Carl Paladino

Higgins and Paladino Plan On Attending Bohen Fundraiser

From the Morning Memo:

Two influential South Buffalo politicians plan to attend a fundraiser for Assemblyman Erik Bohen this evening, but they’ll probably do their best to avoid each other while they’re there.

Carl Paladino, conservative Buffalo businessman, former School Board member and onetime gubernatorial contender; and Democrat Rep. Brian Higgins are both scheduled to show up for the $30 event at The Place bar and restaurant in Buffalo.

The former Republican gubernatorial candidate and the current Democratic congressman are actually in-laws, but they’ve engaged in a public feud for years, with Paladino even paying for an anti-Higgins billboard at one point.

Both come from similar backgrounds in the very parochial South Buffalo neighborhood, not unlike Bohen.

“I have known both individuals my whole life,” the assemblyman said.

Bohen, who assumed office after winning a special election in the spring, has made a habit of blurring party lines. He is a registered Democrat, who, for the second time in a year, will run on the Republican line – a practice that isn’t uncommon in his part of the state, but hasn’t won him many friends among fellow Democrats in Albany.

Democratic Erie County Legislator Pat Burke has had the party’s endorsement in both elections. While, Paladino has consistently and openly supported Bohen, having a major member of his own party, like Higgins, in his corner could be a big boon for the freshman state lawmaker.

However, the congressman’s office made clear his attendance does not mean he’s making a formal endorsement in the race.

“Erik Bohen is a longtime friend and supporter of Brian’s, and Brian is simply planning to stop by a private gathering of mutual friends and supporters,” the Higgins spokesperson said.

As for whether the fact Higgins and Paladino plan to be in the same room together indicates they could be burying the hatchet, Paladino simply said: “No.”

Paladino Takes Shot At NYSUT After Assembly Special

From the Morning Memo:

During his tenure on the Buffalo Public School board, Carl Paladino was very clear about his opinion on the statewide New York State United Teachers union. In short: He didn’t like the union, and the union wasn’t much of a fan of his, either.

Still, the feud became a bit of an afterthought following Paladino’s removal from the board by the state education commissioner last summer. That was until a NYSUT-connected independent expenditure committee got involved in an Assembly special election in Paladino’s backyard.

The committee, called NY Forward, sent out mailers connecting candidate Erik Bohen to Paladino and calling the former board member a “racist Trumpster.” Bohen didn’t take well to this characterization, and neither did Paladino, who – true to form – threatened to sue just about anybody who might’ve been involved.

After Bohen’s victory in the special, Paladino was a bit more measured in his response, saying:

“I’m proud of him. He stood tall, and I stood tall with him.”

Throughout the campaign, Bohen minimized Paladino’s involvement, but said he was a friend. Bowen also readily admitted he helped Paladino run for school board.

Last night, Paladino said the mailer was nonsense and took one more shot at his old foe, the union.

“New York State United Teachers showed their bad side,” he said. “They showed how mean-spirited and how wrong they could be. They came in and they got right down into the gutter and that was something that was uncalled for.”

Bohen, a Democrat who was cross-endorsed by the Republicans, is replacing former Democrat Mickey Kearns (now the Erie County clerk) in the Assembly. His opponent, current Erie County Legislator Pat Burke, said he’ll run again in the fall elections.

Paladino’s Ex-Campaign Manager On His Decision Not to Run for Gov

From the Morning Memo:

Western New York political operative Michael Caputo ran Carl Paladino’s campaign for governor back in 2010 when the mad-as-hell man from Buffalo upended the state GOP by winning a primary for the nomination to take on then-Democratic state AG Andrew Cuomo.

Paladino has long flirted with taking another shot at unseating Cuomo, and mulled a potential rematch this year, too, but announced over the weekend he had ultimately decided against it.

Caputo didn’t seem entirely surprised by the decision.

“I always expected Carl to make a very judicious decision when it comes to the governor’s race,” he said. Obviously, he’s got a big base here in Western New York, but Carl in the last several years has spent a lot of time trying to help other people run for office and trying to be a strong bulwark for the Republican and Conservative parties. I think he’s enjoyed his role, especially with the Conservative Party, and he wants to be helpful in another way with a candidate that he thinks can win.”

