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City Comptroller: Audit finds former Hatch owner owed Buffalo more than $500K

Buffalo is getting $202,000 from the new operator of the Hatch restaurant at the Erie Basin Marina, which the City Comptroller says is a change from the old vender who cheated the city.

The furor over the old lease to Brand-On Services involved a lot of issues, from the amount paid to the city to an operator who was working on the city payroll while at the restaurant. Buffalo Comptroller Mark Schroeder contends Brand-On Services owed the city more than $500,000.

Since then, MollyWorld took over the Hatch and recently added a sit-down restaurant, William K's. The city spent $2 million expanding the building to allow for the second restaurant, while the vendor recently paid $8,000 the Comptroller's auditors determined had been underpaid.

"In 2017, we've done an audit and the bottom line, the bottom line is here the taxpayers have benefited $202,000 this year versus the last year of the old vendor," Schroeder said.

The mayoral candidate said auditors could not determine whether there is just more restaurant business with the renewed interest in the Waterfront or if there are other issues going back to when the old operator was running the facility.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.