By: Gary L Perry
“The man is a criminal. Don’t make him look like anything else.”
It was October, 2010 when Buffalo real estate developer Carl Paladino made this bold statement against Sheldon Silver, the powerful Speaker of the New York Assembly. Paladino made the allegation during his unsuccessful run for Governor on the Republican ticket against Andrew Cuomo.
Most people in the media and on the Democratic side scoffed at Paladino’s charges, dismissing it as just another brash statement made by a candidate trailing in the polls. Today, many of those same people are reconsidering their opinion of Paladino in light of Silver’s recent arrest by federal authorities on felony charges that include fraud, extortion and conspiracy.
Bold statements are nothing new for Carl Paladino. He’s turned more than a few heads and created considerable controversy with words he’s spoken both as a successful real estate developer and political candidate. His penchant for taking to task power brokers statewide with pointed, pull-no-punches blue-collar rhetoric has offended some and rallied others.
Carl Paladino sees himself as the political equivalent of an umpire in baseball. He calls them as he sees them, and political correctness be dammed.
“If it looks like a pig and smells like a pig, chances are it’s a pig,” Paladino says. “And in New York, we have a lot of political pigs stinking up Albany.”
Just how dirty New York politics has become is the question. The upcoming trial of Sheldon Silver may provide answers to questions people across the Empire State are asking. One person who will be watching the proceedings is Carl Paladino.
“The cesspool we call the New York Assembly is about to flushed out,” Paladino predicts. “If federal investigators do their job right, the criminal element in Albany will be exposed and it’s been a long time coming.”
It is disconcerting to see Preet Bharara stand alone in taking down those who feed at the public trough while our other eunuchs, charged to protect the public trust –the US Attorneys, the State Attorney General and County District Attorneys –conveniently look the other way. Bharara nailed the biggest fish first. Skelos is next followed by Cuomo, Libous and Maziarz, who are in the “on deck” circle.
One thing is for sure: when Carl Paladino makes a prediction, more New Yorkers will be paying close attention.