Tag Archives: Caputo

Caputo, Herr to Helm PoliticsNY.net

13 Dec

 

As reported moments ago by Bob McCarthy, the former Joe Illuzzi site (politicsny.net) will relaunch in January 2013, and will be written by Southtowns-based Republican strategist Michael Caputo and moderate Democratic teacher and blogger, Pete Herr. It will be a departure from the previous owner’s muckraking and paid character assassination and will combine a mix of reporting and commentary from across the political spectrum. Congratulations to them in their new venture. 

Follow Caputo and Herr on Twitter. 

 

Caputo Arrested

12 Mar

I saw this weird article about former Paladino campaign manager Michael Caputo and his 70-something father getting arrested for “speeding” by, among others, an Orchard Park detective in an unmarked cruise, and it jogged my memory.

A source close to the Paladino campaign had warned us at WNYMedia.net some time ago that the former gubernatorial candidate intended to try and have me and Marc Odien arrested on bogus charges. Supposedly, his security people had illegally and improperly obtained personal and financial information on us, and an AP reporter whom they didn’t like. Interesting also because apparently Paladino owns property in Orchard Park.

Obviously, nothing ever happened, but the coincidence is palpable. *Shrugs*.

It’s All About the Spending

9 Mar

Head over to DailyKos to read this story about the how Carl Paladino’s former campaign manager, Michael Caputo became a pariah in the tea party movement in New York. You’ll recall Caputo called on New York’s tea party groups to support Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget, arguing that

…if you don’t support the conservative policies of a Democratic governor, you have no credibility to criticize the liberal things he does…

Naturally, this means that the mouth-breathing wing of the tea party is accusing Caputo of being a Cuomo agent while working his ass off all spring, summer, and fall to elect Paladino. Well, probably lots of Paladino’s campaign workers and vendors were Cuomo agents, right?  Maybe that’s why a lot of them haven’t yet been paid by a campaign that ended 4 months ago.  Caputo says,

For every 50 to 100 Tea Party folks who are there for Constitutional principles, one is there simply because we elected a black President. There are wonderful, incredible people in the movement. But when we were at a Tea Party event in Broome County, a leader of that local Tea Party got close in the bar and, to me, quietly made a threat to the President.

(Re: some tea partiers’ charge that Cuomo is paying him) The charge is atrocious. But conspiracy theories are common in the Tea Party. I’m just happy to have one named after me.

Seems like a trend among the fiscally conservative, as the diner where the tea partiers held their confab asked them never to come back.  The reason?

It was the Tea Party, because they stiffed the waiters.

They left a less-than-10 percent tip and the manager went over and said, “We would appreciate it if you don’t come back.” I saw the waitresses. They were visibly upset, because they had been working like crazy, and the Tea Party folks stiffed them.

In any event, get your popcorn out and enjoy the never-ending tea party drama. Hey guys, tell me again about Obama’s birth certificate!

Paladino’s Conundrum

31 Mar

If I was a Republican in New York State, I’d be pretty ticked off, too, by the late entry of unlikely candidate Stephen Levy, the Democratic Suffolk County Executive, into the race.  Lazio has been running for governor for over a year, and if nothing else, he’s a dedicated Republican.  Levy’s a late switcher, and the whole thing reeks of desperation.

(I don’t know how the mustachioed Democrat from Long Island is meant to defeat the Cuomo juggernaut, but then I don’t make Ed Cox money).

But forget Republicans – we have a genuine tea party candidate announcing next Monday. Noted Buffalo professional loudmouth and sometime developer Carl Paladino is running as a real Republican; right down to the fact that he’s got Roger Stone’s BFF Michael Caputo as campaign manager.  They’ve gone the whole mockery route, essentially ignoring Lazio and instead running guns-a-blazing against Levy.

Don’t ignore the Cox/Stone Nixon connection.  There’s also allegations of a quid pro quo whereby Cox threw Levy the nod in exchange for his son, Chris Cox, getting support for an unlikely congressional run in Suffolk County.

Paladino would have you believe he’s a lifelong conservative Republican.  A guy so politically principled, with tea party credentials so pure, that he’s mocking Steve Levy’s recent Democratic past, and his support of Sheldon Silver’s Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee. Naturally, a good tea party candidate includes Biblical language implying that Cox and Levy are not unlike Judas; 30 pieces of silver was Judas’ payoff for betraying Jesus to the Romans.

But since Paladino is blasting Levy as being a Johnny-come-lately to the Republican fold, what about his own contributions and electoral history?

As Chris Smith reports, Paladino was a registered Democrat between 1974 – 2005.  He switched in late October 2005, coincidentally just a week or so before Byron Brown won election as Mayor of the City of Buffalo.  Paladino was tight with Tony Masiello.  With Brown’s election imminent, he switched parties.

Paladino was a big Helfer backer in 2005. In fact, the Brown campaign attacked Helfer for his very close ties to Kevin Helfer, whom Paladino employed to run BCAR.

