Carl Paladino

Paladino On FBN: Trump Should Pick Me As Running Mate

Is former Republican Gubernatorial Candidate and Buffalo Businessman Carl Paladino making a case to become Donald Trump’s running mate?  It certainly appeared that way Thursday during an appearance on the Fox Business Network.

During a segment on “Cavuto Coast to Coast” Paladino unveiled a “Trump/Paladino” bumper sticker when asked who the GOP front runner should choose as his running mate.  Paladino then suggested he’d be a good choice because he’d have no problem telling Trump when he didn’t agree with him on a subject.

Paladino later clarified to Time Warner Cable News Buffalo that despite having a bumper sticker made, he was simply joking.

“This was all in jest.  I’m not anywhere near that point in my life,” Paladino said.

Paladino Backs Dadey’s Bid To Unseat Cox

paladinoCarl Paladino, the 2010 Republican nominee for governor, is backing Tom Dadey’s potential bid to unseat Ed Cox as the chairman of the state Republican Committee.

“Hallelujah,” Paladino wrote in a statement released on Wednesday afternoon titled “It’s Time For Change.”

In an essay Paladino blasted out via email on Wednesday afternoon, the Buffalo real-estate mogul wrote Dadey had the “courage and credibility to unite conservatives and moderates” in the state GOP.

“To win elections again Republicans must relate to the hard-working middle-class taxpayer who ought to be voting Republican,” Paladino wrote. “The Washington establishment is feeling the rebellion of the rank and file, fed up with complicit leadership lacking the guts to lead and fight for party values.”

Paladino credits Dadey with GOP successes in Onondaga County (even as no Republican ran for mayor of Syracuse in 2013 and the county executive, Joanie Mahoney, is a key Republican backer of Cuomo).

“Tom’s Onondaga County GOP recently won a supermajority on the County Legislature even though Onondaga is inhabited by more Democrats than Republicans,” Paladino writes. “Republicans in Onondaga now hold every countywide office.”

Paladino’s support for Dadey, the Onondaga County Republican chairman, is not surprising. Paladino has never seen eye-to-eye with Cox, who did not support the businessman’s 2010 bid for governor. More >

Paladino Criticizes Fox’s Trump Coverage

paladinoThe 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate has a message for Fox News and its chairman, Roger Ailes: Get on the Donald Trump train before its too late.

In an essay sent to supporters via email, Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino, a supporter of Trump’s presidential bid, takes Ailes to task for backing an “old guard” who boosted Mitt Romney and now Jeb Bush’s White House campaigns.

Ailes and Trump this summer began a publicly heated feud that erupted this month after the real-estate mogul and GOP candidate criticized the debate questions leveled by Megyn Kelly.

“Hey Roger Ailes, you and FOX are missing the political revolution of our lifetimes,” Paladino wrote in the email. “You can no longer hide your allegiance to the Old Guard and 50 Billionaires who want to give us another Romney who thought that having off shore accounts and siding with the 1% against the 99% wouldn’t be noticed and would win the day. Your candidate, Bush the wimp, looks like a deer in the headlights. He rings no bells with the rank and file. Afraid of his own shadow he’s on his way to the graveyard of political has-beens.”

As Politico New York noted this morning, Paladino has seized on the presidential campaign of Trump and his ability to upend the political establishment. Paladino himself has appeared on Fox Business, a sister network to Fox News. More >

Western New York Conservatives Angered Over Flanagan Selection

Despite the fact the newly minted Senate Majority Leader’s son goes to the University at Buffalo, John Flanagan hasn’t exactly gotten a warm reaction from Western New York so far.  Senate Democrats, as you would expect, are less than enthused about the choice, while Conservatives are downright livid.

“Nothing good is going to happen for Upstate New York with this change,” said Buffalo-Area State Assemblyman David DiPietro.

DiPietro, a gun rights advocate, said Flanagan’s vote in favor of the SAFE Act alone should have disqualified him as a candidate for Senate Majority Leader.

“Totally upset that we’re going to get no movement from our own Republican Senate because the leader is pro-SAFE Act,” DiPiertro said.

The member of the Assembly with the most conservative voting record, Rochester-area Assemblyman Bill Nojay directed his ire at the reported five Upstate GOP Senators who voted for Flanagan over Syracuse-Area Senator John De Francisco.  Nojay took to Twitter to vent his frustrations.

“Q (question) for the 5 Upstate GOPers who voted for Flanagan: what price to sell your soul?  Biggest winner today in Senate: Andrew Cuomo. He got a RINO he can control.  Biggest loser: Upstate NY, which is now politically irrelevant,” Nojay wrote.

