Tag Archives: scandal

Chris Lee: Craigslist Dating: UPDATED: LEE RESIGNS!

9 Feb

Chris Lee seems to be up to some shenanigans, and Gawker has the details. Oh, my goodness – what is GOING ON with my congressional representative?

What is it with local Buffalo-area Republican politicians and their emails?

David DiPietro Emails Carl Paladino #SD59

15 Oct

About a week ago, the following email chain was  begun by a Grand Island-based tea party activist named Mike Madigan (it was sent to me and a variety of other local media and business types):

To which Tea Party State Senate candidate David DiPietro (SD-59) replied – to all…

Whoa-whoa-whoa. “Please remove me from your distribution list.” Now? Why now?

David DiPietro is Carl Paladino’s friend, right? Paladino is credited as having convinced DiPietro to run for the Volker seat again. Why, they even share lawnsigns – that DiPietro paid for – throughout the 59th State Senate district.

That alliance – and friendship – is likely strained now in light of Paladino’s 11th-hour endorsement of Jim Domagalski in the Republican primary for SD-59. It was a very public rift, publicly embarrassing DiPietro, and revealed more about Paladino’s opportunistic character than any “abortion clinic landlord” story or “gay club landlord” story ever could.

So, now at long last David DiPietro doesn’t want to know from Carl Paladino’s emails, and he wants this entire recipient list to know it.

Yet David DiPietro wasn’t always so displeased to be on Carl Paladino’s email distribution list. In fact, on at least two occasions, he contributed to it.

Nestled amidst Carl Paladino’s many salacious, racist, and equestrian emails disclosed to WNYMedia.net were two that were forwarded to Carl by his erstwhile friend, tea party candidate for SD-59, David DiPietro.

DiPietro’s political rhetoric is informed by a hodgepodge of anarcho-capitalist libertarian, anti-immigrant, right-wing conservogabber philosophies.  He hates Barack Obama almost as much as he hates Jim Domagalski and Pat Gallivan.

So much so, in fact, that DiPietro forwarded an email accusing President Obama of being a Muslim. DiPietro sent the email, entitled “Heeza Muzzlim…that’s why” to a small handful of people, including Carl Paladino. Carl, in turn, sent the email to an unknown set of emails hidden behind a bcc. The email itself:

As with most emails such as these, people who don’t know how to use email or the internet tend to forget to check Snopes (or Factcheck.org) before forwarding hateful, untrue, utter nonsense to their friends.  Snopes has an entry for the above-shown email, and describes it as FALSE.

Obama didn’t go to Saudi Arabia during that trip. He didn’t go to any of the small handful of countries in the entire world that are governed by Sharia Law, which differs from culture to culture. Even if he had, there is no prohibition in Sharia law against wives accompanying their husbands on trips, and Sharia law wouldn’t apply to a visiting dignitary like Obama, anyway. Oh, also – Obama isn’t Muslim.

It’s amazing that dumb Obama-muslim-secret-sleeper-agent nonsense is circulated at all, and even more so when it’s being shared approvingly between public political figures.

The second email forwarded by DiPietro to Paladino, which the gubernatorial candidate later forwarded to his email list, contained a powerpoint presentation that is more or less NSFW.

The Powerpoint is stupid and juvenile. It features jokes about the relative attractiveness of French women vs. American women, it jokes about the female form vs. the male form, it jokes about French promiscuity and Moroccan bestiality, and it makes an asinine joke about women shopping and men masturbating, featuring images of kids. I have modified the slideshow to redact female breasts and male genitalia.

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I wrote to DiPietro on Wednesday, and sent the following email:

Please note that your response may be used in a WNYMedia.net post. If you have no response, I may note that, as well.

