Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo says that her administration had nothing to do with county GOP boss Bill Reilich’s claim that Irondequoit's I-Square development is struggling. Whether the public buys her proclamation is another matter.
The whole brouhaha started when Reilich took a swipe at former Irondequoit Supervisor Adam Bello, a Democrat, who was sworn in as county clerk last week. In an attempt to paint Bello as a bad leader, Reilich said that "financial woes are already apparent as I-Square is failing.” In later statements, he claimed that I-Square hasn’t lived up its end of a tax incentive agreement administered by the Monroe County Industrial Development Agency.
COMIDA backed Reilich up in documents sent to local media: a statement from COMIDA board chair Theresa Mazullo and a memo from the agency’s attorney. Mike and Wendy Nolan, owners of I-Square, defended their business and questioned why allegations that they weren’t meeting the terms of the incentive agreement were brought up by Reilich when they hadn’t been informed of any such problems. County Legislature Democrats have since called for a legislative committee to investigate whether Reilich and COMIDA colluded.
Reilich’s critics and local media have also publicly asked whether Reilich or someone from the Dinolfo administration might have passed the information onto Reilich, or ordered COMIDA to back him up.
Dinolfo finally addressed the concerns during a press conference on Monday, after a week of silence on the matter.
She said that COMIDA issued its statement and memo to address questions from the media. Mazzullo reached out to Deputy County Executive Justin Roj for advice on whether to answer media inquiries, Dinolfo said, and Roj responded that the agency should contact its attorney and address the media questions.
When reporters asked about the substance of Reilich’s remarks, Dinolfo said that she wouldn’t comment on a “political statement.”