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Three COMIDA Board Members Resign, Including The Chairwoman


Three members of COMIDA, Monroe County's economic development agency,  resigned this week, including Chairwoman Theresa Mazzullo.

As WXXI News first reported,  Mazzullo said she resigned, effective immediately,  in the wake of the controversy in recent weeks regarding the I-Square development in Irondequoit.

Mazzullo released this statement:

"I would like to announce that I have officially resigned as COMIDA Board Chair. Recent events have undermined the public’s confidence in COMIDA and, more importantly, my reputation.   I want to publically state for the record and for the sake of my reputation that neither I nor any COMIDA Board member were a party directly or indirectly with the exposure of the iSquare project . 

What COMIDA does for economic development in this community is too important to be damaged by this incident. I took the job as COMIDA board chair because I believe in the importance of public-private partnerships.  I am proud of the businesses we have helped to grow and the jobs we have created over the last 12 years. 

 I want to see the integrity of COMIDA restored.  For this reason, I call upon the County and everyone else involved in this process to bring all the facts forward so that COMIDA can continue to its job of supporting businesses and creating new jobs in our County."

The resignation comes just days after another COMIDA board member resigned. Mark Siwiec, a local realtor, said he is concerned the continuing controversy over the I-Square development in Irondequoit would call into question his personal integrity. And it was also revealed on Friday that another COMIDA board member, Clint Campbell, resigned this week as well. He tells WXXI News he was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the accusations being made against the board, and felt that by association, it was reflecting badly on him as well. Campbell hopes there is some clarity and explanation to the community about what did actually happen, and he says he still feels COMIDA can do good work in terms of helping promote job growth.

Mazzullo does maintain that I-Square was at one point, in default, regarding some of the requirements of the tax incentive package.

"There was a technical default, but let me be quick to say that it was not a big deal, and it is the kind of thing that happens routinely and had this incident not occurred, we would have just sat across the table from them, had a discussion, resolved it , and moved on. "

Developer Mike Nolan maintains there was no default, but he says even if there was, the COMIDA board did not follow the proper procedure in talking to him about their concerns. He also says county officials still owe him more information on how this all transpired.

"It's still the county's responsibility regardless who chairs COMIDA, to answer. It's an agency that spoke out against I-Square, we've never been given any answers to any of our questions, we've never been given an apology."  Nolan recently released a letter from COMIDA which indicated his project is not in default.

Nolan says he will continue to go to COMIDA Board meetings until he gets the information he's looking for.

The office of Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo did not respond to a request for comment. Mazzullo has been leading the COMIDA board for 12 years.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.