But you can’t just erase a 30-year history as a loyal Democrat and generous donor to Democratic candidates and causes.  Including the dreaded  Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee that Paladino now berates Steve Levy for having donated to.

Levy’s donations to the DACC amount to a paltry $650 since 1999.

But Paladino’s donated – and continues to donate – quite generously to Democratic candidates. From Chris’ post:

Staats Street Group, Inc. has given nearly $5,000 to local and statewide Democrats, including $150 to the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee, which Paladino uses as evidence that Levy is really a Democrat.

Swan Group LP, has given nearly $27,000 to various Democrats, including Robin Schimminger, Byron Brown, Brian Higgins, the New York State Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee, Erie County Democratic Party (ECDC), Len Lenihan, Jim Keane, and Dennis Gabryszak.

Mohawk Group LP, has given $9,600 to Democrats including David Paterson, Mark Poloncarz, Sam Hoyt, the ECDC and the Lackawanna Democratic Committee.

Niagara Group, LP has given $4,790 to local and statewide Democrats including Spitzer for Attorney General, Higgins, Dan Ward, Paul Tokasz, Hoyt and the ECDC.

Slade Group, LLC has given $10,500 to corrupt former candidate for Erie County Executive Paul Clark.

Michigan/Seneca Group, LP has given $14,750 to local and statewide Democrats including Spitzer for Attorney General, Paul Clark, Len Lenihan, the ECDC, Denise O’Donnell, Higgins, Paterson and Spitzer for Governor.

8246 Group, LP has given $6,600 to local and statewide Democrats including the ECDC, Spitzer, Paul Clark and Jim Keane.

2468 Group, LP has given $13,600 to local and statewide Democrats including Hoyt, Higgins, Denise O’Donnell, the ECDC, Jim Keane, Carl McCall,  Spitzer, Paul Clark, and Crystal Peoples.

Ellicott Development has given over $12,500 to local and statewide Democrats including Denise O’Donnell, Gary Parenti, Joe Nicoletti and Spitzer

Ellicott Group has given $700 to local Democrats including Hoyt and Higgins.

Ellicott Group, LLC has given $1,200 to local Democrats including the ECDC.

Ellicott Group A Partnership has given $5,600 to local Democrats including the ECDC, Hoyt, Paterson and Mickey Kearns.

JP Group has donated nearly $20,000 to local and statewide Democrats including Spitzer, Bonnie Russell, the ECDC, Paul Clark, Alan Hevesi, Lynn Marinelli and Joe Mesi.

Jefferson Utica Group, LP has given $1,200 to local Democrats.

9274 Group, LP (Who by the way have won 62 GSA contracts for a total of $738,171 in government money) has given $4,200 to local Democrats.

Paladino and his various shell companies and associations have donated over $135,000 to Democratic candidates since 2000, including several hundred dollars for Sheldon Silver’s Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee.  We’d have to consult paper records to go further back than that.

The appeal of the tea party movement is that it attracts and energizes people who believe themselves to be disenfranchised or otherwise ignored by government. Paladino is the consummate insider. He knows all the players. He donates generously to his favored candidates – to the people who will best help him and his businesses. He is not a principled player but a fundamentally transactional one.

Just look above at the various legally constituted entities he uses to donate money to candidates. He can donate far, far above the individual or corporate maximum by peppering his donations across several entities. It’s an insider’s trick, designed to maximize influence and minimize public scrutiny. (No one’s heard of “Niagara Group, LP”, for instance).

He can play conservative make-believe all he wants, but he can’t change the past. No matter how he explains the difference between “gun owners” and “sportsmen”.

And turning back again to the party switch in 2005, Paladino has been relentlessly critical of the Brown Administration. Of course, Brown has decided that Rocco Termini is his local developer of choice, thus shunting Paladino off to the side. I have no doubt that this:

…has nothing to do with a change in political belief and ideology and everything to do with the imminent Masiello exit and Brown entry, and quite likely the difference in how the Brown administration handled the downtown casino issue. (Read: stopped using Paladino to help negotiate on the city’s behalf with the Senecas). It’s no secret that Carl Paladino is the owner of all that attractive surface parking in the Cobblestone near where the permanent casino is supposed to go.

But in the end, this exchange from an interview Artvoice’s Bruce Jackson conducted with Carl Paladino is quite telling:

CP: I’m on your side on that one, Mr. Jackson. Totally. We could have protected ourselves, but they didn’t do it. And your buddy Byron Brown—

BJ: My buddy?

CP: Yeah, your buddy. He’s a liberal. He’s a liberal like you are. They’re your buddies.

BJ: Aren’t you a liberal? What are you?

CP: You tell me: How was that deal made?

BJ: What are you?

CP: I don’t know what I am. I’m a whatever. I don’t care. Any way you want to define me.

That was in 2006. Just four years later, Paladino has morphed from left-leaning transactional political player to right-leaning transactional political player. But he’s not in any position to accuse others of not passing a political purity test.