Empire State Development Corporation Condemns
Church to Transfer Property to Seneca Indians
A non-denominational religious ministry that owns a two-story white house in Niagara Falls is fighting the State of New York to keep its property in the face of eminent domain to transfer the property to the Seneca Indian Nation to expand its casino complex. The ministry, known as Endtime Handmaidens and Servants International, has occupied the downtown location since the 1980's. Their house would become a parking garage for the Seneca Gaming Corp.'s casino. The Endtime Handmaiden house, which conducts prayer and praise meetings and hosts dozens of missionaries traveling through the area, is one of three locations, including one in Jerusalem. Their attorney, Donald Alessi, believes that, as a religious group, Endtime should be exempt from eminent domain. He points out that the State excluded St. Mary of the Cataract, a Roman Catholic church nearby, from the tract promised to the Senecas. The Endtime group has filed one of four challenges to the eminent domain, to be heard in May in the Appellate Division. A 72-year old woman who has lived in one of the houses for fifty years is among the plaintiffs. Source: Niagara Gazette website, February 9, 2006.