Carl Paladino

Wrap-up: Buffalo School Board Formally Demands Carl Paladino’s Resignation

The ball is in Carl Paladino’s court for at least a day. Thursday afternoon, the Buffalo Public School Board passed a resolution formally calling for Paladino to resign from his post within 24 hours.

Six members voted in favor of the resolution during a special board meeting to discuss derogatory and racially charged comments the businessman recently made to the alternative Buffalo newspaper, Artvoice, regarding President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Two members, Paladino allies Patti Pierce and Larry Quinn, voted against it.

Nearly every member had prepared a written statement to read before the vote. Pierce and Quinn both made clear they disapproved of the comments, which included wishing the president would die of mad cow disease and the first lady would “return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.”

The two members said they prefer Paladino have a chance to apologize to the parents and students in the predominantly black district, than be forced out. Other members said the comments were part of a pattern and racism and he could no longer effectively make policy decisions.

Paladino was not present at the meeting but quickly responded to the board’s decision. He reiterated he has no intention of stepping down and believes any attempt to remove him from office will go nowhere.

“It is certainly not an illustration of courage or leadership on the part of the council members, legislators, mayor or county executive, who have joined in the chorus of racist and incompetent Board of Ed members seeking my removal, so as to push back on me to not disclose their culpability in rigging the recent teacher’s contract, or their complicity in trying to unfairly settling the board’s $450 million lawsuit against (developer) Lou Ciminelli for fleecing the citizens and children of Buffalo. It’s going to be a very combative year,” he said in a statement.

Paladino has not explained yet how he believes the recently passed agreement with the Buffalo Teachers Federation was rigged but said there’s more to come. If he does refuse to step down, the resolution calls for the board to seek outside counsel in order to submit an application to the state education commissioner to remove him.

Two other groups, the Buffalo Parent-Teacher Organization and the District Parent Coordinating Council, have also said they plan to appeal to NYSED.

“We will continue to closely monitor the actions by the Buffalo School Board, the Buffalo Parent-Teacher Organization and others on this matter. Once we receive an application for removal, we will review it as quickly as possible. We continue to review all of our options,” NYSED spokesperson Emily DeSantis said.

Live Blog: School Board Meeting On Paladino Conduct

3:36 p.m. That concludes our blog. Feel free to send me any questions on Twitter @RyanTWCNews. Watch this evening for extended coverage.

3:33 p.m. Vote just concluded. Six members vote in favor of the resolution. Two vote against. Paladino is absent.

3:31 p.m. Nevergold said she has heard from people all over the country who are “incredulous” that a sitting board member would express the sentiments that Paladino did. She said they would like her to tell him, “You’re fired.”

Nevergold uses Donald Trump’s catch phrase but said those are not her words. Paladino, of course, was the honorary co-chair of Trump’s New York campaign.

3:29 p.m. “Words matter, Mr. Paladino. This community has been rocked,” Board President Barbara Seals Nevergold said.

She explains why she believes Carl Paladino should resign from the board.

3:26 p.m. Hope Jay, who sponsored the resolution, offers board members Pierce and Quinn the opportunity to sign on to the resolution. Members of the audience scream out, “Remember, we vote! It’s okay to admit you’re wrong.”

3:24 p.m. Board member Jennifer Mecozzi is the first board member to speak without a prepared statement. She acknowledged it.

It’s noticeable, but the off-the-cuff style is being well-received by the crowd.

“This man is old enough to know better. We expect our children to be old enough to know better,” she said.

3:20 p.m. Now Belton-Cottman makes accusation that Paladino used his influence to buy a building for less than $1 million dollars that should’ve been worth $1.9 million. She said if he didn’t abuse his power, that money should’ve been profit for the school district.

President Nevergold attempts to interrupt Belton-Cottman but she continues, arguing she felt it needed to be said because she represents the student in the district.

3:18 p.m. Belton-Cottman is now specifically addressing Patti Pierce because she said Patti Pierce “has a good heart.” She shows Pierce and the crowd a stack of documents she said is proof of just a little bit of the negative actions Paladino has taken.

3:17 p.m. Board member Belton-Cottman said the perception Paladino can be an objective policy-maker is “irreparably damaged.”

