Thu September 12, 2013
Buffalo comptroller says waterfront operator owes city nearly $350k
Comptroller Mark Schroeder says the company that runs key elements of Buffalo's waterfront has shorted the city $343,245 over the last five years.
The company, Brand-On Services, runs The Hatch restaurant, the Erie Basin Marina, and gasoline sales to boats. The comptroller says the city has been shorted in each area. There is also an issue of 20,000 gallons of gasoline the company received which is unaccounted for, according to the Democratic fiscal watchdog.
Schroeder says the shortfalls turned up in an audit as the city prepares to spend $2 million improving The Hatch.
"There has been an infusion of money over the years. We believe there is a responsibility, when there is a contract, [that] the operators should act accordingly. They haven't. They owe us $350,000 and we are requesting immediate payback," Schroeder said Thursday afternoon.
Brand-On Services is refusing comment. The company also does work for the State Power Authority and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation.
Schroeder says his auditors looked at the cash registers for the Hatch. He says the city should have received $44,000 more just from food sales.
"Our findings is that they are underreporting sales and when they are reporting sales, they're doing it using the wrong calculations, which we figured out [and] identified in the audit report," Schroeder said.
The city is moving to install new operators for all three services, possibly all different. Brand-On also operates the City Hall Cafeteria under an agreement which is expiring. The city is looking for a new operator there, as well.