The vote for Senate Majority Leader happened behind closed doors but most Western New York Republicans told us they supported DeFrancisco, including Michael Ranzenhofer, Rich Funke, Robert Ortt and Joe Robach.

Ranzenhofer confirmed the SAFE Act was a part of the closed door conversation. Ortt, an Afghanistan War Veteran and consistent advocate for repealing the controversial gun control measure, seemed optimistic Flanagan will move to the right on the issue.

“I think Senator Flanagan knows he’s going to have to work toward that (repealing the SAFE Act) to be successful as a leader and I think he’s going to do that and I’m willing to work with him on that issue,” said Ortt.

“John Flanagan voted for the SAFE Act. The people from his district knew it and voted to send him back to Albany.  I think he respects the Second Amendment.  I don’t see it as an issue,” Robach added.

Watching from outside the GOP conference, Senate Democrats in WNY saw the move as a lifeline for Skelos to hold on to some kind of power.  Buffalo-Area Senator Marc Panepinto even suggested Skelos “extorted” his own conference.

“Dean Skelos threatened his colleagues on Friday and said if you don’t do John Flanagan I may resign my seat and that may put the leadership up for grabs,” Panepinto said.

Still, it’s the way Flanagan ascended to Majority Leader that bothers conservatives as much as the fact he’s there.  Several sources suggest it was two Upstate New Yorkers who sided with the “Long Island Nine” to tip the scales in Flanagan’s favor.

“It was Cathy Young and Mike Nozzolio who sold us out,” said Former GOP Gubernatorial Candidate and outspoken Skelos critic Carl Paladino.  “The votes are here (Upstate) and this is where the Majority Leader should come from.”

Senator Young did not reveal how she voted behind closed doors.  In a statement Monday night she would only say:

“Every single member of the Republican Conference united behind Senator John Flanagan to ensure balance in state government and safeguard the future of the state.”

Senator Mike Nozzoilo’s office said he was not available for comment Monday night.

“Senator’s Young and Nozzolio sold their soul,” DiPietro said.  “If one of them would have voted against him (Flanagan) we could have had a different leader.  I’ll tell you up here in the Assembly right now we’re just beside ourselves.  We feel like we’ve been sold down the river,” DiPietro added.



Langworthy Calls On Skelos To Step Down; Calls Relationship ‘Strained’

One of the highest profile county Republican chairmen in New York State called on embattled State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos to step down on Wednesday.  At the same time he laughed off suggestions Skelos had “significant control” over his committee.

“Senator Skelos and I have never really had much of a relationship in my time as chairman,” said Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy.

The criminal complaint against Skelos details an alleged relationship of political and business favors between the Majority Leader, his son Adam and a company referred to as Developer-1.  On page 17, while mentioning that Skelos was soliciting substantial campaign contributions from that same company, the Erie County Republican Committee is referenced as an example.

According to campaign disclosure reports the Erie County GOP received five separate contributions of $20,000 each in 2012 from Limited Liability Corporations with the same address as New York City real estate company Glenwood Management.  Three days later the committee wired $78,000 to then-Senator Mark Grisanti’s campaign fund.

“At that time we were working together and I was of the belief that the Senate Republican Campaign Committee solicited some donations that would help that effort to elect Senator Grisanti and that was about the extent of what I knew at that time,” Langworthy said.  “We accepted legal contributions.  We disclosed them legally.  We spent them legally.  Other than showing my campaign disclosures there’s nothing more I really have to offer on that.”

The complaint references a lobbyist for “Developer-1” who exchanged emails about a phone call from Skelos to a Glenwood executive to send checks to the Erie County Republican Committee, “over which the Developer-1 lobbyist believed that Dean Skelos had significant control.”

“I felt that they should probably get a different lobbyist because they were sadly mistaken,” Langworthy said.  “It’s not something that’s certainly been in the paper or widely reported but Senator Skelos and I have had rather strained relations.”

Disappointed by his increasing ties to Governor Cuomo, Langworthy’s committee dropped its support of Grisanti two years later.  Wednesday Langworthy joined the growing movement in his party to oust Skelos as Majority Leader.

“There’s no way for this dark cloud to go away over the Senate, over the Republican Party and over Dean Skelos personally without a change in leadership in the New York State Senate,” said Langworthy.

Skelos’s lack of support among Western New York Republicans is nothing new.  Former GOP Candidate for Governor Carl Paladino made the removal of Skelos the centerpiece of a short-lived gubernatorial bid in 2014.