3:15 p.m. Belton-Cottman preemptively taking on any “freedom of speech” article Paladino might make. She said the constitution does not allow someone to lie and slander.

She is now reading an email Paladino wrote yesterday in which he allegedly said “The nutcases are running the asylum and the news has nothing to say.”

In email, Paladino allegedly calls Belton-Cottman racist.

3:14 p.m. Now board member Sharon Belton-Cottman is up. She has long been Paladino’s most vocal critic on the school board.

She, like the other board members is reading a prepared statement. I expect it to be biting.

3:11 p.m. Harris-Ting continues to read written statement. She said there is widespread agreement that Paladino engages in bullying behavior toward students and adults of color.

She said there is a feeling he is allowed to bully with impunity. Harris-Tigg said with Paladino on the board, it undermines teaching and student achievement.

3:07 p.m Board member Theresa Harris-Tigg asks who are Paladino’s friends who he said his comments to Artvoice were actually intended.

“How close are his friends to our children,” she asks.

Some members of the crowd say his friends are Quinn and Pierce. With Paladino not here, they are receiving a lot of the crowd’s ire.

3:05 p.m. Harris-Tigg said she will not say Paladino’s name again. She said she will not continue to empower him.

From now on, she said she will refer to him as “Orange Cheetos.” Harris-Tigg said as recently as yesterday the African-American women on the board received an unsavory email from Paladino.

3:04 p.m. Board member Theresa Harris-Tigg said, “Today is a time for reckoning.”

3:02 p.m. Paulette Woods said, “This level of hatred for African-Americans can not and should not set policy.”

2:59 p.m. Now board member Paulette Woods is speaking. She is not as willing as the first to speakers to allow Paladino to apologize.

She said if any student had said things Paladino has said they would be suspended.

2:56 p.m. Quinn tells story about how an African-American woman helped bring him up as a child. I heard scoffs throughout the council chambers.

Quinn reinforces Pierce’s call for Paladino to address what he said to every child in Buffalo. He said he’s not making excuses for Paladino though.

2:53 p.m Paladino’s friend and ally, board member Larry Quinn calls Paladino’s comments in Artvoice “heartless” and “racist.” He said he’s having a hard time  with the comments because he knows Paladino has a big heart.

2:51 p.m. Board member Patti Pierce said to ask Paladino to resign within 24 hours is “giving him a pass and he does not deserve a pass.” She is calling on Paladino to step up and apologize.

Nevergold said she did not contact Pierce about the resolution. She said the six board members who signed the resolution contacted her and they were “forceful” about what needed to happen.

At the same time, Nevergold tells Pierce she believes she is sincere about wanting to help children.

2:46 p.m. Pierce said this is an opportunity for the school district to give Paladino an opportunity for forgiveness. The crowd does not respond well to it.

On multiple occasions, President Nevergold requests they give her respect. Pierce said Buffalo should take a page from Charleston, South Carolina where relatives of those slain in a church forgave the shooter.

One person here screams at Pierce, “I don’t appreciate you using the people of South Carolina for your own gain.”

2:43 p.m. Board member Patty Pierce, a Paladino ally in the past, is now reading a prepared statement. She said just because her name isn’t on the resolution doesn’t mean she approves of what Paladino said to Artvoice.

Pierce said she hadn’t seen the resolution before today. She also said she hasn’t spoken a word to Paladino since the story broke.

2:40 p.m There is a standing ovation from the crowd as Hope Jay demands Paladino resign from the board. If you want to read the whole resolution, it’s here.

2:36 p.m. The board typically requires 48 hours before it can act on a resolution but they just voted to waive the rules. Board member Hope Jay is introducing her resolution calling for Paladino to resign within the next 24 hours. She is reading his answers to Artvoice outlaid to audible groans.

2:32 p.m. The meeting has just been called to order. The board accepted the Buffalo Common Council’s invitation to hold it in council chambers, a larger venue. The entire room is full. Board President Barbara Seals Nevergold begins by explaining that public comment will not be allowed.