Regarding the emails discussed below, the questions I have are as follows:

1. Why did you wait until _now_ to ask Carl Paladino to remove you from his email list? Why did you feel compelled to hit “reply to all”?
2. Do you think that President Barack Obama is a Muslim?
3. Do you think that the “Brilliant” powerpoint presentation, showing mild female nudity, makes a joke about bestiality, and shows a woman’s bare breasts, capped off with pictures of toddlers is in good taste? Does it comport with the ideals of the tea party movement?
4. Regarding your request that Carl remove you from his email list dated 10/12/10, you were only too happy to be the sender and recipient of pornographic and propagandistic nonsense in 2008 and 2009 (I only highlight the materials you forward to Carl below – you received many more). Why didn’t you opt out before?
5. On your campaign site, you state that the Park51 community center is “destructive to the moral fiber of the United States”. What about pictures of naked kids and perpetuating lies about the President ?

Of the many emails that were disclosed to WNYMedia.net from Carl Paladino’s sordid emailing history, two of them were emails that you had forwarded to Carl. One contained a pornographic powerpoint presentation entitled “Brilliant”, the last frame of which shows a boy, maybe 1 year old, holding a remote control in one hand, and his penis in the other. The header appears as follows… (omitted)…

…The other, entitled “Heeza Muzzlim, that’s why”, which you forwarded to Paladino on 12/12/09, contains the following text: (see above)

DiPietro has not responded to that email.

Paladinoporn.com (NSFW)

13 Oct

Over the past few weeks, Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino has staked out a position as a candidate whose values and morals are informed by his Catholic faith.  In a speech he delivered to a group of supporters on Sunday October 10th, specifically discussing homosexuality, he said, “we must stop pandering to the pornographers and the perverts who seek to target our children and destroy their lives.”

Back in April, WNYMedia.net posted 8 emails received from an anonymous source – each of those emails was either obscene or racist, and the emails were forwarded by candidate Paladino to large numbers of prominent western New York businessmen and politicians. Now that morality, religion, and pornography have been introduced to the gubernatorial race by Mr. Paladino, WNYMedia.net is releasing more – previously unreleased – emails that Paladino has forwarded to his friends and colleagues.  These emails coincide with the unveiling of the Paladino Porn website. They are wildly NSFW. These include:

1. October 2009 email including a video of a young woman in pigtails engaging in sexual acts. Mr. Paladino wrote that the video is “awesome”.

2. August 2009 email entitled, “Russian Beauty” showing a woman masturbating and expressing breast milk onto a glass window and table.

3. October 2009 email depicting two young women engaging in lesbian sex.  Mr. Paladino wrote that the video is “awesome”.

4. November 2009 email featuring softcore porn images of a nude woman posing.  Mr. Paladino wrote that the images were for “andy, this is better”, apparently referencing an earlier email.

5. January 2010 email showing a woman receiving a bikini wax, entitled, “I found my retirement job! xxx”

6. November 2008 email including a video from “fistflush.com” of a woman engaging in sex acts with a bunch of bananas, entitled, “Chiquita Bananas…xxx careful”.

7. November 2008 email entitled, “squirter” depicting a male and female engaging in sex acts.

As with the emails revealed in April, we have confirmed the authenticity of these emails and are positive that Mr. Paladino forwarded them to others.  Like the earlier emails, these are degrading to, and objectify, women.

The voters of the state of New York – especially the alleged “values” voters who support Paladino because he purports to share their traditional, orthodox views on sexuality – should be perfectly clear about whom they’re supporting.

In criticizing the very idea of marriage equality, Paladino inserted “pornography” and “perverts” into that discussion.  The next day, he went to great lengths to defend his statements before ultimately, uncharacteristically apologizing for them and blaming the media.

As Paladino claims what a friend he is to the gay community, we remind you that he is also neither enemy nor stranger to pornography and perversion.

You cannot claim that gay marriage will cheapen or harm the institution of marriage if you, yourself, have carried on an affair and fathered a child out of wedlock.

You cannot claim that you are opposed to pornography when you email inbox and outbox is so jam-packed with it.

You cannot claim the moral high ground whilst crawling through the gutter.

Because of his hypocrisy, his phony morals, his poor judgment, and his willingness to separate, rather than unite New Yorkers of every color, creed, religion, ethnicity, and sexual identity, we don’t think that Carl Paladino deserves to be the Governor of the State of New York.

