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Syracuse developer tries to block publication of settlement details

Courtesy photo
Destiny USA
The Destiny USA development project has struggled to come online - and now developer Robert Congel is fighting to keep details about financing out of the media.

Syracuse-area mall developer Robert Congel is trying to prevent documents related to his settlement with a bank from being made public, reports Rick Moriarty at the Post-Standard:

Ordinarily, such agreements could be kept confidential by the parties involved. But, in this case, Congel and Citigroup had to submit the settlement to the city’s industrial development agency for approval because the agency holds nominal title to the mall as part of a 30-year property tax exemption. The agency approved the settlement in February. The Post-Standard on March 2 requested a copy of the agreement under the state’s Freedom of Information Law. The agency agreed April 12 that the documents are public but gave the developer seven days to appeal the decision to the agency’s chairman, William Ryan, who is also Mayor Stephanie Miner’s director of operations. Congel’s Destiny USA Holdings LLC, Pyramid Co. of Onondaga and Carousel Center Co. are attempting to block the release of the settlement agreement, citing a provision of the Freedom of Information Law that allows public agencies to withhold documents deemed to be trade secrets or, if disclosed, would cause “substantial injury” to the competitive position of the commercial enterprise that submitted them to the agency.

Buy and conquer

First Niagara hasn't lost its taste for acquisition following its purchase of a Connecticut banking firm, reports David Robinson at the Buffalo News:

That "build and buy" strategy has helped First Niagara nearly quadruple its asset base to $30 billion and more than double its work force over the last five years, as the bank has expanded across New York to Albany and also pushed into the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia markets in Pennsylvania. The NewAlliance deal, which closed April 15, added 88 branches, 200,000 customers and $8.8 billion in assets in Connecticut and Massachusetts. "Discipline is what got us here," [president and CEO John] Koelmel said. "We'll be patient, but we'll be persistent."

Health insurance claims

Think Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield might owe you money?  Just check to make sure, OK?  The health insurer says 12,000 subscribers are owned $1.5 million, according to Will Astor at the Rochester Business Journal.


Upstate New York rules the yogurt world, reports All Over Albany.  But, breaking the editorial fourth wall, the really big news for me is that we've apparently got a skyr manufacturer upstate?  So there won't be any round-ups for the rest of the week as I go on a pilgrimage seeking Icelandic dairy products.  OK, not really, but have you tried it? SO GOOD.

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