtis found unsurprising.

“He has no defense,” Curtis said.

Repeated attempts to reach Mayor Paul Dyster for comment about Curtis’ allegations were unsuccessful.

The 20,000-square-foot, $44 million train station is designed to accommodate 300 passengers per day. Amtrak is currently averaging 68 passengers per day in Niagara Falls.

While the facility will be ready to open in May, the city does not have a contract with Amtrak (see related story) or anyone else to actually use it.

Curtis, who served as city engineer prior to Dyster’s election, said the entire burden of operating the new station will be placed squarely on the shoulders of Niagara Falls taxpayers.

“I sat in on negotiations, years ago, with them,” he said. “They said ‘We don’t pay rent, if you want us to stop in your city, provide us somewhere to stop, if not we will be happy to pass right by.’”

Currently, Amtrak uses a former warehouse near 27th Street off Lockport Road for its’ station. As things stand right now, the railroad is under no obligation to move anywhere else, although Curtis said that structural problems with the Whirlpool Bridge used by the railroad could force a switch.

“The (Whirlpool) bridge is in need of major repairs, and the contract with CSX Canada requires CSX to provide a majority of the funds for repairs,” Curtis said. “CSX only uses the bridge once a week to pick up empties at the NF rail yard. They have said they can switch their operations to the International bridge in Buffalo with minor disruption to their operation. They basically told Transportation Ontario they will no longer fund anything to do with (the Whirlpool) bridge.”

Amtrak has also considered a move away from Niagara Falls, which is one of the least used stations in the state, Curtis told the Reporter.

“I believe Amtrak was looking into how they could switch to the International bridge also but the customs issue becomes a problem because a train station would need to be built in Buffalo for that purpose,” he said.

Given Amtrak’s lack of interest in the new train station and Niagara Falls in general, what could have been the motivation behind Dyster and DeSantis’s push to spend $44 million to build a new train station?

Since the project got underway in 2010, DeSantis has frequently appeared at various places at the same time as engineers from Wendel. In fact, the planned train station’s design team was led by DeSantis, the city’s project manager, and Susan Sherwood of Wendel, project manager assigned to lead and coordinate the design of the station.

Susan_Sherwood_Professional.55cb7bcfea7d3

Susan Sherwood of Wendel traveled with Thomas DeSantis to talk about train stations. She denies that DeSantis ever got anything from her company which has made millions on what appears to be a wholly unnecessary train station.

 

In 2012, DeSantis’ name appears in connection with the Bus and Paratransit Conference in Long Beach, California. Sherwood was also at the conference. According to the published schedule for the conference DeSantis and Sherwood were to give a presentation on “Green Goals & Initiatives” for transit agencies.

According to the website for the event, DeSantis was listed not as senior planner for the City of Niagara Falls, but as an associate of Wendell Engineers of Amherst.

Also in 2012, DeSantis and Sherwood were scheduled to appear at a rail conference in Dallas, Texas, on “LEED, FTA and SHPO: A Case Study of the Niagara Falls Intermodal Transportation Center, Niagara Falls, NY.” Sherwood was unable to attend. Together they wrote a paper called the “Adaptive Reuse of a Historic Structure in the Development of a New Rail Passenger Station and U.S. Port of Entry” which was presented to the conference.

This past September, both DeSantis and Sherwood attended a $250-a-seat fundraiser for Dyster.

Repeated attempts to reach Sherwood for this article were unsuccessful but, in a previous interview on the subject, she denied that DeSantis had ever received any monetary compensation from Wendel.

Thus far, Wendel has received more than $3 million from the city for services related to the train station project.

DeSantis was first hired by the city in 1988. He is the city’s senior planner who oversees municipal land use planning; the city’s Planning Board, the Historic Preservation Commission, GIS services and is the city’s Policy and Coordinating Committee representative for the Greater Buffalo Niagara Transportation Council. DeSantis also manages grants for projects and is an adjunct professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo in the School of Architecture and Regional Planning.

In an interview with the Niagara Falls Reporter, Curtis questioned DeSantis’ relationship with Wendel and with the University of Buffalo.

“How many hours has he billed the city payroll while doing work as adjunct prof at UB?” he asked. “How much in city resources go to that UB position?”

Curtis described his relationship with DeSantis as strained during the time he served as city engineer.

“I learned to just say no when he walked into my office, before he could say a word,” he said.

Curiously Curtis was fired on day one of Mayor Dyster’s first term [2008] just as the city commenced building the $46 million courthouse. Dyster built the courthouse without the benefit of a city engineer as costs exploded.

