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Francine and brother John cook up cozy deal with Seneca Gaming Corp.

December 16 , 2008

By Frank Parlato Jr.

I am not sure I understand the difference between Francine Del Monte getting her brother a lucrative job with the Seneca Gaming Corp. and her, simultaneously, championing of Seneca rights to monopolize our town — and what Vince Anello did with Joe Anderson, which got the latter two in serious trouble.

Francine Delmonte

For Del Monte, economic development begins at home.

Anello and Anderson were charged with “scheming to deprive the citizens of the honest services of a government official,” a felony.
The stakes are higher however with the Del Montes than with Anello-Anderson.
The facts are these: Back in 2001, Del Monte, at first, wavered in her endorsement of the casino compact that gave the Seneca Nation of Indians the right to open a casino and any tax-free business they cared to open in the heart of downtown Niagara Falls.
She was, in effect, the pivotal person, since she was the only state representative who had a majority of constituents within and immediately around Niagara Falls.
Niagara Falls business owners are amongst the highest taxed in the USA and the plan was that they were to compete with a tax-free nation right next door that would also have a gambling monopoly.
The critical swaying vote at the time was Del Monte’s.
But she was brought on board.
Del Monte, among others, championed a plan that made Seneca superior in legal rights to Americans living in Niagara Falls. She later went on to offer strong vocal support to a measure that outlawed cigarette smoking in mom-and-pop taverns and restaurants, a restriction that drove even more customers to the casino complex, where smoking is permitted in the various bars and eateries.
Perhaps, it was, in part, because Seneca gave her brother and campaign manager, John Del Monte, a six-figure job.
While Francine championed Seneca superiority, John got the contract to write the Seneca casino’s employment manual, which states, among other things, that any time a Seneca wants the job of an American employed at the casino, or at any of their tax-free stores or hotel, a Seneca may take that job from the American employee.
According to the Del Monte-authored Seneca manual, an American employee has no recourse in either Seneca Peacekeepers court or American courts.
People employed there must agree to this condition.
Seneca wanted to make sure any time their own people wanted any job, they could simply take it and they wanted no complaints from American employees.
Some nations take care of their own.
So John went to work to write the manual for Seneca. While Francine supported the Seneca compact.
John and Francine did so well for Seneca that John also became Seneca’s debt collector.
Americans who got into debt with Seneca by gambling too much were often encouraged to sign promissory notes, or, in some case, actual mortgages on their homes — so they could, in the heat of the moment, often at night, right on the spot — continue gambling with Seneca in their casino.
After all, their luck might turn.
Usually it didn’t, and people put up their houses and pledged their borrowing capacity in order to take another spin at the wheel or continue in their slot machine addiction a little longer.
In their flushed heat, losing money madly and rapidly and without reckoning the true cost to their families and their fortunes, that, that is when Seneca — like all good gambling houses — strike, while the perspiration is still wet, and they get the mad, sad gambling addict to foolishly sign some paper — anything, a mortgage, a promissory note, any written acknowledgement of debt.
Otherwise credit-worthy people — in a fit of gambling passion — can be ruined in a few hours or minutes even. And since they came to the casino with limited cash or credit cards in their pocket it is Seneca’s job to get these credit-worthy gambling addicts to continue gambling (in effect, to ruin them) and, if they have assets — ply them with free drinks and get them to sign their house away or put a mortgage on it, or agree to sign over their bank accounts with a promissory note.
If the people, who, in the aftermath of the madness of their gambling addiction pay up nice and easy, fine. Seneca collects. Seneca is glad to take.
But — if they do not — who do you think they get to do their legal collection?
John Del Monte.
The assemblywoman’s brother arranges collection: He files judgments, sues Americans, helps initiate foreclosures to take their homes away. Interestingly: He uses American courts, not the tribal ones.
It’s business. Sure.
And John gets paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to do it.
You see, Francine takes care of her own.
One problem only: Her own are not the people who elected her.
She has championed her fight to get Seneca tax-free status and a casino here.
On her N.Y. State assembly Web site, she lists her bringing the casino here as one of her signal accomplishments.
But then Francine has a track record of helping herself and ignoring her constituents. That’s her accomplishment: She helped her brother get rich.
Today, Vince Anello faces four felony counts for getting $40,000 and endorsing an, ultimately, losing venture for Anderson — the East Mall.
Del Monte got a six-figure contract for her brother, who, in turn, invested his time and some of his money into her campaign. He could spend the time since he had an easy gig with Seneca.
They don’t push him too hard.
The Seneca are smart; they know how to buy influence.
What better way than hiring the Assemblywoman’s brother in the district where you operate?
An ethical elected official might have turned away from such seeming impropriety.
A good man might not participate in the fleecing of poor souls who are victims of gambling addiction. He might not make his money from gambling addicts suckered into a moral malaise that ruins families and deprives children.
The N.Y. Constitution makes gambling illegal in N.Y. State for that reason.
Gambling addiction is one of the reasons why N.Y. banned gambling. Plain and simple.
Francine Del Monte feathered her family’s nest and never yet has publicly discussed it with the taxpayers. She got her brother a lucrative job with the people she brought to town and who are now in a legally advantageous position over us.
While she boasts about how she represents our city.
Poor Anello — he is nearly destitute and working odd jobs as an electrician.
Lucky Francine: Since endorsing Seneca, she moved out of her modest home — a home not unlike the people she represents in Niagara Falls — to a lavish home on River Road in Lewiston.
Brother John drives an expensive Mercedes and lives in a mansion in Grand Island.

Delmonte's House

A sign of how Del Monte operates: Her palatial estate on Lower River Road in Lewiston (above) and a house in Niagara Falls’ inner city (below) bearing her campaign sign.

Delmont's Campaign Sign

Not bad for a brother-sister team that grew up in the humble neighborhoods of the people she pretends to represent.

Delmonte's Mercedes Benz

While admiring Francine Del Monte’s Lewiston estate and her brother’s foreign luxury car, the reader might ask, “What has Assemblywoman Del Monte done for my family?”

In 2007, Assemblywoman Francine Del Monte wrote of herself that her “most significant economic development accomplishment was helping to bring the Seneca Niagara Casino to Niagara Falls.”
She was right. It helped her brother and possibly her develop economically by leaps and bounds.
Unfortunately, as the city grows more depressed, especially in the area surrounding the casino — where no business can operate and compete against a tax-free mini Seneca city — the economic advantages for the rest of us are a little hard to cipher.

Frank Parlato Jr. can be reached at



  Copyright © 2008 Frank Parlato Jr.