BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The Erie Basin Marina is one of the Queen City's crown jewels, but a scathing report from the Buffalo City Comptroller has revealed it isn't paying its bills.
Mark Schroeder completed an audit and found the Erie Basin Marina and Hatch Restaurant have not paid all of their bills, and now city officials are asking the company to pay up or else they may seek new owners.
According to the comptroller, the company, Brand-On Services, underpaid the city more than $343,000 from 2008 to 2012, incurring the most debt in 2008.
"Clearly this is something that isn't beneficial to the citizens of Buffalo," Schroeder said.
The city's lease agreement requires Brand-On Services to pay rent based on the sales of items like food, beverage and fuel. Schroeder said the company did maintenance in the marina and Hatch Restaurant, but deducted the costs from their rent payments.
Comptroller Executive Assistant Patrick Curry said, "There's a routine maintenance that's part of this agreement, anything that they do or claim that they do above and beyond that, if it's not a part of the agreement they should have sought Common Council's approval."
The comptroller also says the company had discrepancies in the amount they paid for fuel. The company is supposed to pay 10 percent of all fuel sales, but they paid ten cents for each gallon. And Schroeder says Brand-On Services hasn't accounted for 20,000 gallons of gasoline and did not calculate the base sales using the proper rates.
"The cash register and their daily sales summary said one thing and what they told the city they sold was a different number," Curry said.
Schroeder says company is expected to pay all of the money back by the end of the 2013 season. If they don't, they could be replaced.
"In the audit we're very clear about it, a termination of the contract at the end of the season. The terms of the contract have been violated at the expense of the taxpayer," Schroeder said.
Public Works Commissioner Steve Stepniak says vendor proposal requests for the Erie Basin Marina and Hatch Restaurant will go out on October 1. He says to avoid any confusion in the future, he is going to separate who runs the marina and who runs the restaurant.
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