SYRACUSE, NY - What if New York State spent nearly one million taxpayer dollars renovating a restaurant, which it can't even open?
That is the quandary it finds itself in, in Syracuse.
The Empire Room, on the grounds of the NY State Fair, is without a caterer, which means it will likely be closed when the fair opens in less than two weeks.
This comes after the state spent $850,000 to renovate the place...that is a little more than one dollar per every visitor who attends the fair in a typical year.
The state had been trying to find a new caterer after several scandalous incidents involving the eatery, dating back a few years when the State Fair Director was arrested for accepting a discount from a previous caterer, when booking his daughters' wedding receptions there.
When contacted by Two On Your Side, the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, which operates the fair, sent back a brief statement from Assistant Public Information Officer David Bullard which read:
"We are actively pursuing options to ensure the success of the two luncheons scheduled for the Empire Room during the Fair."
The Department of Agriculture & Markets tried twice this year to hire a caterer for the Empire Room, and was finally ready to award a contract.
But the winning bidder told The Post-Standard of Syracuse that by the time the state finally got its act together, it had to turn down the job because it was simply too late.