2:25 p.m. The Buffalo Public School Board is meeting today to discuss the recent conduct of board member Carl Paladino. Alternative Buffalo newspaper Artvoice recently published derogatory and racially charged comments made by Paladino for an annual survey, about President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Six of the boards nine members have signed on to a resolution calling for Paladino’s immediate resignation. They plan to introduce the resolution at today’s special meeting and discuss potential legal action if he refuses to step down.

Paladino said he does not plan to attend the meeting. We will continue to provide live updates here on New York State of Politics.

Buffalo School Board Resolution Would Formally Call For Paladino’s Resignation

Six of the nine members on the Buffalo Public School Board of Education are officially calling for Carl Paladino’s resignation. A resolution, which will be submitted by board member Hope Jay at Thursday’s special meeting, calls for Paladino to resign within 24 hours.

It goes on to say that should he not do so, the board will retain outside legal counsel to file a 306 petition with New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia to pursue his removal. The resolution comes in response to derogatory statements Paladino made about President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama that were published last week in Buffalo’s Artvoice newspaper.

“These unambiguously racist, morally repugnant, flagrantly disrespectful, inflammatory and inexcusable comments by Mr. Paladino have garnered both local, national and international attention that reflects negatively on the Buffalo Board of Education, the City of Buffalo and its leadership and its citizens, the State of New York, and every decent human being in America and abroad who has been shocked and offended by his words,” Jay wrote.

There is some question about whether the board could remove Paladino on its own. Board President Barbara Seals Nevergold, who signed the resolution, said she does not believe the district’s bylaws allow it, and any action would have to come through the state Education Department.

“We are in the process of reviewing all of our options in this unusual situation and will closely watch the actions taken by the Buffalo Board of Education at tomorrow’s meeting,” State Ed spokesperson Emily DeSantis said.

Members of the Buffalo Parent-Teacher Organization (BPTO) and a member of the District Parent Coordinating Council (DPCC) are also planning to file separate 306 petitions.

Paladino Resignation Resolution by Ryan Whalen on Scribd

NYSUT Joins Calls For Paladino’s Removal From School Board

New York’s statewide teachers union is joining the growing chorus of people calling for Buffalo Public School Board member Carl Paladino’s removal from office. The union said its members will reinforce a Thursday morning protest organized against Paladino.

“We stand with parents and concerned citizens across New York State in calling upon the state education commissioner to immediately remove Carl Paladino from the Buffalo school board,” NYSUT President Karen E. Magee said.

Thursday afternoon, the school board is holding a special meeting to discuss “board member conduct.” Last week, alternative Buffalo newspaper Artvoice published the controversial answers Paladino gave to an annual survey.

The brash businessman and one of Donald Trump’s leading supporters in New York, among other things, wished President Obama dead and that First Lady Michelle Obama would “return to being a man and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe.” He has since said the answers were a joke which he sent by mistake.

Magee said this kind of rhetoric is not new for Paladino, who ran for governor in 2010.

“His racist rants are despicable. He is unfit to hold a position of responsibility affecting students and their well-being. As educators, we are dedicated to ensuring our students learn in classrooms and on campuses where the values of respect and civility are paramount,” she said. “We condemn this disgusting, racist behavior and call for Carl Paladino’s removal.”

Nearly 16,00 people have signed a petition sharing the same sentiment as Magee. Public officials including Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Assemblyman Sean Ryan, D-Buffalo, have also called for his removal.

State Education commissioner MaryEllen Elia does have the power to remove an elected board member. Elia has not yet commented on the situation.

Paladino Decries ‘Retarded Liberal People’

Republican Carl Paladino in a radio interview remained characteristically defiant over his comments at President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, blaming “retarded liberal people” who attack him.

In the interview with WBEN, Paladino insisted his remarks — that the president should die of mad cow disease and Michelle Obama should “return to being a man” and live with a gorilla in Africa — weren’t meant to be racist.

“It’s only these retarded liberal people that’ll find it necessary to come out and call me names and not really listen to the issues,” he said.

Paladino’s remarks were roundly condemned on Friday, including by Donald Trump’s presidential transition team.

“Carl’s comments are absolutely reprehensible, and they serve no place in our public discourse,” the transition committee said in a statement.

In the radio interview, Paladino insisted that he has “many, many friends in the black community” and that’s taken on issues facing the.

