Carl Paladino, Reporter Fred Dicker in Confrontation

5:05 AM, Oct 1, 2010   |    comments
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Carl Paladino (R)

An aide to Carl Paladino had a drunk-driving arrest and another owes back taxes, while another, Nancy Naples, left office as Erie County comptroller over allegations of corruption.

Andrew Cuomo's close ties to a businessman he investigated while head of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and then went to work for has again drawn criticism from Paladino.

The vitriol doesn't stop there.

Scroll down to see the video from WRGB-TV in Albany.

Paladino and campaign manager Michael Caputo got into a heated exchange Wednesday night with New York Post reporter Fred Dicker, including some pushing and shoving.

It occurred after Dicker asked Paladino for proof over his charges to Politico Tuesday that Cuomo was unfaithful during his marriage to now ex-wife Kerry Kennedy, a relationship that ended in a bitter divorce in 2003.

Paladino was unable to immediately substantiate the claims, leading to the war of words -- and some shoving between Dicker and Caputo.

"Of course I do," Paladino said of proof of his charges. "You'll get it at the appropriate time."

Paladino was infuriated that a Post photographer took pictures at the home of the 10-year-old daughter Paladino had out of wedlock.

"You send another goon to my daughter's house and I'll take you out, buddy," Paladino said.

Caputo and Paladino said Paladino's daughter is off limits.
"It's a child. For God's sake, they are not fair game," Caputo later told reporters.

Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto responded, "We have not and will not descend into the gutter with Paladino, Caputo and (adviser Roger) Stone. We're not going to start now because the people of New York deserve a better dialogue from their candidates and journalists."

As the personal attacks continue to build with about a month left in the campaign, some good-government groups questioned whether the race has come off the rails at a time when the state faces serious economic challenges.

The state faces a budget gap of at least $8 billion next year, followed by even higher gaps in future years.

"Right now voters need confidence that government will be able to get things done, and that's not something which this constant character assassination leads them to conclude," said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause/NY.

While the campaigns for Cuomo and Paladino continue to trade nasty exchanges, the state's financial troubles hit home again this week.

The Tax Foundation released a report showing that Westchester County ranked first in the nation for the highest average property taxes, at $9,044. And in upstate, Monroe, Niagara, Wayne and Chemung counties ranked one through five in the nation for the percentage of property taxes paid compared to home values.

Meanwhile, Thursday was the last day for an exemption on sales tax for clothing under $110. Why?

Because the state had to find revenue to close a $9.2 billion deficit this year and choose to raise about $1 billion in new taxes and fees.

Cuomo's lieutenant governor candidate Robert Duffy said this morning that people don't want to hear about nasty attacks. The Rochester mayor said the Cuomo campaign will stay above it; however, Duffy yesterday did put to a tough statement about the troubles of Paladino's aides.

"People in this state want to us to talk about the economy, about changing the state, about lowering taxes," Duffy said on Talk 1300-AM. "This kind of theater, if anything it turns people off. We are going to stay above it."

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