“He’s so addicted to power that he refuses to give up his Senate leadership position even after he was arrested.  It’s disgusting,” Paladino said.

In an email blast to supporters Paladino suggested New York State Senator Cathy Young and most of her “Republican colleagues from Long Island” are blocking a change in leadership.

“Are they afraid Skelos might roll over on them and chirp to the Feds about issues where they have been complicit in criminality?  Or are they just good old boys and girls who have been in office too long and have forgotten the promises they made to their constituents to clean up the Albany cesspool?” Paladino asked.

With the exception of Rich Funke and Robert Ortt, Western New York’s Republican Senators have resisted outside calls for a leadership change. Langworthy believes the pressure on them will mount.

“As the Senate is now adjourned for the day the members are going to come home to their districts. I’m sure they’re going to meet their constituents throughout the weekend and Monday’s going to bring a new day to Albany,” Langworthy added.

Panepinto Proposes Mayoral ‘Input’, Not Full Control

It’s a drastic step that has been successfully implemented in New York City and intermittently considered – but never fully embraced – in cities across upstate: Mayoral control of the public schools. 

With nagging questions over the leadership of the Buffalo Public School District, and some suggesting full mayoral control is the answer, a Buffalo-area state senator has drafted compromise legislation that would give the mayor “input.”

“I think it’s an effort to try and quell the animosities that exist under the present school board configuration,” said Sen. Marc Panepinto.

Four superintendents in five years have tried to turn around the Buffalo Public School District. The most recent person to hold the position, interim Superintendent Donald Ogilvie, has lost the confidence of the board of education’s one-seat majority and leaves the post July 1st. 

Infighting among board members over how a new superintendent should be chosen spurred Buffalo Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes to revive the idea of mayoral control. Panepinto said he was sympathetic to the idea put forward by his fellow Democrat, but feels a full takeover is a step too far.

“From the Assembly delegation that I talked to, from the Upstate Senators, Democratic and Republican that I spoke too, I didn’t really see that there was a stomach for total mayoral control,” he said.

Panepinto’s legislation would allow Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown to appoint two additional at-large board members to the nine-member school board.  The terms would last five years and would need to be confirmed by the Buffalo Common Council.

“I think the City of Buffalo funds the schools to the tune of ten to 15 percent depending on what the state allocation is, so I think it’s appropriate that the mayor have some input on the school board,” the senator said. 

For a majority member of the Buffalo Public School Board, however, this proposal gives away all control. 

“The intent is for the liberal group, connected to the board minority, to stop the implementation of the majority’s agenda,” said Carl Paladino. “Marc Panepinto is an elitist who thinks government control is the answer to every aspect of life.”

Allowing the mayor to appoint two board members could certainly flip the one seat majority. Either way, Paladino believes it would create even more chaos.

“This effort to remove control from a duly elected board is sickening,” he said.

Panepinto’s proposal doesn’t go as far as the full mayoral control bill Peoples-Stokes’ office has said she’s still drafting – an effort that faces an uphill climb in Albany. Buffalo’s Common Council President isn’t ready to endorse either idea at this point. 

“I’m interested in seeing both plans and seeing possibly is there even some working together to bring both plans into fruition in which one gives a little and the other may take away,” Darius Pridgen said.

But mayoral control may be an idea whose time has come, though the New York City measure sunsets in Albany in June, and the Senate Republicans don’t appear inclined to provide any assistance to Mayor Bill de Blasio, who would like to see it made permanent. De Blasio unsuccessfully tried to help the Senate Democrats re-take the majority in the 2014 elections, making an enemy of the GOP conference.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he favors a three-year extension of New York City’s mayoral control law, while the Assembly Democrats pushed during the budget battle for seven years. The matter was pushed off into the post-budget session.

As for his proposal, Panepinto thinks it should get a three-year trial, and he says he feels he has already accomplished part of his goal even if the idea goes nowhere in the end.

“I wanted to put something forward to begin the dialogue,” the senator said.

Former Buffalo Bill For Cuomo

Thurman Thomas, a former Buffalo Bills running back who endorsed Carl Paladino for governor four years ago, is now on Team Cuomo.

Thomas endorsed the Democratic incumbent governor in an ad released on Thursday by his re-election campaign.

“From the Western New York team, I’m supporting Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has stood up for us from the moment he began serving,” Thomas says in the spot.

“After years of neglect, Western New York is headed for the goal line, with lowered taxes and new jobs, like those on the Medical Campus, at River Bend, and at the Dunkirk Power Station. Governor Cuomo has scored for Western New York. Be there for him November 4th.”