“Why would a person who is racist or had racist thoughts take on these challenges constantly? Are you serious?” he said.

He added: “I wanted somebody to wake up so I did a little funny type article to get their attention and I certainly did, I guess.”

Paladino Insists: It’s Not About Race

Carl Paladino doubled down on his inflammatory remarks made to a Buffalo newsweekly, insisting in a lengthy statement that they were “nothing to do with race.”

Paladino in a “wish list” survey for the ArtVoice suggested he wanted President Obama to die of Mad Cow disease and First Lady Michelle Obama to “return to being a man” and live with a gorilla in an African cave.

“It has nothing to do with race,” Paladino said. “That’s the typical stance of the press when they can’t otherwise defend the acts of the person being attacked. It’s about 2 progressive elitist ingrates who have hated their country so badly and destroyed its fabric in so many respects in 8 years.”

Paladino, the 2010 Republican nominee for governor and Buffalo businessman, is a prominent supporter of President-elect Donald Trump having served as state campaign co-chairman. Earlier this month, Paladino met with Trump at his 5th Avenue tower to discuss the transition.

In his response, Paladino airs a series of grievances with Obama’s presidency, ranging from the targeting of political groups by the IRS, the administration’s handling of the Syrian crisis and how the president did “nothing for black children in our urban centers held prisoner by the cycle of poverty and illegitimate black leadership more interested in power and preserving their voting base by keeping them hungry and uneducated in the inner cities.”

He concludes: “And yes, it’s about a little deprecating humor which America lost for a long time. Merry Christmas and tough luck if you don’t like my answer.”

Calls are growing for Paladino to be removed from his post on the Buffalo School Board from state lawmakers and the Parent Teacher Organization. For now, the state Education Department won’t comment on the remarks given the potential for disciplinary action.

Carl Response by Nick Reisman on Scribd

Paladino’s 2017 ‘Wish List’ Causes Stir

Buffalo businessman and political activist Carl Paladino hopes President Obama contracts mad cow disease after having intercourse with a cow and dies, while his advisor Valerie Jarret is killed by “a Jihady cell mate mistook her for being a nice person and decapitated her.”

Paladino, meanwhile, hopes Michelle Obama is returned to “being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.”

Those were some of the sentiments expressed by Paladino in a Buffalo-based newsweekly, ArtVoice, published this morning online.

Contacted by our colleagues at TWC News in Buffalo, Paladino confirmed he had written the responses as sought by the newspaper, which published them without comment.

Paladino was the 2010 Republican nominee for governor and has not ruled out running in 2018.

He was a co-chair of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in New York and sits on the Buffalo School Board.

Paladino’s comments caused an immediate uproar on social media.

“The statements are so incredulous,” wrote Democratic Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. “If they were made by him there can be no room in our civil discourse for such hate and anger.”

Paladino has a history of making racially inflammatory and insensitive remarks and forwarding racially-tinged emails.

Paladino Discusses His NYC Meeting With Trump

From the Morning Memo:

Former Trump NY honorary co-chair Carl Paladino quietly visited the president-elect in New York City earlier this week. The Buffalo real-estate developer spoke Wednesday with TWC News reporter LaMonica Peters about the get-together.

While he didn’t want to go into too many details, Paladino clearly hasn’t lost his enthusiasm for Trump.

“I think you’re going to see a president with so many talents,” the onetime gubernatorial candidate and current Buffalo School Board member said. “To even imagine him not being president is going to become difficult, because he’s going to do so many good things.”

The meeting also included Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is helping lead the transition team. Paladino said the question of whether he would be interested and/or willing to serve in the administration in some capacity did come up.

The businessman insists he’s keeping an open mind on the matter, but isn’t actively lobbying for a position.

“You know, I’ve got a pretty good situation right now,” he said. “I’m a happy guy. But if they gave me something that would light my spark, yeah I’d probably strongly consider it.”

Paladino said he learned the transition team has received 50,000 applications for about 4,500 positions. He said he’ll continue to support the president-elect in whatever way he’s asked, regardless of whether that includes a formal, paid position in the administration.

What’s Next For Trump’s Top Surrogates In WNY?

