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Kearns pressing First Niagara over planned takeover

WBFO News File Photo

A local state assemblyman says First Niagara Bank should give back $28 million it has received to create jobs. If the financial institution is taken over by Key Bank, the move cost 1,800 jobs.

Assemblyman Mickey Kearns says he has written to Governor Cuomo saying there should be a "clawback" of the money. According to the South Buffalo Democrat, almost as much will be paid to executives if the deal goes through.

"First Niagara knew back in 2011 what the terms of that agreement was, with the State of New York. I believe when you are looking at losing more than 1,800 jobs as a result of that merger, we can't turn the other way," Kearns said.

Under the state's Excelsior program, Kearns says First Niagara gets nearly $6 million a year in tax credits for job creation. First Niagara didn't return a call asking about Kearns seeking the "clawback."

Follow Up:

First Niagara says it has only received $2.4 million in tax credits, not the total stated by Assemblyman Kearns.

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.