How Corwin’s Dream Team Screwed Paladino

13 May

Evidence of Fraud?

The brain trust behind the ridiculous Corwin “campaign” is facing its first real test right now. Chris Grant (a former guest poster on this site) and Nick Langworthy, the Erie County Republican chairman, are known throughout the region and state, respectively, as wunderkinds who brilliantly navigated candidates such as Jane Corwin, Chris Collins, and Chris Lee to victory. They were part of the team that incredibly secured the Republican nomination for unlikely nominee and email enthusiast Carl Paladino.

There’s just one problem with the mythology there. They’ve never faced a credible opponent.

Jeff Bono? Alice Kryzan? Rick Lazio? Jim Keane? The only one of those who broke 40% was Kryzan. Barely.

With this week’s poorly planned, and horribly executed, failed effort to “gotcha” Jack Davis, the Corwin campaign and those running it are looking quite clownish. It’s amateur hour when your tracker ends up sounding like this.

But Chris Grant and Nick Langworthy have a history of apparently screwing their candidate.

A tipster clued me in this week to a story dating back to the Paladino campaign that was never revealed publicly involving both of Corwin’s brain trust.  I asked around and the story snowballed from there.

In the days leading up to the Republican primary in 2010, Paladino and the tea party wing supporting him (the “Taxpayer Party” line) were backing Air Force veteran and decorated former CIA officer Gary Berntsen for Senate, not professional political strategist Jay Townsend. People close to the situation allege that Chris Collins’ Chief of Staff Chris Grant and Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy deceived Carl Paladino and misappropriated his money to print a palm card endorsing the wrong US Senate candidate, Jay Townsend. Grant and Langworthy are now helping to run Corwin’s awful campaign.

Paladino confidants I spoke with allege that both Langworthy and Grant knew full well that Paladino was supporting Gary Berntsen, but that they conspired behind Carl’s back with Nick Sinatra and Roger Stone to deliberately mislead conservatives and tea partiers throughout New York State into thinking that Carl backed Townsend instead.

With full knowledge that Paladino was backing Berntsen, former Rove aide Nick Sinatra – a longtime family friend of Paladino’s – went behind Carl’s back and plotted with Stone, Grant, and Langworthy to replace Berntsen’s name and image with Townsend’s on palmcards to be distributed by conservative and tea party groups throughout New York State. This email is the smoking gun:

The PDF attached to the email is the image at the top of this post.

Grant sent the palmcard to Langworthy, who sent it to Sinatra, who sent it to Stone and Paladino petitions guru and federal indictee John Haggerty for printing.  They were printed by Keller Brothers printing in Buffalo at a cost likely exceeding $5,000, which, if accurate, would make this a felony fraud.  Langworthy and Grant did not respond to emails asking for their side of the story, or some comment.

Feelings about this issue are still raw. TEA New York (Palinists) sent this out in March to their email list:

Commandos & Mercenaries

Former Iraq War commander Gary Berntsen has come out in full support of fellow veteran David Bellavia for the Special Election in the 26th CD.  We love David too, but are reticent to endorse, as the TEA Party doesn’t generally support third party candidates, for fear of splitting the line, and handing the seat to the least favorable of all contenders.  You’ll remember that Gary Berntsen was the US Senate candidate that opposed Chuckie Schumer, and was listed on the Taxpayer petition along with the rest of the Paladino team of candidates.  Well, a few people in Carl’s campaign, some paid, apparently fancied themselves independent political operatives and clandestine master manipulators, and spent a small fortune of Carl’s money WITHOUT HIS KNOWLEDGE OR APPROVAL, for a large lit drop naming Jay Townsend as the Paladino endorsed candidate.  We caught wind and squelched the effort as best we could, and Carl issued an urgent press release confirming Berntsen as the Paladino endorsed candidate.  But a Langworthy/GOP rally featuring Townsend along with Carl only served to reinforce support for Townsend, confuse others, and ultimately split the votes between Townsend and Berntsen.  Townsend was getting similar support from RINO leaders around state, and went on the win the Primary, but lost in the General Election. Bernsten got screwed by the Republicans, and now he has assembled a sizable army that have come up from Long Island to gather signatures for Bellavia.  At this writing, they have met the minimum, and are now exceeding the number of signatures needed to run a third line, which is called the Federalist Party.