From the Morning Memo:

As Rep. Chris Collins left the stage following his victory speech Tuesday night, Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy gave voice to what plenty of people in the room were privately thinking about the Buffalo congressman’s future.

“He might be the Secretary of Commerce by January. Who knows?” Langworthy quipped.

Since Collins became the first sitting congressman to endorse Donald Trump for president in February, he quickly emerged as a top surrogate for the now-president-elect, making regular appearances on the cable TV news circuit and staunchly defending the nominee – even during his campaign’s darkest days. 

Now that Trump has beat the odds with his surprise victory, political observers have been speculating about what Collins might gain from his loyalty.

With his seat secure for another two years, Collins himself said he plans to be a voice in the Trump administration, but he also left the door open for a cabinet appointment – should one come his way.

Then there’s former gubernatorial candidate and mad-as-hell Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino, a huge Trump supporter from Day One, who jokingly mentioned to me a few months ago that he could be a candidate for U.S. attorney for New York’s Western District. Paladino has a law degree, but hasn’t practiced in years.

The post was recently vacated by William Hochul, husband of LG Kathy Hochul, who, like most Buffalo Democrats, was a big Hillary Clinton booster.

A more likely fit for Paladino might be some sort of involvement with the U.S. Department of Education. Paladino, a Buffalo Public School board member, served as a Trump surrogate on education reform issues during the campaign.

Though he has been light on details, Trump is pushing an agenda that includes more charter schools and a voucher system for students who want to attend private schools. Those are proposals Paladino supports, but he nevertheless insists he has no formal plans to become a member of the Trump administration.

“I don’t need a job; I’m just fine,” Paladino said. “I’m not the one to sit down there and sit behind a desk. That’s not going to work for me anymore, not at this point in life.”

Paladino said he doesn’t lack for work at home in Buffalo, noting he has a stack of paperwork to catch up on at his development company after spending a good part of the past year focusing on Trump’s campaign.

Trump for NY Poll Shows A Much Closer Race In NY

From the Morning Memo:

The Trump for New York team has been critical of public polls showing Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton with an overwhelming lead in the Empire State, insisting her GOP opponent, Donald Trump, is actually running a lot more competitively in the candidates’ shared home state than the conventional wisdom allows.

And now it believes it has some evidence to back up its claims.

The state campaign effort commissioned its own poll conducted by McLaughlin and Associates, a national research firm with a New York office in Blauvelt. According to that poll, 49 percent of voters said they are likely to vote for Clinton, while 38 percent said they’re with Trump.

While these numbers still represent a double digit margin for the Democratic nominee, it’s a far cry from the projected 24 point lead in the most recent Siena Poll conducted Oct. 19th.

“We want New York voters to know that New York State is in play for the Presidential election and the down ticket,” CEO John McLaughlin said.

Trump NY honorary co-chair Carl Paladino, who has long maintained the Republican candidate will win New York, took things one step further, insisting the state is indeed “in play, alive and well, and will send its electoral votes for its favorite son, Donald Trump.”

The Buffalo developer is one of Trump’s most steadfast and outspoken supporters. During a recent interview on Capital Tonight, Paladino took aim at the Siena poll, claiming the research institute is biased toward Democrats.

In a press release, McLaughlin compared his poll’s sample to the one employed in the most recent Siena poll. Both questioned approximately the same number of likely voters – 600 to 611.

The key difference though, is that McLaughlin is predicting the electorate will be 47 percent Democratic and 29 percent Republican, a 3 point difference both ways in favor of the GOP. The firm believes turnout will look more like a mid-term election in New York, with Clinton probably taking a “big hit from corruption nationally,” while “Trump’s people are energized.”

According to the McLaughlin poll, about 96 percent of people questioned were likely to vote. Before being asked who their favored candidate was, the pollster asked voters: “All things being equal, would you be more likely to vote for a candidate for president that will continue many of President Obama’s policies for the next four years or change and take the country in a new and different direction?”

The poll also focused on the supposed “hidden Trump vote” – a theory Paladino has also championed. Voters were asked if they knew anybody who planned to vote for the candidate but wasn’t telling people.

Forty percent said yes.