Tag Archives: Gary Berntsen

Household Help to Remove Corwins’ Sour Grapes?

6 Jul

Corwin? More like Cor-LOSE...

Both major political parties in western New York, it seems, are going through some upheaval. The Democrats have been fractured into oft-warring factions since time immemorial, but a massive push by Governor Cuomo to broker peace has been largely successful, at least for the current election cycle. There has been some grumbling, but when the most popular governor in America tells you to knock it off, you probably will.

On the other hand, the Republicans are just now getting a taste of what “disunity” means. Chris Collins is a wholly unliked and unlikable personality, and his brain trust just got through handing Jane Corwin an incredible, epic loss to a Democrat in Tom Reynolds’ hand-made NY-26. The strife was on full display during this past weekend’s Hardline program on WBEN, with Dave Debo hosting former Erie County Executive (and no friend of Collins’) Joel Giambra, Artvoice’s Geoff Kelly, Rus Thompson by phone to talk tea party, and Michael Caputo, Paladino campaign manager also by phone to talk about how Collins’ people screwed Batavia Iraq War veteran David Bellavia.

The discussion was touched off by this Buffalo News article and this commentary, written by Caputo and posted to WBEN.com. Caputo made the point that, in his opinion, the young guys running the Erie County GOP and Collins’ campaign apparatus are blatantly anti-veteran, pointing to their treatment of Gary Berntsen in 2010, and David Bellavia in 2011.

After Caputo emailed a link to the WBEN commentary to his contact list, he received the following email from Assemblywoman Jane Corwin’s husband, Phil. (Phil is the treasurer for the Collins campaign):

On Tue, Jul 5, 2011 at 3:40 PM, philcorwin1@__.com wrote:
Michael,David Bellavia is a spoiled child who didn t get his way. I ve watched his public temper tantrum with disgust. He is also a liar who distorted my wife’s voting record. For the record she was the best candidate endorsed by Republican, Conservative, and Indepence parties based on her record in the Assembly, involvement in the Community and private sector job creation. David is a war hero and we all acknowledge it and respect him for his service but that doesn’t automatically make him a good person or a qualified candidate.

Take me off your email list and get a fucking life!

Phil Corwin

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

How about that! A demand that Caputo “get a fucking life” from an unemployed Range Rover Republican millionaire in the Chris Lee inheritance-mold. Remember: when Corwin says that Bellavia “didn’t get his way”, what that translates into is: Bellavia was promised the Republican nomination by Nick Langworthy in 2008 in exchange for Bellavia’s exit from the NY-26 race and endorsement of Chris Lee, along with a promise from Tom Reynolds that Langworthy would set up a PAC for that very reason. Seems as if Bellavia held up his end of the bargain, but the party apparatchiks lied. Twice, minimum. Phil Corwin likens Bellavia’s reaction to that breach an agreement to a “temper tantrum”.

Seems like he should know.

In response, Caputo sent the following to Mr. Corwin:

Phil:Until this email I thought you were a good guy, that you and your wife were just poorly served by a childish group of gutless punk kids. I believed you were above all the dirty tricks and so did David. But I was wrong: now I know you were a part of it, and you disgust me.Don’t tell me what David Bellavia said about Jane’s record; I know precisely what he said. He was truthful at all times, albeit in opposition. You have clearly never been in a competitive campaign because your sensitive skin is chafing.I know you don’t understand the honor and integrity inherent in a veteran’s service: you never deigned to serve your country. Many of us did that for you. We feel a man who is decorated for heroism – for taking bullets for your family, for watching his men die for your family, for holding the head of a friend as he gasped his last breath for your family – is far above the crap you, your wife and your sick allies in the Erie GOP pulled on him.

In fact, now that I know you and Jane were clearly behind all the dirty tricks, it may be time for a primary in Assembly District 142.

When a man fuels his campaign with integrity, he becomes the target of those who have none…

…Click on the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of your email. Most folks understand that’s the easy and legal way to stop political mail, protected speech under the First Amendment. Maybe your butler can show you.

Finally, keep your foul language to yourself; it reveals your education. You’ve already shown your patriotism.

Don’t poke bears, Phil. They bite.

Sincerely,
Michael Caputo

There’s a battle being waged for the heart and soul of the local Republican Party – a war brought by those who see the Collins camp as dishonorable and led by a bunch of incompetents. Could Collins get his come-uppance this year due to his own hubris?

UPDATE: I inadvertently wrote that Phil Corwin is an “unemployed Range Rover Republican”. This ignores the fact that Mr. Corwin has an office on the 16th floor of the Manor Rath Building, as a Director of Noblesse-Oblige Vice-Chairman of the Erie County IDA. Even though he’s a dollar-a-year type of guy, he is not technically “unemployed” and reports directly to the man for whom he is the re-election campaign treasurer.

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.