Thomas in 2010 cut an ad for Paladino, who at the time was batting back charges he was insensitive to minorities – especially after forwarding emails that portrayed racially tinged images of President Obama.

Paladino, Thomas said at the time, is “no racist.”

Cuomo, of course, has courted western New York – and particularly the Buffalo area – heavily over the last four years after losing the region to Paladino in 2010.

Cuomo also courted Thomas specifically, appointing the former football star to a tourism commission this past January.

While this ad does focus on the economy of Western New York, the Buffalo Bills focus is sure to get the attention of football-minded voters – especially after the team’s new owners announced they would be keeping the team in Buffalo.

It should be said that before Terry and Kim Pegula bought the team, the need to keep the Bills in Buffalo was one issue Cuomo and his GOP opponent, Rob Astorino, actually agreed on.

Both candidates said (several times) they were committed to keeping the Bills in the Queens City, regardless of who the new owners turned out to be. Only one of those candidates, however, received a large campaign donation ($25,000) from the Pegulas – Cuomo.

Astorino Hits the Road With Paladino

Remember way back when, when Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino was making threats about a second run for governor this fall unless the Republican Party picked a candidate who measured up to his conservative standards and supported ousting Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb?

Well, Paladino has come around since then – with a brief foray into the imaginary land of “Trump for governor” – and is now 100 percent on the Astorino campaign train – so much so that he’s headlining a two-day “convoy” with the candidate from Buffalo to Albany next month. The event kicks off with a rally in Buffalo on Sept. 6 and ends with another rally outside the Capitol the next day.

Along the way, there will be stops in Rochester, Syracuse and (a little randomly) Guilderland. Supporters are being invited to join the convoy in their personal vehicles. (In his email announcing this event, Paladino provided a link where would-be participants can register their cars).

Paladino continues to be a bit of a lightning rod for the Republicans. For example, just because he’s on board with Astorino does not mean he has given up criticizing state GOP Chairman Ed Cox – long a top target of the mad-as-hell 2010 GOP/Conservative gubernatorial candidate – as well as Kolb, Skelos and other people Paladino considers too “RINO” (Republican in name only) for his taste.

When he ran for governor, Paladino came under fire for his far right positions on a host of issues – especially same-sex marriage and abortion rights. He nevertheless managed to defeat Cuomo in Western New York in the general election, which has caused the governor to lavish attention (and state cash) on the region since he took office, and also was the driving motivation behind his selection of former Rep. Kathy Hochul as his running mate.

The Cuomo campaign is trying to portray Astorino as too “extreme” in his views to represent a Democrat-dominated state like New York. Hanging out with Paladino – while likely a popular move with the GOP and conservative grassroots – no doubt gives the governor and his allies more fodder with which to attack Cuomo’s GOP opponent.

Paladino Calls Maziarz ‘Poster Child For Term Limits’

Several Western New York Republicans have come to the defense of retiring New York State Senator George Maziarz in recent days; former GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Carl Paladino is not one of them.

“I think George is probably a poster child for term limits,” Paladino said. 

Maziarz has served in the Niagara County based 62nd state senate seat for two decades.  It’s a tenure Paladino believes was too long.

“After a while they start to feel like a king, you know King George,” said Paladino. 

It’s a characterization the Buffalo businessman has repeated over the years, and one that now appears to be gaining traction.  At about the same time Maziarz announced his retirement, reports surfaced the U.S. Attorney’s Office was looking into his campaign spending.

What started as a Moreland Commission report that showed $140,000 in unspecified campaign expenditures continues to expand.  The Albany Times Union reported Friday Federal investigators are now examining unitemized checks that were made out to cash, but never reported to the state board of elections.

The latest questions center on funds from the Maziarz campaign account that were reportedly given to a youth softball team and thousands of dollars in purchases from a WNY business.  Maziarz Campaign Treasurer, Laureen Jacobs, has been asked to turn over documents but her attorney wouldn’t provide any further details.

And although charges have not been filed, Paladino isn’t giving Maziarz the benefit of the doubt. 

“In my book, he was the guy that held Niagara County down,” Paladino said. 

Paladino believes the investigation into Maziarz campaign spending is nothing compared to what he didn’t do.  That criticism has to do with what Paladino describes as more than $1 Billion from the New York State Power Authority’s budget. 

That money, according to Paladino, was generated through the sale of unused allocated power.  Money that Paladino insists should have been spent on development in Western New York.