Mayor Brown’s Reaction to NRP Accusations

2 Jul

Allegations have been leveled against the Brown Administration that it required a prospective Cleveland-based developer of rental properties on Buffalo’s East Side to pay off some of Brown’s supporters and allies for the privilege. Basically, racketeering. At this point, Here’s what the Mayor had to say about it.

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Thick Skin

18 Apr

Carl Paladino’s going to go to Albany and shake things up. He’s the man to do it because:

Well, “values” have been covered. Literally ad nauseum.

But according to this report from Jim Heaney, which reveals that Paladino earns $10.1 million per year from at least 37 state leases and contracts, and has received at least $12 million in tax breaks since 2003, and this associated blog post, he’s no populist, and his skin is thinner than that of any other contemporary politician, ever.

The report is, to me, most significant in showing that the influence Mr. Paladino had with the Masiello Administration to shape Empire Zone boundaries downtown to his great benefit. Influence like that comes at a price.

“Mad as hell” populist, my ass.

Also, as for “thick skin”, just check out this email string that Heaney posted (.doc). Can you imagine Cuomo, Levy, or Lazio completely shutting out a major newspaper’s reporter because they were butthurt about his factual reporting? I can’t. Usually, campaigns roll with the good stories and bad, and maintain contacts with big media because they recognize that the press and the candidate need each other. I suspect that Mr. Caputo doesn’t have control of his client.

Reader Questions on Paladino

17 Apr

I don’t want to beat a dead horse (pun intended), but I’ve received dozens of comments and questions from readers about the Carl Paladino situation and I wanted to address a few of them.  Each question has been edited for profanity, grammar and/or spelling.  I can’t stand reading angry rants from 8th graders, so I edited the questions to make them readable.

Question 1: “Why did you feel the public needed to know this information?”

Answer: In a gubernatorial election, the judgment and actions of a candidate are important. This was not “ribaldry” shared over a barstool or racy emails sent between friends.

These emails contain highly racist words and imagery as well as bestiality videos. I don’t know what email lists you’re on, but if you received a graphic video of a horse performing anal sex to completion on a woman, would you send it along to a hundred of your acquaintances with an encouragement to check it out? If so, keep me off your list.

If Carl had simply been a recipient of these emails, we would have protected his identity much like we did with those to whom he sent them. However, Carl put his imprimatur on those messages and the contents therein by forwarding them along to hundreds of people. He even added comments sharing his pleasure with viewing them. When confronted by friends via email about the graphic nature of the emails, Carl responded dismissively to their concerns.  This demonstrates bad judgment and is certainly newsworthy now that Carl is a candidate for public office.

In the office he seeks, he’ll be entrusted with the safety, well-being and fiscal stewardship of one of our country’s largest states.  So, yes, it’s newsworthy.

Question 2: “Why did you decide to launch this smear campaign against Carl on the day of the tea party express?  How long did you sit on those emails before publishing?

Answer: We didn’t decide to “launch” anything.  A recipient of Carl’s emails forwarded them to us and we then took our time verifying their origin, researching the recipients, checking out the sender and performed necessary due diligence prior to publication.  We don’t take matters like this lightly.  When we satisfied our internal standards with a final corroboration on Saturday, we agreed amongst ourselves to publish the article.  We published it on a Monday that’s our busiest day for web traffic.

Also, posting facts germane to current events is not a “smear campaign”.  We did not allege that Mr. Paladino is a racist or a pornographer, we said he had sent racist and pornographic emails.  Nuance, catch the fever.

Question 3: “Why didn’t you call Carl Paladino for a comment prior to publication?”

Answer: Because I don’t like to juxtapose my facts with his opinion.  I have a pile of facts, why do I need Carl to provide spin for my audience?  He has his own outlets, a web site, facebook, twitter, a press team and messaging consultants.  His response would be forthcoming, that’s how the world works.

Question 4: “Do you think Carl is a bad person?”

Answer: I don’t know the answer to that question as I don’t know Carl well enough to make a judgment on his personal character.