As for as who that candidate might be, Caputo said he’s not sure.

The field as it stands right now includes former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra, a Democrat-turned-Republican who appears to have zero chances of getting the Conservative nod, without which no Republican has won statewide since the 1970s; and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, who have have already formally announced their campaigns, and Deputy Senate Majority Leader John DeFrancisco, who is officially entering the race today.

“I don’t know where Carl stands on this governor’s race, but I’ll tell you, the field doesn’t look promising to defeat Governor Cuomo,” Caputo said. “I’m still very hopeful. There’s some good people, really good people in this race.”

Caputo said the field is different this year, especially with Giambra, who has some unconventional platforms for the Republican party and a longstanding relationship with Paladino. He believes whoever ends up emerging as a candidate could make some noise so long as they are able to raise money, though it seems nearly impossible to out-raise Cuomo at this point, as he’s sitting on close to $31 million worth of campaign cash.

GOP Chair Seeks Pataki-esque Gubernatorial Candidate

From the Morning Memo:

State GOP Chairman Ed Cox is putting a priority on competence over charisma when it comes to selecting a candidate to take on Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo this fall.

When I suggested during a CapTon interview earlier this week that the Republicans need to fine someone outside the box to run – someone like a brash, rich, former real estate developer-turned-reality TV star who beat the odds and made it to the White House – Cox replied:

“You really want me to have a disaster as a candidate, don’t you? I want to have someone who everyone will say: this guy can be governor…somebody who knows how government works. I don’t want splash. I want substance. I want a substantive governor, who, along with a majority in the state Senate, who can take this state in the direction it needs to go.”

Recall that Cox wasn’t exactly a full throated Donald Trump supporter back in the day, and definitely wasn’t part of the push led by Western New York GOP elected officials to get Trump to run for governor.

And Cox saw his party get burned by made-as-hell Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino, who won an upset GOP primary victory to land the line against then-AG Cuomo in 2010. Paladino lost big in the general election, though he performed well in his home region of WNY, which led Cuomo to lavish attention on the area – particularly Buffalo – for years to come.

When I suggested Cuomo is going to spend big money trying to tie his Republican opponent to the unpopular president, Cox retorted: “It’s not going to work. It’s going to be about him. People will understand.”

The chairman suggested Cuomo is going to be “haunted by the ghost of Christie past,” invoking the former Republican governor of New Jersey who was implicated – but never charged – in the infamous Bridgegate scandal. Christie’s aides took the fall for that mess, and he paid a political price, seeing his presidential aspirations go down the tubes.

Cuomo will have a similar experience once the Buffalo Billion corruption trials – particularly that of his longtime former aide, Joe Percoco – get underway, Cox predicted.

Cox is continuing to insist that the GOP has time to coalesce around a candidate, even though the governor is sitting on a massive campaign was chest – we’ll find out exactly how big of a haul he has managed to amass later this month.

And, the chairman – as many underdog Republicans have before him – likes to remind everyone that a little-known state senator named Pataki came out of nowhere back in 1994 and defeated the liberal lion, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, in a major upset victory.

Just like that race was a referendum on Cuomo-the-elder – an ABC, or “anybody but Cuomo” situation that developed when the then-incumbent decided to seek a fourth term – Cox insists that this fall will be more about the current occupant of the executive mansion that whoever the GOP selects to challenge him.

“When you’ve been governor for two terms, when your party has been in the governorship for three terms, it’s a question of your record, it’s a referendum of you,” the chairman said.

“What we need to put up is someone like George Pataki. Who people have to look and say: Yeah he could be governor, now let’s look at what the governor has done. Hey! We need to replace this guy. He’s not doing a good job for the people of this state.”

After losing the GOP’s top contender, Harry Wilson, Cox specifically mentioned Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, who went on not 24 hours later to announce he’s no longer considering a run; Deputy Senate Majority Leader John DeFrancisco; and – with a little prodding – Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb.

He didn’t name former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra, a Democrat-turned-Republican who is trying to sell party leaders on this moderate brand of politics, and formally announced his campaign yesterday.