Berntsen was instrumental in the effort to help Bellavia get on the ballot in NY-26, an effort that failed due to a lack of money and a concerted effort by the Republicans to threaten anyone and everyone associated with Bellavia. Paladino was first made aware of this fraud one day before the September 2010 primary by a tea party activist in Staten Island, who angrily called the Paladino campaign to complain about the Townsend replacement.  The palmcards had been sent by Sinatra.  The tea party – especially Berntsen’s core supporters at the Long Island Conservative Society for Action – was pissed, as was Paladino,  who immediately and publicly expressed his support for Berntsen.

Paladino did not, however, recall the palm cards, and thousands were passed out to voters throughout western New York, and around the state.  It’s quite possible that this clever trickery cost Berntsen the primary.  Most of these cards ended up here, where turnout in the Republican primary was huge.

After all, at the time, Paladino was assured by the apparent wrongdoers that this was all just a printing error; that it was inadvertent.  It wasn’t until the email shown above was revealed many months later that the deception became evident.

Calls to the FBI were met with the standard, “we can neither confirm nor deny” that there is – or was – an investigation into this fraud. Emails to Grant and Langworthy seeking comment sent Thursday morning were not returned.  I did confirm that the FBI interviewed Berntsen, as well as others involved in the deceit. The authenticity of the email shown above has been confirmed through several sources who worked closely with the Paladino campaign, and is not in dispute.

Jane Corwin’s campaign should watch its back, and make sure it closely guards its checkbook.  As we’ve learned through the Bellavia whisper campaign, the failed set-up of Jack Davis by Corwin and Michael Mallia, there is no level quite too low for these guys to stoop to.  This, folks, is your Erie County Republican Party. These are the Keystone Kops who will soon be running the Collins re-election campaign.

22 Responses to “How Corwin’s Dream Team Screwed Paladino”

  1. Rob May 13, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    Excellent work. And the Mallia = falling grape stomper lady was hilarious; I had forgotten about that YT.

  2. Bills Fan May 14, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    i) yawnii) it’s kind of a shame that an educated, relatively thoughtful guy spends so much time immersed in the nonsense of local politics. especially when you spend it immersed in trying to drudge up nonsense about the party you dislike. it’d be marginally better if you spent it trying to help the Dems by running or formulating innovative policy positions or something with some amount of intellectual value. 

    • Alan Bedenko May 14, 2011 at 10:14 am #

      The Republican trolls always write that when they have no response or excuse to propose. Maybe your batteries are dead.

      Anyhow, to type “yawn”, then to spend a bit of time criticizing me tends to moot the “yawn”. If it was really “yawn”, you’d have moved along.

  3. Mr. F.N. Magoo May 14, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    @Bills Fan: it’s kind of a shame that a…….guy spends so much time immersed in the nonsense of local politics. especially when you spend it immersed in trying to drudge up nonsense about the party you dislike…’d be marginally better if you spent it trying to help …. by running or formulating innovative policy positions or something with some amount of intellectual value.

    Admitted selective, partisan editing on my part

  4. Fritz May 14, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

    That Mike Caputo is a hell of a writer–Big tough Gary wouldn’t stand tall for Paladino when asked if he was Lazio or Carl on TV. The Paladino folks owed him nothing. Big tough Gary also produced ZERO petititons to get Carl on the ballot-after promising thousands.

    Caputo , the former Conservative now on the Cuomo payroll spinning this sh*t
    Hoculs husband must indict Caputo
    for soliticing a bribe when the special is over.
    Mike, they gotcha cold !