However, the facts indicate the following:

  • Carl Paladino is making an effort to downplay/hide his lifelong registration as a Democratic voter while excoriating a fellow Republican candidate for making a party switch.
  • He has established two dozen shell corporations to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates.  He established those companies to work around those pesky limits on corporate campaign donations.
  • As one of the biggest landlords to government agencies in New York State, Paladino has made tens of millions of dollars suckling from the teat of government largess (while violently opposing the largess in his frequent public pronouncements).  I guess he means the largess which doesn’t benefit him directly.
  • He has cheated on his wife (an issue which he publicly stated disqualified Paterson and Spitzer from public service) and fathered a child out of wedlock.
  • He has forwarded hundreds of patently offensive videos, photos, slideshows and links to people which violate state obscenity laws and demonstrate poor judgment.

I leave it to you to judge his character.

Question 5: “Does Carl have a chance to win and if you don’t think so, why spend this much time tearing him down?”

Answer: No, he doesn’t have a chance to win.  I’ll delve into why that is over the weekend.  However, WNYMedia.net is not tearing Carl Paladino down.  The big, bad media and the liberal elites are not out to get him.  This is part of the public vetting process any candidate goes through when they enter the public arena.  That this process has turned into a public relations tire fire for the Paladino campaign is not our problem, it’s of his own making.

In a campaign, there is an examination of a candidate’s personal history, their corporate dealings, their voting history and their political contributions.  An evaluation of their leadership style is also undertaken through interviews and background stories with the candidate as well as his acquaintances, friends, employees, allies and enemies.  The public has a right to know what a candidate’s past says about him.   We don’t have to swallow the narrative written by his campaign team, he has a history and voters need to make educated choices.  This is who Carl is.

Everything that has been published here or in other outlets are public facts or information which have been made available to us by the candidate or sources close to the candidate during the first week of the campaign.

The Pushback

13 Apr

Let’s address some of the narratives that have popped up in the last 48 hours to defend or excuse the issues of Carl Paladino’s email forwards.

1. We are just being the PC police. The corrolary of this particular tack is that we, as revolutionary Marxists left liberals should be tolerant of – or otherwise embrace – the sending of sexually explicit or racist emails.

Which has become the bigger, more tired cliche? Political correctness, or accusing someone of political correctness? Seriously, PC is so 1980s. We have been a post-PC society for years now.

Because spreading around emails containing the “n” word, or forwarding a video of a woman having sex with a horse has nothing to do with whether it’s “politically correct”. It has to do with common decency. Any reaction to bestiality that doesn’t start with “nau” and end in “sea” calls a lot of things into question.

2. This is a Democratic smear campaign by the liberal media elites.

It’s rich when a guy with an estimated net worth of $150 million accuses a blog of being an “elite”. It’s hilarious when a guy who has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to political candidates accuses anyone of being a well-connected elite. The word smear implies that there’s falsity behind the accusation. The ACORN videos from 2009 were a smear job. This isn’t. Carl Paladino brought this on himself. He doesn’t deny sending them, and he admits that he did the email forwards because he found them to be funny.

3. Carl is only human – who among us hasn’t looked at weird stuff on the internet?

The internet is a rich wonderland of horse-on-woman sex and other really really awful crap. Some people go looking for it, others don’t. Paladino admits that he would forward along emails he thought were funny, that he thought the recipients would also find funny. I love a good joke, but I fail to find the humor in that. I haven’t watched two girls one cup, either.

4. This is a distraction from the underlying issues of cleaning up Albany.

On this we can all agree. The problem is this, however. The only credible candidate in the last generation who has actually spoken seriously about making structural, fundamental changes to Albany is Tom Suozzi, and he had the misfortune of running against the inevitable Governor Spitzer. Albany has been on a path towards its current dysfunction for years, and there is not one particular political party that is to blame – they are both, all, to blame. And what did candidate Paladino propose? Across the board tax and spending cuts. That’s swell, but that’s putting a Band Aid on an amputation.

5. Carl is being victimized.

Carl Paladino says that his HQ received a death threat or bomb threat yesterday, prompting the Ellicott Square Building to be evacuated. Without knowing more, we can take Paladino at his word on that point. That someone called in a bomb threat or death threat is somewhat unheard-of in this town, in this day and age, with respect to a political candidate, but let’s run with it. I am, however, equally inclined to believe that this is, as Liz Benjamin put it, Michael Caputo’s “upping the ante” strategy. The email issue won’t go away, so let’s (a) manufacture a distraction that will; (b) make Paladino seem like a victim. Sheer genius, I tell you.