“George turned the other way as Cuomo was sweeping the account for the last four years.  He never ensured that that money would stay here for Western New York’s benefit.  That’s the kind of stuff that bothered me about George.”

It may take some time before Maziarz’s legacy is clear.  While the jury is still out in the court of public opinion, Paladino made up his mind long ago.  

“George is going to walk away with a million, one hundred thousand dollars in his campaign account and Western New York is no further ahead today than it was when George originally took office,” Paladino added.


Paladino Questions Integrity Of Buffalo Bills’ Sale

Is Gov. Andrew Cuomo playing politics with the impending sale of the Buffalo Bills? Buffalo businessman and Cuomo’s former GOP challenger Carl Paladino suggested he is.

“Cuomo’s been fixing it,” Paladino said. 

Paladino’s remarks followed multiple reports last week that New York City developer and chairman of the New York State Thruway Authority, Howard Milstein, was interested in buying the Bills.  Milstein previously co-owned the New York Islanders from 1998 to 2000 and expressed interest in the Washington Redskins in 1999.

“Of course he’s interested. This is a game that’s being played by Andrew Cuomo to take care of his buddy Milstein,” said Paladino. 

Milstein has ties to Western New York, controlling a large undeveloped area in the city of Niagara Falls, an area the New Stadium Working Group is considering as a new home for the team

In the late 1990’s Milstein was given exclusive rights by the city to prime land downtown.  Twelve years after he unveiled an aggressive plan for private casinos, condos, and retail the 150 acre plot remains vacant

“There was talk about this, about Milstein buying the Bills and building a stadium in Niagara Falls on all this land that he’s illegally held onto for ten years because the idiot elected officials up there in Niagara County let him. They never took some action against him for not doing what he said he was going to do in developing this property,” Paladino said. 

Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy, the co-chair of the Stadium Working Group, said Friday he thinks Milstein is a good businessman.

“I certainly think he (Milstein) and the Jacobs family and all the names that have been mentioned so far are great names to hear because they’re people that will have connections to Western New York,” said Duffy.

Speaking of the Jacobs Family, Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs expressed similar skepticism about Milstein.  Jacobs’ uncle Jeremy Jacobs Jr. owns the Boston Bruins and Buffalo-based Delaware North and has said he’s not interested in selling the Bruins to buy the Bills

“There’s been a lot of acquisition over a decade, I think by the Milstein group and not a lot of action so I think they would really have to demonstrate that they’re really going to do more than talk at this point in time. We need action,” Jacobs said.

Duffy didn’t mention Real Estate Mogul Donald Trump’s name specifically.  Paladino has offered his assistance as an investor should Trump make a bid on the team.

Paladino isn’t alone. News broke Monday that Bills Hall of Fame Quarterback Jim Kelly’s attorney met with Trump.  Kelly, who continues to recover from oral cancer, is friendly with the former USFL owner and even stayed at a Trump-owned apartment while undergoing cancer treatment in New York City.

Kelly has made no secret of his interest in being part of an ownership group.  He’s been approached by a number of interested parties about the possibility of joining them in a bid for the Bills.

In addition to names like Trump, Milstein, and even Bon Jovi the Buffalo News reported over the weekend Rochester-Area Billionaire and former Buffalo Sabres Owner Tom Golisano had a private dinner with Bills President Russ Brandon.

This flurry of activity has been connected to new condensed timeline. The Associated Press reported on Saturday there is an anticipation that the Bills could be sold by July, and the sale approved by NFL owners as early as the league’s meetings in October.

Just to add more pressure to the situation U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer told reporters in Buffalo Monday he’d like a plan to either retrofit the current stadium in Orchard Park or build a new stadium in place by the time a new owner is announced.

“Perhaps the best way to get the Bills to stay here, in Western New York, for a generation, is to have some plan for a stadium, in place at the time the Bills are sold,” Schumer said.

Schumer said he spoke with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Monday, and believes the commissioner is “on our side,” and wants the Bills to stay in the area.

No matter who ends up with the team the Cuomo administration is likely to play a key role.  The Governor’s office announced last week it had retained a Manhattan based attorney to provide the state and stadium working group with legal counsel while working to convince any potential owner to keep the team in Buffalo.

It’s a move Paladino believes gives Milstein a clear advantage.

“The state’s paying for it, taking care of Howard. You’ve got to simply connect up the dots. It’s real easy.  He’d be the worst owner we could ever have for the Buffalo Bills. He’s a greedy developer-type out of New York City. Is that the kind of guy you want?”  Paladino asked.