LITIGATION: Frank Parlato Jr. owner of One Niagara, 360 Rainbow Blvd. South, sits in the office building in this 2005 photo. The developer is suing both the city of Niagara Falls and New York state over a May arrest.
A downtown developer filed court documents Friday with both the state of New York and the city of Niagara Falls alleging he was improperly arrested by police in May.
Frank Parlato Jr., owner of the One Niagara, 360 Rainbow Boulevard South, where the Niagara Center operates on the ground floor, said he was never notified of a February court date regarding building code violations.
Missing that appearance led to the issuance of a bench warrant and his eventual arrest three months later.
According to the owner of the former AquaFalls site, a State Parks Police officer identified him inside his property around 12:30 p.m. on May 3 and then called for Niagara Falls police to come make the arrest.
Parlato, who has never been shy about criticizing the state office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation or the New York Power Authority, questions why a State Parks Police officer was involved in pursuing a Niagara Falls City Court bench warrant.
“I smell Albany all over this thing,” Parlato said.
Officials at the State Parks Police were not involved with any arrest of Parlato, according to Maj. Vince Iacovitti.
Niagara Falls Police Superintendent John Chella could not be reached for comment.
Parlato and his attorney Paul Grenga had been involved in proceedings related to three building code violations filed in November. Those charges, which related to sidewalk damage on his property, were added to other city ordinance violations relating to permits for on-site operations.
In January, they requested a court date for the next month, but were never notified of the specific meeting time, Grenga said.
Parlato said his arrest followed a series of opinion columns he wrote that appeared in the Niagara Gazette and were critical of state government.
“I think there’s some people in Albany that were pissed off,” Parlato said.
He plans to commence lawsuits within 30 to 60 days, he added.
His intention, however, is not to make a personal profit.
Parlato said the suit is a matter of principle.
Any monetary damages he may be awarded by the state he will give to the city, he said. He will also refuse to take any damages he may be awarded by the city.
He wants to reverse the trend of what he sees as the state making money off Niagara Falls without helping the people of the city.
And it’s a fight he plans to continue.
“The more people try to stop me, the more determined I get,” Parlato said.