The Day of Neigh

13 Apr

Gosh, for a liberal media elite, we’ve got very little to show for it.

I’m writing this post in OSX’s textedit program because WNYMedia.net was down more often than it was up on Monday in the wake of our blockbuster, possibly campaign-ending, release of outrageous emails sent by Carl Paladino.

The day ended with disingenuousness and desperate subject-changing by the Republican gubernatorial candidate from Buffalo.

To any of the ladies I’ve offended, I apologize. I say this to the men out there who have never opened a graphic image on the Internet: Don’t vote for me. For those who have, I welcome your vote.

Ah, but it’s not about opening graphic images on the internet. It’s more about sending horsefucking videos around town. Seriously, that is a video that I cannot ever unsee. I only wish that I could.

It’s a bit much to listen to Paladino to plead how he’s just human – let he who hasn’t forwarded a horsefucking video cast the first stone!  Yet just a week or so ago, his own campaign website listed Governor Paterson’s past marital difficulties as evidence of Albany corruption.  It was taken down after news of his own affair was made public last Sunday in the News.  You can’t have it both ways.

(Obviously, we obtained the emails thanks to Microsoft’s email tracking software, which is still in beta).

The post was up in the morning, and by noon it had been picked up by Balloon Juice, Talking Points Memo (twice), Little Green Footballs, the Daily News’ Daily Politics, and the Times Union’s Capitol Confidential. Elizabeth Benjamin’s inaugural day at Capital Tonight included news of Carl’s emails. Shortly after that, it was on Daily Kos, Open Left, Digby, Raw Story, the Buffalo News, the New York Post, Media Matters, New York Magazine, Gothamist, and myriad other blogs, sites, and other media outlets. (Like Gawker, HuffPo, Wonkette, CBS, and even this).

Even at the “Tea Party Express III” bus tour merchandizing jamboree this morning, Paladino was forced to address the issue.

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By the late afternoon, the campaign had issued a statement, held a hastily-arranged news conference where Paladino was quite obviously told what to say, and by the evening it was on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, and Paladino’s campaign was blaming the non-existent Cuomo for Governor campaign for the “hacking” of his emails, and tried to change the subject to a Cuomo aide.

The original statement said:

Carl Paladino has forwarded close friends hundreds of email messages he received. Many of these emails he received were off color, some were politically incorrect, few represented his own opinion, and almost none of them were worth remembering. We’re not surprised the political establishment feels threatened by Carl’s drive to take Albany back for taxpayers. Our campaign won’t be wading through the details of what is just another liberal Democrat blog smear. It figures that members of the Party who brought us record taxes, record spending and record debt would want to change the topic from reform to having sex with horses and S&M parlors.

Paladino’s spokesguy Michael Caputo said this of WNYMedia.net’s work product:

Michael Caputo alleged the Western NY Web site where Paladino’s e-mails first appeared this morning is run by a “hardcore Democrat” who has written a number of critical posts about the Buffalo businessman – including the fact that he not only used to be a Democrat himself, but also contributed campaign cash to the very Democrats he’s now attacking.

Caputo alleged that this blogger is in fact in receipt of “in depth research conducted by somebody’s oppo research team.”

Actually, the information that Chris posted a week or so ago was gleaned wholly from public disclosures that the candidate had made over the years.

The New York State Democratic Committee weighs in:

“New Yorkers need a true leader to be our next Governor. The times are serious and only someone who represents our values and principles can marshal the resources to meet our State’s great challenges. Carl Paladino’s emails offer us a clear insight into the man, his vision, his contempt for so many of our citizens, and his extreme agenda. Unquestionably, his disgusting emails disqualify him completely from public service.

Hell, even the New York State GOP wasn’t all that happy:

The racially and sexually inappropriate nature of Mr. Paladino’s emails is disturbing to say the least, and stands in stark contrast to what the Republican Party stands for and the values it promotes.

