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Labor pains or labor gains for Dyster and high-priced Buffalo lawyers?

Niagara Falls Repoerter

March 29, 2011

By Frank Parlato Jr.

Last week, we reported that big-time Buffalo lawyers are wooing Dyster, and not only taking him to fancy events, but throwing big Buffalo fundraising parties for him.

We wonder why?

The mention of Phillips Lytle attorney Kenneth Manning and the fact of his labor specialty in last week'sReporter made us recall something from Dyster's past as a councilman: His support of Mayor Irene Elia in her attempt to break the fireman's union circa 2002.

Dyster's choice of Manning -- or is it Manning's choice of Dyster? -- is interesting.

Manning has raised thousands for Dyster this year.

He is a top-notch attorney.

According to Phillips Lytle's website, "Mr. Manning has experience in bet-the-company corporate and commercial litigation, including dissolution proceedings and employment termination disputes. ... Mr. Manning also has experience in challenges to governmental actions, including taxes and assessments, as well as actions for declaratory relief."

In short, this top-shelf lawyer can bust a union with his bare fists, fight a wrongful termination, and hang a poor man from the sour apple tree who might have a claim -- valid or otherwise.

If I were a fireman, I would be a tad bit concerned right about now.

Consider: Irene Elia was mayor from 2000 to 2003.

During that time, she crossed swords repeatedly with labor.

She crossed swords big-time with city firefighters.

Things became intense and heated, so she called upon the law firm Roemer, Wallens & Mineaux, of Albany, to take care of the problematic firemen. It is believed she spent over $200,000 with the firm. She lost, but the law firm went away sadder but richer.

A typical Niagara Falls story, by the way.

But Phillip Lytle are local, and in some people's estimation far more pugnacious than the faraway boys at Roemer, Wallens & Mineaux, of Albany, who collected handsome fees, but did not know the terrain.

At the time, City Councilman Dyster supported Elia's attempt to, as some said, "screw" the firemen. In fact, Dyster pretty much voted with Elia time and again on just about anything she wanted.

He was her poodle.

Fast forward to the 2007 mayoral race.

Dyster's campaign launched a notorious whispering campaign against his primary opponent, Lewis "Babe" Rotella, that went something like this: If Rotella gets elected, he is going to close one fire station, lay off firemen, and cut the pay of those who remain.

There was no truth to this, but it worked, and the firemen lined up for Dyster. Many firemen forgot about Dyster's puppy-dog loyalty to Elia, her anti-labor past and the Roemer episode.

With the 2011 mayor's race looming, it is a good time to remind everyone -- perhaps particularly firemen -- about Dyster's past: how he tried to help Elia unhinge the firemen and their union in 2002, how he backed anti-labor Elia at every turn, and how he and his campaign people bad-mouthed Rotella and fooled or tried to fool firemen in order to gain their support.

Is there any truth to the rumor that Dyster is hanging with Kenneth Manning of Phillips Lytle because Manning can help him with his anti-labor plans with regard to city unions?

Speaking of firemen, his best choice for the leader of the Fire Department was the disgraced and chronically unemployed Roger Melchior.

A fine selection, that.

The deal went sideways after Melchior imploded.

What did Dyster have in mind with that selection anyway?

Why did he overlook locals like the eminently qualified Nick Vilardo, who wanted the job?

In the end, Dyster is a Kennedyesque "DINO" ... Democrat In Name Only.

I don't believe there is a blue-collar Dyster family member anywhere to be found, and if he/she does exist, they probably don't get invited to the family reunion.



  Copyright © 2008 Frank Parlato Jr.