Fast Ferry probe ends with no criminal charges
A federal investigation into the failed Fast Ferry has ended and no criminal charges have been filed, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Terrance P. Flynn confirmed this morning.
Peggy Kelly McFarland, who works out of the U.S. Attorney's office in Buffalo, declined to comment further about the inquiry.
Though federal officials have been tight-lipped about the probe, Rochester leaders have indicated in past reports that it was centered on the company that started the ferry, Canadian American Transportation Systems — called CATS.
Assemblyman Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua, said the fast ferry "was a failed enterprise."
"The taxpayers got robbed in this venture," he said.
Though federal investigators found no criminal wrong-doing on the part of CATS, which launched the ferry in June 2004, Kolb said the company's principles behaved badly nonetheless.
"There is millions the city has to pay off," said Kolb of Rochester. "That is clearly wrong."
The city of Rochester used a $29 million loan to purchase and operate the ferry in 2005. That was after the operation failed under CATS, which received $14 million in state grants and loans, a more than $1 million federal grant and a more than $1 million loan from the city.
The ferry was halted just a few months after service started in the summer of 2004 because of millions in unpaid bills. The city of Rochester took over ferry operations under the administration of then Mayor William Johnson. Johnson's successor, Mayor Robert Duffy, officially ended the ferry project last year; the vessel was sold to a German company.