  5. Bills Fan May 14, 2011 at 9:55 pm #

    Republican trolls always write what exactly? 

    Let me make my position clear – Paladino seems like a scumbag. I’ve had limited personal interaction with him through business dealings and while I find his candor somewhat appealing, his politics are despicable and his penchant for suing/threatening everyone is ridiculous. The rest of the local bozos involved in the ‘tea party’ movement are an embarrassment to WNY. . . and adults really. They’re largely deadbeats with no educational background or intellectual rigor.  And all that is what makes your repeated exposes on these people seem like such a silly waste of time. 

    • Alan Bedenko May 16, 2011 at 10:39 am #

      Republican trolls like “Bills Fan”, a Republican troll if ever there was one, always write something like, “your candidate is so weak you can only post bad things about my candidate”. It’s a tired refrain, always trotted out when we manage to effectively harm a candidate’s campaign.

      As for your personal likes and dislikes and experiences, you’re anonymous, so no one really gives a shit.

  6. Mr. F.N. Magoo May 15, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    Oh, sweet, thick, syrupy irony. A teabagger linking to a progressive website to slam a Republican. How feeble does that make Corwin’s campaign appear?

  7. MamaNYS May 15, 2011 at 10:09 am #

    I became involved in the Tea Party Movement because both parties in my estimation have sold the American people for greed and self interests…The Tea Party Movement and Primary Challenge has afforded me to do something and not just complain….I can understand Sgt. Bellavia’s dissatisfaction and looking for solace somewhere…he deserved to be the Conservative-Republican candidate…unfortunately he sided with self-absorbed know-it-all sorry men who have no intention of listening to the people anymore than our representatives in government…the reason why I distanced myselves from them who call themselves the TPC. They are nothing of the such…I am so disappointed in these men and then to find Sgt. Bellavia being used by these people and Michael Caputo who I have lost total respect for reaks of POLITICS AS USUAL!!!! There is so much work to be done to take our country back and this fighting needs to stop…the TPC is NO TEA PARTY IN MY HUMBLE BOOK…They DO NOT REPRESENT ME OR MY VALUES…I stand with Tea NY and Primary Challenge has given me the opportunity to do something and not work dirty tricks and NOT MY VALUES OR CANDIDATES…TPC has been asked to work together, but their blatant high and mighty attitude has worked against them for people who are truly interested in changing our government…

  8. Mr. F.N. Magoo May 15, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    @MamaNYS: I see you write this “…then to find Sgt. Bellavia being used by these people and Michael Caputo ” and I read on TEANewYork “This letter was in actuality, probably written by former ineffective Paladino Campaign Manager Michael Caputo on behalf of David Bellavia, ” and I just have to ask you; who the fuck do you people think you are? Does every goddamned one of you hold David Bellavia is such low esteem that you think a guy who fought his way across Iraq can’t think for himself? What a bunch of arrogant shitheads.
    I don’t agree with his politics but Bellavia’s not the gullible idiot you condescending douchebags are trying to make him out to be.

  9. MamaNYS May 15, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

    Mr. Magoo…it’s unfortunate you use such a garbage mouth to speak your point…is it any wonder your affiliation with TCP is loosing it’s luster…when you talk in such a degrading manner you certainly do not have my attention…you obviously are happy in that little world…you radiate it!!!!

  10. Mr. F.N. Magoo May 15, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    @MamaNYS: “it’s unfortunate you use such a garbage mouth to speak your point” But you don’t argue the point. And I loose my luster every time I’m alone, thank you.
    You ain’t in Kansas, Dorothy.

  11. Bbill May 15, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    I became involved in the Tea Party Movement because both parties in my estimation have sold the American people for greed and self interests…

    In thirty years the concentration of wealth among the top one percent has gone from nine percent to 24 percent, puttin’ the big hurt on the middle class, maybe that’s what you’re referring to? Unfortunately, the teabagger financing structure exists solely to promote and exacerbate that trend. Could be they played you for a rube.

