NCCC hires PR, legal firms in the wake of 7 Eyewitness News investigation into bidding

Both contracts awarded without bids
Posted at 11:29 PM, Feb 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-22 23:29:48-05

In the wake of a mounting controversy over President James Klyczek's email use, the Niagara County Community College board of trustees Wednesday met with an outside legal firm and also hired a public relations firm to help control some of the damage to the university's reputation.

Board members spent three hours in an executive session with a lawyer from Bond Schoeneck & King, reportedly to discuss how to proceed after 7 Eyewitness News revealed Klyczek's emails regarding bidding procedures at the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute. 

The emails, obtained exclusively by 7 Eyewitness News, show that Klyczek appeared to favor companies with ties to college officials for major contracts when the culinary institute was built in 2012. The companies include LP Ciminelli, Cannon Design and Harris Beach.

All have denied wrongdoing, and Klyczek declined to comment. 

"The board is aware of the allegations regarding the awarding of contracts relating to the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute," said Board President Vincent Ginestre. "The board has retained outside counsel and has instructed that counsel to conduct a full investigation of these allegations."

The board also hired Tipping Point Communications to improve its image through the burgeoning controversy. College trustees suspended their procurement policies on public bidding to award both the legal and public relations contracts. 

Ginestre said the emergency nature of the contracts warranted the move. When asked Tuesday, he said he was uncertain how much the contracts would cost taxpayers.