Governor Material

13 Mar

The Buffalo News found several people to go on the record and accuse Carl Paladino of being a deadbeat.

(What is it about megalomaniacal western New Yorkers with Napoleon complexes packing heat?)

The Buffalo News today reports that recent gubernatorial loser and wealthy local malcontent Carl Paladino allegedly owes thousands of dollars to myriad campaign staffers and vendors. The man who pledged to spend $10 million apparently borrowed $3 million from “unnamed sources”, owes thousands to average people trying to make a living, and has apparently reacted to them in malicious and unfair ways. At least a few promise to sue, and one threatens to dime him out to the state bar grievance committee.  He allegedly owes $8,000 to Michael Johns, who worked Tea Party outreach, he reportedly owes William Rey about $5,000 for video production. He allegedly owes Tim Suereth $6,300 for expense reimbursement.

Others due money in amounts ranging from $1,200 to about $35,000, include an attorney, a researcher, and a half-dozen campaign staffers and media producers, according to the former campaign aides, consultants and vendors.

Several of those owed money described a frequent pattern of behavior by Paladino when he was approached for payment.

Paladino at first failed to respond, and then offered a disputed history of the terms originally agreed upon. Paladino sometimes contended that, regardless of terms, he paid people what he felt they were worth, the former aides and consultants said. And, they added, Paladino often became insulting and confrontational.

“He seems to be picking fights with people he owes money to and not paying,” Suereth said. “He’s looking for every reason to not pay people he owed money to at the end of the campaign.”

Perhaps the lede was buried, because Paladino‘s own former campaign manager, Michael Caputo, claims that he’s owed $38,000, but more importantly:

Caputo has said in the past that most of the fees he received were subsequently spent on legal, research and media services related to the campaign.

I’m no expert on New York State’s campaign finance laws, but that doesn’t seem completely Kosher. Disclosure rules exist to promote disclosure.

Paladino, who has become a bizarre and paranoid local cross between Sarah Palin and Charlie Sheen, took to Facebook to excrete the following:

You received a message on your blog from an unidentified, disaffected campaign malcontent who has no regard for truth or facts and you think you have a scoop.  You don’t.  There are people who didn’t get paid for good reason.  Everyone who deserved to be paid was paid.  They can go to court if they have a complaint.  What business is it of yours?  It’s a civil matter.

Well, what “business it is” is that these people went to the News to voice their complaints, and they were particularly brave in that they used their own names and accused Paladino of very specific charges. Paladino ran for governor, and the conduct of his campaign is newsworthy because of the public nature of campaign finance laws and disclosure, but it details his demeanor.  You can tell a lot about a person about how he conducts his business, and how he treats those who work for him. Paladino treats his vendors and campaign employees like disposable pieces of garbage whom he can cheat, and force them to sue him to be made whole.

Remember if you write something and have actual knowledge that what you write is not true, it obviates the need to prove malice even for a public person.  In any event I believe we can prove malice.  I caution you to be careful.  Don’t for a minute think that I won’t haul you into court and subpoena every e-mail and document you, spineless and Evans ever wrote about me.  I can’t wait to depose the three of you.  You better not destroy the records.  Judges don’t like people who do that.

Naturally. The bully with a law firm threatens to sue. The problem here for Paladino is that “malice” in defamation jurisprudence isn’t defined as “being mean” or “hating Carl”.  He’d have to prove to a jury that the Buffalo News published false facts in an article without regard to their truth or falsity.  The article itself reveals that this charge must fail, as the writer spoke with people who got stiffed and proved it, and did so on the record.

Furthermore, discovery runs both ways for Mr. Paladino, and at the heart of any defamation litigation is the supposition that the plaintiff’s reputation has been harmed or assailed.  Therefore, Mr. Paladino puts his reputation at issue in the case, and it is itself subject to discovery.  I’m sure the News’ lawyers would likewise relish the opportunity to depose Mr. Paladino, and he had also better not engage in any spoliation of evidence; not because “judges don’t like people who do that”, but because it’s improper and illegal.

You sit in a big room with many people who don’t respect or like you or your fearless editor and publisher and they watch what you do.  They are good people with integrity and honor and they want the best for their community.  They don’t like elitism nor do they like editorializing on the front page.  Truth is truth.  Give it up Jim.  You are a messed up dude.

