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Unlicensed deli causes concern in Broadway-Fillmore District

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The leader of the Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center in Buffalo's Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood says a deli store is conducting illegal business.

"If I don't speak out, and if I get hurt or somebody else gets, and hurt I don't bring your attention to it, then I don't feel I've done my job.  So please help me help our community," said Marlies Wesolowski, executive director of Matt Urban. 

It's not the first time Wesolowski has gone public with her concerns.   Last month she brought her story to The Buffalo News. 

The deli at 1069 Broadway was closed down when police conducted raids on illegal operations at some delis. But Wesolowski said the shutdown only lasted a week after State Supreme Court Justice Timothy Walker allowed it to reopen.

Wesolowski said she was "mystified" by the judge's decision.  She told common council members the deli continues to engage in illegal activities. 

"And they sell each cigarette for a dollar, so they make $20, and I venture to say they probably don't pay they tax on that, which is totally illegal," said Weslowski.

Common Council president Richard Fontana is concerned about the judge's decision to allow it to reopen.

"Well you know Judge Walker really needs to do his community homework on these events.  I don't know what he based his decision on," said Fontana.   

Fillmore District lawmaker David Franczyk said the Council clearly rejected a license request for the deli.

"It is a criminal enterprise when this common council on April 2012 denied this license for panoply of the reasons we have heard.  We denied it with cause," said Franczyk.

Wesolowski said as met with the deli store owner begging him to comply and work within the law. But since going public with her story Wesolowski told lawmakers she has received threats.

Wesolowski  noted that the deli continues to attract crime and she even has the drive-by bullet holes in her building to prove it. 

Lawmaker Franczyk said he wants city inspections and license, the city's law department and police to provide information quickly so they can create a new strategy in dealing with illegal delis.