  12. Michael Caputo May 15, 2011 at 6:42 pm #

    There are many intelligent and nice people in the Tea Party. I’ve worked with them and appreciate their hard work and devotion to principle. But here’s my challenge to you toxic types who are in the movement only because we have a black President: if you have me cold on this bogus “solicitation of a bribe” claptrap, BRING IT.

    Put up or shut up, idiots.

    Yeah, that’s what I thought. Birther. 911 Truther. Grassy knoll mower. Racist.

    If you think I’m working for Cuomo you are too stupid to understand politics, proven by how easily you were tricked into supporting Jane Corwin “The Conservative.” (Oh look! Something shiny!) Buffalo’s rich and powerful have totally taken over your movement – without firing a shot. I’ve been electing freedom-loving candidates around the world since before you learned how to spell conservative – and certainly since before you got your new set of teeth. You’re better off sticking to your coloring books and trying to stay inside the lines.

    I worked nine months, 24/7 for both Gary and Carl; I hate that Buffalo’s rich and powerful took advantage of both of them. Meanwhile, you sat at your keyboards and did NOTHING but bicker and pound your chests. So strap on your tin foil hats and begone, fools.

  13. Mr. F.N. Magoo May 15, 2011 at 6:56 pm #

    Perhaps this is a sign that May 21st really will be the end.
    Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
    Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…
    The dead rising from the grave!
    Human sacrifice, liberals and tea partiers joining together… mass hysteria!

  14. Hank May 16, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    Not trying to take up for “Bills Fan” Alan, but in the world of business marketing, where the entire premise is to make people want to buy your product, your message can wreck your business.

    Back when you were a little shaver, Burger King decided to mock McDonald’s as a means to gain more of the burger business. Burger King employees sitting on a swing saying “Hi Mc Donalds” and degrading Mc Donald’s actually caused a drop in their sales.

    Instead of extolling the virtues of Burger King (burgers dressed to order,etc) they decided to beat up on Mc Donald’s. Epic FAIL.

    A new campaign, the “have it your way” one, increased their sales.

    I think that’s what Bills Fan is driving at. If your candidate is so much better, and your Party is so much better, why do we not see posts extolling the strengths of the Democratic candidates and the apparatus that supports them, instead of the constant harping on the competition. From your descriptions, they’re all a bunch of ignorant shit-heads (which they may be), that a Democrat could beat without even spending money. So why fixate your diatribes on them ? If the R’s are such small potatoes (which they may indeed be), you sure waste a lot of effort berating them. And your message comes off like some sandbox shit instead of an intelligent post.

  15. Mr. F.N. Magoo May 17, 2011 at 8:44 am #

    Shorter Hank version: I’m more clever than you and can trick you into not going after my side.

  16. SusanMary&Joseph May 19, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

    “why do we not see posts extolling the streghts of the Democratic candidates and the “apparatus that supports them”?  in the Hochul household that “apparatus” is the taxpayer.

  17. rastamick May 20, 2011 at 8:58 pm #

    Wow this has been like a who’s who of the comments section. I am admittedly torn and a little teary. Good to hear the lads getting after it. Peace and I’ll see you all in hell for dinner tomorrow. 


  1. How Corwin’s Dream Team Screwed Paladino | Naples TEA Party Patriots - May 14, 2011

    […] Read the entire item […]

  2. Bellavia’s Confusing Diatribe | TEANewYork - May 15, 2011

    […] Before you lift a finger to help these two anti-veteran Corwin advisers manipulate this election, too, be sure to read the whole story here: […]

  3. NY26: Bellavia’s Confusing Diatribe | Suffolk County Liberty Report - May 15, 2011

    […] Before you lift a finger to help these two anti-veteran Corwin advisers manipulate this election, too, be sure to read the whole story here: […]

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