Dyster later hired and fired three more city engineers.

Most of the time Dyster has been in office the city was been without a city engineer — as projects went over budget  and street reconstruction was done improperly.

The Lewiston Rd reconstruction, which Wendel supervised, almost doubled in price – yet Wendel was paid millions as they billed by the hour.

Dyster fired the last city engineer, Jeffrey Skurka, just prior to building the $44 million train station. DeSantis’ brother, Michael DeSantis, although not a licensed engineer, stepped in and is overseeing construction.

Wendel’s Sherwood co-supervises construction of the train station under a construction management contract.

 

101 Comments

  1. Perhaps Preet Bharara could look into the many interesting city activities.

  2. So,hudson,What was your relationship with Steve Pigeon about?

  3. Lou Ricciuti says:

    According to one of the original contractors on this project (Resetaris Co.), another driving factor was the nuclear contamination found on the site but never spoken of. They were told to remove & dispose of it quietly, “or else.” The contractor said that dealing with the city on this project was “like dealing with the Mafia.” Their words, not mine.

  4. Pretty! This has been an incredibly wonderful article.
    Many thanks for providing this info.

  5. Howdy! Would you mind if I share your blog with my zynga
    group? There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content.
    Please let me know. Thanks

  6. Hi there everyone, it’s my first pay a visit at this web site, and article is truly fruitful in favor of me,
    keep up posting these types of content.

  7. Normally I don’t learn article on blogs, but I
    would like to say that this write-up very compelled me to try and do so!
    Your writing style has been surprised me. Thank you,
    quite nice post.

  8. Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found
    that it is really informative. I’m going to watch out for brussels.
    I will appreciate if you continue this in future.
    Lots of people will be benefited from your writing.
    Cheers!

  9. I’m not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic.

    I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding
    more. Thanks for magnificent information I was looking for this info for my mission.

  10. Some really fantastic info , Sword lily I noticed this.

  11. With havin so much content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or
    copyright infringement? My website has a lot of unique content
    I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is
    popping it up all over the web without my permission. Do you know any ways to help stop content from being ripped off?
    I’d certainly appreciate it.

  12. Fantastic beat ! I would like to apprentice at the same time as you amend your site, how could i subscribe for a weblog site?

    The account aided me a acceptable deal. I have been tiny bit familiar of this your
    broadcast provided vivid transparent idea

  13. This text is priceless. When can I find out more?

  14. I’ll immediately seize your rss as I can’t find your email subscription hyperlink or newsletter service.
    Do you’ve any? Kindly permit me recognise so that I may subscribe.

    Thanks.

  15. Hello everyone, it’s my first visit at this website, and piece of writing is genuinely
    fruitful for me, keep up posting such articles or reviews.

  16. Hey there! Do you know if they make any plugins to safeguard against hackers?
    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on. Any recommendations?

  17. Great website you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any user discussion forums that
    cover the same topics talked about here? I’d really like to be a part of group where I can get advice from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest.
    If you have any recommendations, please let me know.
    Thank you!

  18. all of my kids enjoy the park and rides in Disney World, disney really knows how to please kids`

  19. Useful info. Fortunate me I discovered your web site accidentally, and
    I’m stunned why this twist of fate did not took place earlier!
    I bookmarked it.

  20. At this time it seems like Drupal is the best blogging
    platform out there right now. (from what I’ve read) Is
    that what you are using on your blog?

  21. I’m not sure exactly why but this web site is loading extremely slow for me.
    Is anyone else having this problem or is it a problem on my end?
    I’ll check back later and see if the problem still exists.

  22. If some one needs expert view on the topic of running a
    blog afterward i advise him/her to pay a quick visit this blog, Keep up the fastidious work.

  23. That is really interesting, You are an overly
    professional blogger. I’ve joined your rss feed and look ahead to
    seeking more of your magnificent post. Additionally, I’ve shared your
    website in my social networks

  24. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.
    I don’t know who you are but certainly you’re
    going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

  25. Hello there! This article couldn’t be written much better!
    Reading through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!

    He constantly kept preaching about this. I most certainly will send this
    information to him. Fairly certain he’ll have a good read.

    I appreciate you for sharing!

  26. Thank you, I have just been looking for info approximately this subject for a long time and yours is the best I’ve came upon so
    far. However, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you certain about the source?

  27. My brother recommended I may like this website.
    He was totally right. This put up actually made my day.
    You can not consider just how a lot time I had spent for this info!
    Thanks!

  28. Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after browsing through some of the posts I realized it’s new
    to me. Anyways, I’m definitely delighted I stumbled upon it
    and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back often!