Paladino Still Considering Run for Governor But No Decision Imminent

From the Morning Memo:

As New York Republicans try to figure out who exactly will represent them in challenging Governor Andrew Cuomo this year, one notable name has seemingly fallen on the back-burner. The party’s 2010 candidate Carl Paladino said he is actually still considering a campaign but no decision is imminent.

Paladino’s statement comes as two of the front-runners for the nomination both withdrew their name from consideration this week. First it was Westchester County businessman Harry Wilson, who said he preferred to commit his time to his family rather than a bid and perhaps a busy first year in office.

Thursday, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro bowed out of the race. He said it was not the right time to seek the governorship.

Paladino said he understood both the decisions blaming the state party leadership – a regular target of his since 2010 when they initially endorsed Rick Lazio instead of him.

“The Republican state party is in shambles,” he said. “They have no financial or other resource ability. the Albany swamp Republican legislators and many county chairs are all RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) in Cuomo’s pocket. That’s what Wilson and Molinaro finally figured out. Without support, it would be an effort in futility.”

So far, two GOP candidates have officially announced their campaigns: Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb and former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra, who despite his reputation as a moderate, said he and Paladino are long-time friends.

The state party leaders are meeting in Albany next week to start sorting out the statewide ticket.

Paladino’s BOE Replacement Sworn In

Outspoken businessman Carl Paladino has officially been replaced on the Buffalo Board of Education by new Park District representative Catherine Flanagan-Priore, a pediatric psychologist at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, who was sworn in last night.

This summer, as you’ll recall, the state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia removed Paladino from his seat for violating executive session rules, even though voters had twice elected the former Republican gubernatorial candidate to the school board despite his many controversial public statements.

Flanagan-Priore, who was chosen by the board to succeed Paladino after three days of interviews with 15 potential candidates, said she is aware she will need to represent constituents who may have wanted Paladino to retain his post.

“I want to hear from the people who voted for him as much as the people who didn’t vote for him to make sure I’m representing the needs of the district well,” she said.

Meanwhile, a majority of the board members who brought the complaint about Paladino to the state Education Department after tangling repeatedly with him for several years, seemed ready to move on.

Paladino’s racially charged comments, in particular, sparked plenty of media attention and protests around board meetings – though Elia has repeatedly insisted that had nothing to do with her decision to remove him.

“I’m certainly looking forward to some meetings where the board can get away from distractions that have taken us off the tasks that we really need to do that will push forward the education achievement of the children in this district,” Board President Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold said.

Of course, it’s not necessarily over. Paladino is appealing the NYSED decision to state Supreme Court, though his effort to block the board from appointing his replacement while his case works its way through the legal system was denied.

Paladino Says State Supreme Court Judge Should Not Have Ruled On his Case

The Buffalo Public School Board will officially swear in its replacement Wednesday for Carl Paladino, who was kicked off the board by the State Education Commissioner in August. After interviewing more than a dozen candidates, board members on Monday, unanimously approved Catherine Flanagan-Priore, a local children’s psychologist.

Paladino had hoped to keep the seat vacant while he appeals the commissioner’s decision to state Supreme Court. Those hopes were dashed late-Monday afternoon when Judge Catherine Nugent-Panepinto decided not to grant a stay of the decision.

Paladino said he was unlucky to draw Nugent-Panenpinto, a former board member, who he accused of being liberal, political, and “best buddies” with Hope Jay, an opponent of his, currently on the board. He said the judge had recused herself in past matters involving the board of education.

“She should have conflicted herself out of the case, but instead she called her liberal and undistinguished husband (former state Senator) Marc (Panepinto) to meet her to discuss how to handle the case,” Paladino said.

He said after the proceeding, Marc Panepinto, a partner at powerful Western New York law firm Dolce Panepinto, went up to his attorney and said “I guess your client lost the lottery today.” Paladino is being represented by a team from Lippes Matthias Wexler Freedman, including former state Attorney General Dennis Vacco.

We’ve reached out to both Marc Panepinto and Catherine Nugent-Panepinto’s office for a response.

