Sue’s NY Deli to be phased out of Buffalo City Hall after scathing audit

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A business in Buffalo City Hall hasn’t been paying their rent for years and city officials are trying to figure out what to do next. The finding was discovered in a recent city audit.

The issue of unpaid rent has to do with Sue’s NY Deli, which is located in the basement of Buffalo City Hall and has been in operation for years.

The city audit found that Sue’s owes the city more than $100,000, hasn’t made a payment in four years and has been working with an expired contract.

Sue’s hasn’t responded to News 4’s requests for comment.

At a Finance Committee meeting Tuesday, city lawmakers questioned the city’s Department of Public Works and Comptroller’s Office about the findings.

Some council members said the audit revealed a greater problem in city hall.

“This goes to an overarching thing of contracts that the city has with operators that are either not in compliance or are not paying their fair share to the city and the city is not in a fiscal position to absorb the cost for everything,” said Buffalo Common Council Member Mitch Nowakowski.

Nate Marton, the commissioner of the Department of Public Works, said the city is working with the Law Department to find some sort of resolution to the money Sue’s owes the city.
In the meantime, a Request for Proposal was issued, seeking a new vendor for the cafeteria.

Moving forward, council members, the Comptroller’s Office and city officials said they want to make sure there’s more oversight of city contracts.

“We’re going to get to the bottom line of how we got here, how to recapture money moving forward and how to get a new vendor, but I think moving forward, it’s really making sure we have the mechanisms in place where we don’t have to wait for an audit from our comptroller to see that we haven’t been collecting these revenues,” Nowakowski said.

The DPW said that seven companies have gone through walkthroughs of the cafeteria and that Sue’s doesn’t plan on reapplying for the contract.

“I have spoken with the current operator, who did come to my office yesterday, and we spoke in person,” Nowakowski said. “I kept this item tabled because I do believe at a certain time he’d like to address council members to clear up his side of things.”

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Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.

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