  29. I blog quite often and I genuinely thank you for your information. Your article has truly peaked my interest.
    I’m going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new
    information about once per week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.

  30. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about interest problems.
    Regards

  31. Hello! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading through
    your articles. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same topics?
    Thanks a lot!

  32. WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for ipod nano downlaods

  33. Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my apple ipad
    and tested to see if it can survive a twenty five foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation.
    My apple ipad is now destroyed and she has
    83 views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  34. I am really inspired with your writing skills and also with the layout
    on your blog. Is that this a paid subject matter or
    did you modify it your self? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a
    great weblog like this one these days..

  35. Hi there to all, it’s really a nice for me to pay a visit this
    web site, it includes valuable Information.

  36. If some one desires expert view on the topic of blogging then i advise him/her to visit this website, Keep up the pleasant
    work.

  37. Hello mates, nice piece of writing and fastidious urging
    commented at this place, I am actually enjoying by these.

  38. My coder is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP.
    I have always disliked the idea because of
    the expenses. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using WordPress on a variety of websites for about
    a year and am anxious about switching to another platform.
    I have heard good things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I
    can import all my wordpress content into it? Any help
    would be really appreciated!

  39. My spouse and I stumbled over here coming from a different web address and thought I should check things
    out. I like what I see so now i’m following you.

    Look forward to looking at your web page repeatedly.

  40. Hello There. I discovered your blog the use of msn. That is
    a really neatly written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to learn extra of
    your helpful info. Thank you for the post. I’ll certainly return.

  41. It’s amazing in support of me to have a web page, which is
    useful for my knowledge. thanks admin

  42. I was able to find good info from your blog articles.

  43. Unquestionably believe that which you stated.
    Your favorite justification appeared to be on the web the simplest thing to be aware
    of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while people think about worries
    that they just don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also
    defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people can take a signal.

    Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  44. Appreciate this post. Let me try it out.

  45. Pretty element of content. I simply stumbled upon your website and in accession capital
    to claim that I get actually enjoyed account your blog posts.
    Anyway I will be subscribing in your augment or even I
    fulfillment you get entry to persistently quickly.

  46. An impressive share! I have just forwarded this
    onto a coworker who has been conducting a little homework
    on this. And he in fact ordered me dinner due to the fact that I discovered it
    for him… lol. So let me reword this….
    Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to talk about this topic here on your
    web site.

  47. Definitely imagine that which you said. Your favorite reason seemed to be on the internet the easiest factor
    to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while other people think about worries
    that they just don’t know about. You controlled to hit
    the nail upon the highest and defined out the whole thing without having side
    effect , other people could take a signal.
    Will probably be back to get more. Thank you

  48. This paragraph is actually a pleasant one it helps new internet visitors, who are wishing for blogging.

  49. I just couldn’t go away your site before suggesting that I really enjoyed the standard info a person provide on your guests?
    Is gonna be again incessantly in order to check out new posts

  50. This is a topic that’s close to my heart… Best wishes!
    Exactly where are your contact details though?

  51. Amazing! Its actually amazing post, I have got much clear idea regarding from this post.

  52. hello!,I love your writing so so much! percentage we be in contact
    more about your article on AOL? I require an expert on this house to solve
    my problem. Maybe that’s you! Taking a look forward to peer you.

  53. I like the valuable information you provide in your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly.
    I’m quite sure I will learn a lot of new stuff right here!
    Good luck for the next!

  54. Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

  55. Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it’s really informative.
    I’m gonna watch out for brussels. I will be grateful if you continue this in future.
    Many people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  56. Attractive portion of content. I just stumbled upon your weblog and
    in accession capital to claim that I acquire actually enjoyed account
    your weblog posts. Anyway I will be subscribing in your feeds and even I fulfillment you
    get entry to consistently fast.

  57. Hi there, I enjoy reading all of your post. I wanted to write a little comment to support you.

  58. Simply want to say your article is as amazing. The clearness in your post is just excellent and
    i could assume you’re an expert on this subject.
    Fine with your permission let me to grab your feed to keep
    updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the rewarding work.

  59. Nice weblog here! Also your website loads up fast!
    What host are you the usage of? Can I am getting
    your associate link on your host? I desire my site loaded up as quickly
    as yours lol

  60. Hello would you mind letting me know which webhost you’re working with?
    I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different browsers and I must say
    this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you suggest a good
    internet hosting provider at a honest price? Many thanks, I appreciate
    it!

