Before Carl Paladino begins his effort to “take out the trash” in Albany, it appears he may first need to offer an explanation for some rotten apples closer to home. The Times shared the findings of an examination of public records Tuesday night, concluding that “some of the people whom Paladino has recruited to run his campaign are plagued by brushes with the law and allegations of misconduct.”
• His campaign manager failed to pay close to $53,000 in federal taxes over the past few years, leading to IRS action.
• An aide (who frequently serves as Paladino’s driver) served jail time in Arizona after being charged with drunken driving.
• An adviser has been indicted on charges of stealing more than $1 million from Mayor Bloomberg’s reelection campaign last year.
• His campaign chairwoman left a local government position after it was claimed she had “steered $1 billion in public money to a politically connected investment manager.”
Sounds like the setup for a reality show, no? Rather than downplay these findings, the aforementioned campaign manager, Michael Caputo, embraces the “outsider status and ragtag style” that seems to define the group.
“This is a campaign of junkyard dogs, not pedigreed poodles,” Caputo said.“Carl knows the background of everyone who works for him… He knows that each of us comes to the campaign with warts. And he has his own warts. We don’t hide anything.”
Of course, not everyone is as cool with these “warts.”
“Their backgrounds could raise questions about the kind of cabinet Mr. Paladino, a Republican, would assemble if elected in November and cast doubt on his ability to radically remake the dysfunctional culture of Albany, government watchdogs said.”
Or more bluntly, as Common Cause New York executive director Susan Lerner puts it: “I don’t think the average New Yorker wants a government of junkyard dogs … They want at least some baseline standards.”