Well, no. Jim Heaney isn’t a “messed up dude”.  He’s a local reporter who got a juicy tip, followed up on it, verified the facts, and printed them. Just because Mr. Paladino doesn’t like the content of those articles doesn’t make them editorials. Also contained in Paladino‘s clumsy threat-letter is dicta explaining that the author appreciates the coverage he gets from Business First and Buffalo Rising. Yet it’s becoming clearer by the day that Paladino “leads” by threatening people. He surrounds himself by sycophants, and bullies everybody else.

Until now, western New Yorkers were happy to say Carl was like their crazy uncle. As the facts come out, it would appear that his personality is more sinister than that. Refusing to pay vendors, unilaterally abrogating agreements, forcing people to sue him to be made whole, then making threats against those who complain, aren’t the ways in which legitimate businessmen behave. It’s not how your crazy uncle behaves. It’s more sinister than that. Frankly, if Paladino is on speaking terms with Buffalo Rising and Business First, then those two outlets aren’t doing their jobs.  On principle, I don’t knowingly or intentionally do business with this person.  The rest of western New York, now knowing how he operates and how he treats his underlings and vendors, should do the same.  The same goes for anyone seeking or receiving political support or funding from him. Choices matter.

13 Responses to “Governor Material”

  1. k becker March 13, 2011 at 9:01 am #

    People who deserved to get paid got paid? Omg. He is an idiot. Is that how business works in his world? I think everyone his tenants should think long and hard about whether or not rent “deserves” to be paid. And there are probably nop contracts cause its buffalo and who would ever think that the guy running for governor could possibly be such a degenerate. Can we have him put away for delusional behavior? He is Clearly a threat to the health and well being of wny’s. Residents.

  2. mamacrat March 13, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    Well, if we are ranking worst of the worst, Jack Davis might be crazy but he pays his bills!

  3. Derek J. Punaro March 13, 2011 at 10:26 am #

    Shorter Carl Paladino:

  4. Tim Moran March 13, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    State of New York should retroactively reduce the rent payments to Ellicott Development going back 30 or so years. That should net the State a nice sum that can go to closing the budget gap!

  5. mark March 13, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    is it even news anymore when this maniac acts up? the people he stiffed will sue him, I’m sure his campaign is being investigated, he’s likely going broke & who really cares? I find it more newsworthy that a former PR man will bitch about waitresses tips but stays mum on a 40k debt owed to his firm?

  6. Mr. F.N. Magoo March 13, 2011 at 11:13 am #

    @mamacrat; Agreed. Jack may be a 1/2 bubble off plumb but he does seem honorable. My favorite part of all this is that the local GOP endorsed Carl and were either shamelessly ignorant of who he really is or just shamefully ignorant as a rule.

  7. Brian March 13, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    Shades of Jim Kelly’s bar going belly up:  the vendors got stiffed.  Paladino can’t even throw a touchdown pass.  As Leona Helmsley said, “Taxes are for little people.”  I guess multimillionaires don’t have to pay ANYBODY. 

  8. Buffalo Blood Donor March 13, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    Isn’t it odd, though, that the local newspaper would make this its Sunday headline? Given that campaigners do this all the time, I can only imagine that the Buffalo News has let its petty vendetta with Carl cloud their judgment as to what’s important.

    It is shocking, SHOCKING I tell you, that Carl doesn’t pay his bills. Such a revelation may be newsworthy, but page 1? C’mon.


  9. Patrick March 13, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    Isn’t it common place for campaigns to go bankrupt once they lose and therefore are relieved of their debts?

  10. Ward March 13, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

    Since we’re now doing followup hits on former political figures, any word how the “principled and honorable” Eric Massa is doing? Still suffering from his bogus cancer?

  11. RaChaCha March 13, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    I chortled upon seeing the full-page ad on the back of the front section of the Buffalo News Friday. An ad for the News reprints store, it was a full page of Zyglis’ Paladino cartoons from the election season last year. A walk down Crazy Carl memory lane.

    Many more cartoons are doubtless to come — Carl is a nonstop content font for cartoonists, bloggers, and investigative reporters — covering him is like a beat in itself. Ironic how much he hates the Buffalo News, yet never stops churning out grist for the mill.

  12. Fat Tony March 14, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

    After reading some of the Albany blogs today, it appears there might be another side to this story….Carl was getting taken to the cleaners by a bunch of con artists. Given all the players involved, I assume they were all screwing each other for their own gain…..what’s that about no honor among thieves?

  13. Bbill March 14, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

    Kinda like the Big Lebowski but with more cussin’

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