NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - Now that he's crossed the wire, Nik Wallenda has a few choice words for officials on the American side of the Niagara Falls. The daredevil says his high-profile stunt almost didn't happen.
The cost of the walk totaled more than a million dollars. New York State was relentless with their demands, according to Wallenda, who says they essentially told him to take a walk - right out of their offices. Officials threatened to pull the plug on the event two days before it was scheduled to happen.
Senator George Maziarz acknowledged, "There were some tense moments; everyone was very nervous."
The senator was Wallenda's biggest champion in Albany. But days before the walk, Wallenda and his team still owed the state tens of thousands of dollars.
"The lawyers were having discussions back and forth about the permits, about payments, but overall, was there any chance that this thing was going to get canceled? Never," Maziarz assured.
Wallenda's manager, Winston Simone, turned down News 4's request for an interview on the issue. But he did say it was ABC that ultimately wired the cash. The network's payment was wired to the state, received after the state's deadline. Simone charges the state was very heavy handed with Wallenda and treated him like a criminal.
Niagara Falls State Park spokesperson Angela Berti wouldn't comment on what happened.
"You know this is the oldest state park in the nation. We really want to maintain the integrity of this park. I think as wonderful as this event was, everybody is very anxious to get back to running this as the park that we know and love," she said.
Berti noted the state park didn't make money from the event.
"It was about waking up on Saturday morning and seeing this all over the world and that was the profit we made," she argued. "And the legacy of this walk and the interest that it's sparked in people around the world."
Maziarz concluded, "You know, it was a huge event, it had never been done before. There were some unexpected bumps in the road, but in the end, everything was worked out to everyone's satisfaction."
News 4 also learned Tuesday that Wallenda walked away from Niagara Falls without making a dime, though he could be reimbursed a few thousand dollars from officials on the Canadian side. And thankfully, there was no damage done on the American side, ensuring he won't be facing any additional repair fees.
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