Elia: Charlottesville Had No Impact On Paladino Decision

The unrest in Charlottesville spurred by white supremacist groups this month did not have an impact on the decision to remove Carl Paladino from the Buffalo school board, Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said Monday in a radio interview.

“It did not have anything to do with the decision on Mr. Paladino. We had our hearing almost a full month before that — six days of hearings with people coming in as witnesses,” Elia said on WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom. “The decision was based on the record.”

Paladino was removed from the board on Aug. 17, days after violence erupted in Charlottesville amid protests over the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.

A push to remove Paladino, the 2010 Republican nominee for governor, began last year after he penned a racist essay for a Buffalo-area newsweekly. Paladino has over the years forwarded and sent racist and racially charged emails.

But the school board pursued his removal based on the sharing of information from a closed-door executive session of the board, arguing it helped undermine the district during its negotiations with the teachers union for a new contract.

Paladino is appealing the school board’s decision and Elia said the State Education Department will fight that appeal.

Meet The Man Who Wants To Replace Carl Paladino

From the Morning Memo:

The Buffalo Public School Board of Education has until September 16 to replace member Carl Paladino who the State Education Commissioner kicked out of office last week. BPS posted its Park district seat on Friday.

The deadline for applications is September 1. While the district hasn’t said how many people have applied so far, at least one candidate is vying for the job.

Kevin Lafferty, a member of the District Parent Coordinating Council, said he applied right away.

“It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do and when this opportunity came up, I jumped on it right away,” he said.

Lafferty ran unsuccessfully for the seat more than a decade ago. He said he’s always felt compelled to public service but now has a personal inspiration to be on the board, as well. The South Buffalo parent’s 3-year-old daughter is in the system.

“When I ran in 2004, I said that I was doing it so when I had children, the district would be good and now that I have a child in it I feel like it’s a responsibility to run for it again now that she’s in the district,” Lafferty said.

Of course, this time he doesn’t have to convince voters he’s the best candidate for the job. He has to convince other board members.

“It’s a campaign but it’s not a campaign. I mean you’ve got to sway the board, so I would ask if there are people out there, to contact the board,” he said. “It’s very important that this board fill this seat as quickly as possible.”

Lafferty said while he would like to be a consensus builder, he doesn’t plan on being a rubber stamp for the so-called six member board majority bloc.

“I kind of want to be the majority of one, myself, and serve the majority, the actual majority which are the students of the city of Buffalo,” he said.

He does acknowledge in replacing the twice-elected Paladino, the district finds itself in an unusual situation. Lafferty was involved with the DPCC filing a separate petition which called for Paladino and the rest of the board’s removal after the member made racially charged comments about the former president and First Lady.

He believes the commissioner’s decision is good for students.

“The Paladino thing lifts a big weight,” he said. “It’s been a huge distraction. I’ve said from the beginning, I thought Carl should’ve resigned back in December and just let us move on but, you know, he continued and he was well within his rights to do that.”

Lafferty said regardless of what Park District voters think about their former board member, he wasn’t always able to represent the area to the fullest because other members didn’t like him. He said he can bring a new constructive voice with whom people are willing to work.

Paladino, meanwhile, has indicated he plans to file an appeal with state Supreme Court which could potentially halt the replacement process.

Paladino Removed From Buffalo School Board

Carl Paladino has been removed from his post on the Buffalo Board of Education, an attorney hired by the board confirmed this morning.

The 33-page decision determine Paladino had wrongly released information that was discussion in a closed-door executive session with board members.

Paladino had vigorously denied any wrongdoing during a hearing earlier this summer in Albany.

“It confirms that no one is above the law regardless of their station in life,” said the school board’s attorney, Frank Miller. “Mr. Paladino indicated he was going to continue to do whatever he wanted to do. Everyone is subject to the law, regardless of their station in life.”

School board members and others who had sought Paladino’s removal from the board initially sought his removal after Paladino made a series of racially charged and racist comments in a local newsweekly and in blast emails.

Paladino has already filed a lawsuit challenging the board’s actions against him.

The 2010 Republican nominee for governor, Paladino has not ruled out running again in 2018. Paladino served as the co-chairman to President Trump’s campaign in New York.

Updated: Here’s the full decision from the state Education Department.