A Buffalo school board member and former New York gubernatorial candidate claims his colleagues slandered him by accusing him of being racist and sexist.
Carl Paladino sent an email Wednesday to three board members and the school district’s general counsel threatening to “take all appropriate legal or other action at my disposal to do so” against all four women, who are black.
"They slander me, okay, consistently by calling me a racist," Paladino told WGRZ-TV.
"If they keep up the nonsense, and playing the race card, and playing this sexist thing, you know -- it just so happens that the minority group is African-American and they're women," he added.
The school district’s general counsel, Rashondra Martin, accused Paladino of berating her, following her in a menacing way, and causing her “mental anguish.”
Paladino admits he’s been critical of the attorney’s performance, telling Martin during a recent school board meeting that her ruling on a procedure was “ignorant,” but he insists his complaints have nothing to do with her race or gender.
Board member Sharon Belton-Cottman, who physically separated the two during the meeting as tensions spiked, said Paladino has consistently bullied black women in positions of authority.
Martin’s complaint also names the school board for failing to address Paladino’s “racially and sexually hostile” comments.
Paladino argued that Martin has aligned herself with the board’s four black members against the mostly white, male five-person majority.
“These people, devoid of any other plausible or reasonable argument to defend their positions on things, play the race card and that’s just what she’s doing -- and that’s getting to be a burden,” Paladino said.
The Republican Paladino is known for his quick tempter, telling a reporter during his unsuccessful 2010 gubernatorial campaign that he would “take (him) out, buddy.”
He also complained that an “African American superintendent” and “African American majority” on the school board had agreed to hire the UCLA/Civil Rights Project to examine school admission standards in Buffalo as part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Education.
Paladino also sent numerous emails to area politicians, media figures, and local officials expressing racist views or showing sexually explicit images or videos – including a clip showing a woman engaged in intercourse with a horse.
Another email shows an image of African men fleeing a plane as it lands on a dirt runway, captioned, "Run, n****r, run."
After he sent a video titled “Obama Inauguration Rehearsal” that showed African tribesmen dancing, one recipient complained and Paladino responded.
“I apologize to you and everyone if that is offensive,” Paladino replied. “To me its (sic) just humor. I’m not a racist and have never related obamas (sic) color to my political distaste for him. I just feel he is a very liberal lightweight who will be unable to make the decisions that the challenges of the future will demand.”
Many of the emails, which came to light in 2010, were sent from his business account, but some – including pornographic materials – were shared from his government account.
Paladino claimed responsibility for the emails, although he said many of them did not originate with him but he simply forwarded them to associates.
He was elected to the school board in 2013 as a vocal critic of Superintendent Pamela Brown, who he believes was hired in part because she is black.
Watch this video report posted online by WGRZ-TV: