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Tax breaks from IDA give Mattar unfair advantage

The News recently reported on attorney William Mattar’s successful bid for nearly $550,000 in tax breaks through the Amherst Industrial Development Agency. Mattar claimed that his business expansion will aid veterans in that it will be staffed by advocates accredited through U.S. Veterans Affairs.

As an attorney and veteran advocate, I am disappointed by the IDA’s decision because it appears that Mattar has succeeded in wrapping his business venture in veteran cloth. Haven’t we seen enough of this type of exploitative behavior at the expense of vets to justify public outcry? Indeed, our nation’s record in caring for veterans leaves much to be desired. However, permitting private enterprise to use the veteran label to qualify for tax breaks demonstrates a new level of disrespect for those who have served.

As for Mattar’s claim that his project represents an advocacy group for veterans, I believe the underlying motive is profit. I suggest that vets in need would be better served by seeking services at the newly opened and highly successful Veterans One-stop Center of WNY (VOC), located at 1280 Main St. in Buffalo.

The bottom line is that the Amherst IDA has given Mattar an unfair business advantage over his competitors. The fact that veterans were dragged along for the ride makes the situation all the more unsavory.

Michael C. Lancer, Esq.

Co-chairman, NYS Bar Association

Committee on Veterans Affairs

Buffalo