  61. It’s remarkable to go to see this web page and reading the views of all
    mates regarding this post, while I am also zealous of getting
    experience.

  62. I really like what you guys tend to be up too. This sort of clever work and exposure!
    Keep up the excellent works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to blogroll.

  63. SiPKXt skills so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  64. I used to be able to find good info from your content.

  65. I always spent my half an hour to read this weblog’s articles or reviews
    daily along with a cup of coffee.

  66. There is definately a lot to find out about this issue.
    I like all of the points you have made.

  67. What i don’t realize is actually how you’re no longer actually much
    more neatly-liked than you may be now. You are very intelligent.
    You already know therefore significantly when it comes
    to this subject, made me personally imagine it from numerous various angles.
    Its like women and men aren’t interested except it is one thing to do
    with Lady gaga! Your personal stuffs outstanding.
    Always care for it up!

  68. I like it when individuals get together and share ideas.

    Great website, continue the good work!

  69. Greetings from California! I’m bored to death at
    work so I decided to browse your website on my iphone during lunch break.
    I enjoy the info you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.
    I’m shocked at how quick your blog loaded on my phone ..
    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, fantastic site!

  70. In my country we don at get any of this kind of article. Need to search around the globe for such quality stuff. I congratulate your effort. Keep it up!

  71. This article is truly a pleasant one it helps new the web people, who
    are wishing for blogging.

  72. Viagra Schweiz [url=http://cialgeneri.com ]cheap cialis[/url] Cialis Non Agisce Cialis Reflusso Gastroesofageo No Prescription Levothyroxine Discount

  73. Amazing! Its actually amazing post, I have got much clear idea regarding from this piece of writing.

  74. That is a very good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate information Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!

  75. Wow! This could be one particular of the most helpful blogs We ave ever arrive across on this subject. Actually Wonderful. I am also a specialist in this topic so I can understand your hard work.

  76. Wow, great blog.Much thanks again. Much obliged.

  77. Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your content seem to
    be running off the screen in Opera. I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to
    do with web browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know.
    The design and style look great though! Hope you get the issue fixed soon. Many thanks

  78. This very blog is obviously educating and besides diverting. I have found a lot of handy stuff out of this amazing blog. I ad love to go back over and over again. Cheers!

  79. Just discovered this site through Yahoo, what a pleasant shock!

  80. Thanks for your personal marvelous posting!

    I actually enjoyed reading it, you happen to be a great author.I will remember to bookmark
    your blog and definitely will come back later on. I want to
    encourage that you continue your great job, have a nice weekend!

  81. Magnificent beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your site, how can i subscribe for a blog site?

    The account helped me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny
    bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear
    idea

  82. Say, you got a nice blog post.Much thanks again. Want more.

  83. Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this article and also the rest of the website is extremely good.

  84. It’s appropriate time to make a few plans for the longer term and
    it is time to be happy. I have learn this
    submit and if I may just I want to suggest you few attention-grabbing things or advice.
    Perhaps you could write subsequent articles
    regarding this article. I want to read even more things approximately it!

  85. You should be a part of a contest for one of the most useful
    sites on the web. I will highly recommend this site!

  86. Good info. Lucky me I ran across your website by accident (stumbleupon).
    I have saved as a favorite for later!

  87. Hi there, after reading this amazing post i am also delighted to share my experience here with mates.

  88. You made some nice points there. I did a search on the subject matter and found most people will agree with your website.

  89. Many thanks for sharing this good post. Very inspiring! (as always, btw)

  90. Really appreciate you sharing this post.Really thank you! Great.

  91. Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up and the rest of the website is also really good.

  92. Yay google is my king assisted me to find this great site!. Don at rule out working with your hands. It does not preclude using your head. by Andy Rooney.

  93. The best approach for the men which you can understand more about today.

  94. This unique blog is really awesome and also factual. I have found helluva interesting tips out of this source. I ad love to return over and over again. Cheers!

  95. simply shared this helpful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this.

  96. Lovely just what I was looking for.Thanks to the author for taking his clock time on this one.

  97. this, such as you wrote the e book in it or something.

  98. Wow, marvelous blog layout! How long have you been running a blog for? you made running a blog look easy. The overall glance of your site is excellent, as well as the content material!

  99. Wow, superb blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is magnificent, as well as the content!

  100. Amoxicillin Manufacture [url=http://cialgeneri.com]online pharmacy[/url] Pastillas Para Ereccion

  101. Sensible stuff, I look forward to reading more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK

https://www.facebook.com/NiagaraReporter/
 
Scroll Up.wpzoom (color:black;}