And of course, by the end of the day, even the Buffalo Ruse weighed in.

But I think we were most proud of this:

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It’s interesting to watch a local story turn into a national one.  It’s fun to watch a nascent campaign try and address its third major crisis/scandal in as many weeks.  Seriously, how many times is Paladino going to apologize for being “human”?

Because no one is denying his humanity, and no one is saying he needs to be perfect.  But some people think sending racist emails or emails containing bestiality videos is funny, and others don’t.  I’d wager that most people don’t.  But you don’t run on a traditional values platform and have that in your background.  You don’t criticize others’ ethical or moral shortcomings when you have your own, in spades.  Paladino is flailing around now, accusing everyone of everything, when he has only himself to blame.  His apologists and promoters also shoot the messenger, but in the end if you hold fringe beliefs, you can’t just shrug them off as folksy outspokenness or a lack of political correctness.  That’s just a passive-aggressive way of saying you screwed up.

And the problem for us New Yorkers is that this year’s gubernatorial candidate stable is quite thin.

Paladino Sends Emails

12 Apr

So, with respect to Carl Paladino – what was that again about values?

“I bring values, resiliency, a thick skin and I’m not afraid to be confrontational”, Paladino told the Buffalo News.

Every one of these was sent by – forwarded by – Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino.

Enjoy“. (NSFW)!

Scam-Making

27 Mar

If you wanted to know how disgraced Buffalo developer and current Niagara Falls developer Frank Parlato can fund his various schemes, consider this, from an article in the New York Post.

In an e-mail about the real-estate deal, one of Raniere’s closest advisers, Kristin Keeffe, revealed that Parlato was being paid $1 million by the group to wrest control of the project from Plyam.

How does a Frank Parlato find himself a millionaire?

Clare and Sara Bronfman, heirs to the Seagrams fortune, are caught up in NXIVM – a group that is commonly referred to as a cult, run by a person named Keith Raniere. Their father, Edgar, desperately wants them out of NXIVM.

NXIVM, based in Albany, sponsored a recent visit to that city by the Dalai Lama. Several local people who associate with Parlato got to travel to see the Dalai Lama speak last year.

From an expose in the Times-Union:

The case is Precision Development LLC vs. Yuri Plyam, a claim first brought two years ago by NXIVM principals. The initial suit alleged Plyam embezzled some of $26 million the Bronfman sisters had invested in a failed real estate venture in which Plyam was supposed to manage the construction of residential homes around Los Angeles.

Plyam had been Raniere’s commodities trader, the motion says. Plyam countersued, and the case has become a complicated argument involving him, Raniere, other NXIVM leaders and the Bronfmans.

In Plyam’s countersuit, in which the new complaint emerges, his attorney seeks to highlight Raniere, portray him as a commodities market loser and list him as a defendant.

Evidently, Raniere was involved in some sort of commodities/real estate scheme with the Plyams, but had allegedly run out of money; no less than $100 million, much of it from the Bronfman sisters. The Post story alleges that Raniere wanted to cut the Plyams out of the deal, and paid Parlato $1 million to pose as a representative of Edgar Bronfman to the Plyams in an effort to remove them from the deal.

Parlato’s goal was to convince Plyam that Bronfman wanted to buy into the real-estate deal and cut Raniere out, the papers allege.

Parlato told Plyam that Bronfman “had been trying to get the girls out of the cult for a long time,” and that getting in on the construction project would allow the old man to keep an eye on his — and his daughters’ — investment, according to the documents.
Plyam believed Parlato, who continually disparaged the “destructive” Raniere and said Bronfman was desperate to “get his daughters out of NXIVM.”

“The father feels that Raniere took advantage of his babies,” Parlato told Plyam, according to the legal documents.

In reality, Parlato — who in the 1990s was accused by Buffalo-area lawmakers of running a housing scam — was working for Raniere, another set of court papers claim.

Naturally, as you might expect, it was Steve Pigeon who introduced Parlato to NXIVM.

It’s a tangled web indeed, and one that is being played out in court right now. But the allegation of affirmative fraud and misrepresentation is shocking.