5 Years Later, Tea Party Wants to Re-litigate Carl’s Emails

news_0The tea party have decided to come after me. Bereft of ideas, strategy, or success, this ragtag grouping of political nobodies have decided to accuse me of a “fraudulent email scam”, going on to suggest that I “admitted” to having “fabricated” some emails way back in 2009 in order to do some sort of political harm to then-Deputy Mayor Steve Casey.

All of this is so outrageous and untrue as to be defamation per se, insofar as it specifically accuses me of fraud.

It’s quite odd that this is coming up now, and I can only attribute it to the fact that Jul Thompson is friends with the woman who is running the effort to kill Clarence schools. The post accuses me of perpetrating a fraud; i.e., that I somehow manufactured and concocted Carl Paladino’s XXX-rated and racist emails from 2010. The post was posted Monday to a tea party blog run by Jul Thompson, the wife of Carl’s driver, John “Rus” Thompson.

Immediately after the post was brought to my attention – around 1pm Monday – I called Rus’ cell phone and left a message. I have not heard back. I also left a comment at the blog post; it remains unpublished, stuck in the moderation queue, (note that the time stamp is wrong, and I likely posted it at 1:27 pm).

I posted a quick response yesterday to buffalopundit.com, but let me be clear: I am a lawyer. To fabricate emails and accuse anyone else of sending them would, frankly, put my license to practice law at jeopardy. I don’t put my livelihood at risk for anyone or anything – not to bring down Carl Paladino or Steve Casey or Byron Brown or Steve Pigeon or anyone. So, let’s operate under this singular assumption:  Jul Thompson is a liar. While I may be a public figure, she is accusing me of fraud – a crime – and that is libel per se.

Here is my reply to the false and defamatory blog post: 

Have you ever known someone who leaves a wake of destruction behind them? Case in point, Alan Bedenko, liberal blogger, formerly wrote for ArtVoice, then left with Jeff Kelly and other staff to write for The Public, another liberal rag.

*Geoff Kelly. But never mind.

I sat with a friend today and shared with her my frustrations over my inability to persuade Carl Paladino’s Campaign for Governor in 2010 to answer the ridiculous charge that he was a racist, which were predicated upon emails Bedenko fabricated to “take him out” of the race against Andrew “2nd-Amendment-be-damned” Cuomo. As I attempted to provide her with some documentation to that effect, I found this little gem below, that I had never seen before. I had, at the time, shared the article from the Niagara Falls Reporter in which Bedenko had admitted to having fabricated some emails to sully the reputation of then (real) Mayor of Buffalo Steve Casey.

Let’s be 100% clear here. I have never fabricated any emails to sully the reputation of Steve Casey, or of Byron Brown. I have never fabricated any emails to anyone, anywhere, and I have never fabricated any emails about – or from – Carl Paladino.  Anyone suggesting that I did (or that I would) is a liar. 

I am prepared – at any time – to produce the emails in question to anyone, provided that my source’s identity remains protected. 

I don’t know the author but he is spot-on.

[I omitted here a lengthy paean to Carl Paladino, the savior and messiah of the Buffalo School system].

If I had a million dollars… I would sue the pants off of Alan Bedenko, challenge him to take a lie detector test and let him perjure himself in a court of law. Carl Paladino is one of the finest men I’ve ever known, and he, students and families of the Buffalo Public Schools and the people of New York deserve far better than being lied to by a nutcase on a liberal jihad and held hostage by the race-baiters of the School Board and the Buffalo Teachers Union. It’s a rare bird with “intestinal fortitude” that would subject himself to the outrageous and unrelenting bogus accusations of racism. We who know Carl, know that he is making an enormous sacrifice committing himself to this otherwise impossible task. He has given up his precious time, reputation and personal comfort because he cares so deeply for raising the level of achievement and providing a better future for the residents and families of the City of Buffalo. Jul Thompson Founder, TEA New York

Jul: Presumably Carl can provide you with the filing fee to sue me. I mean, you wouldn’t have standing to sue me, and Carl’s well past the one-year statute of limitations to do so. If I had fabricated those emails – you know, the racist, pornographic emails that Carl had sent and forwarded, including the one showing a horse having anal sex with a human female – why didn’t Carl go ahead and sue me back in 2010? 2011? 2012? 2013? Go ask any of Carl’s bigshot buddies whether he sent them. Ask Jamie Moses. Ask Larry Quinn. I can give you more names, if you want – names of people who might not necessarily be public figures. Email me at buffalopundit[at]gmail.com and I will give you a list of the names of people who received the pornographic and racist emails that Carl sent. Any time.  The reason why Carl never sued me? He sent them. They’re his.

Mrs. Thompson went on to regurgitate a 5 year-old blog post from a guy I contacted on Twitter yesterday. Here is the relevant exchange:

Could some of the Paladino e-mails been forgeries? This, and other questions, that the Albany press refuses to ask by Jerry Myrle Fuller Sunday, April 18, 2010 (Note: Most of you know that I am not a reporter by trade or training, and that my area of expertise is meteorology, so if this reads like a first-person journal entry, that is part of the reason. It seems to flow a little better that way.) By now, most of you have heard about the e-mail leak from a liberal blog known as wnymedia.net that purports, in big letters, to be displaying the scandalous “racist and sexist e-mails” put forth by Buffalo developer and Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl P. Paladino. Immediately I became suspicious. The article asserted that the e-mails were real with all the authority of a Facebook chain message. So, I did some research. Initially, this article was going to be a plain old rant about how this state seems to treat upstate politicians with a lot less respect than downstaters, pointing out the curious parallel between this and Chris Collins’s alleged “lap dance” comments that were unverifiable and blown way out of proportion, killing his proposed campaign for governor. It is no coincidence that both came from Buffalo, and it is also no coincidence that it has been decades since the state of New York has had a governor from the upstate region. However, I began to notice something: while for a few days, it appeared that Paladino’s campaign would indeed go down in flames, as would-be supporters ranging from Curtis Sliwa to Mark Williams disavowed him over the controversy, something funny happened: Paladino’s die-hard supporters rallied around him harder than ever. Paladino has a strong cult following, with passionate and outspoken supporters– something I really don’t see outside the political class for Lazio or Levy. They began to see the outrage over the e-mails as over the top. This led to wnymedia.net trying to push its rebuttal and insist that Carl Paladino was a dirty racist unfit for the office of governor of New York. So, I looked into wnymedia.net– specifically Alan Bedenko, the man who portrays himself as “buffalopundit–” to see who this guy was. To put it bluntly, he’s an ambulance chaser (i.e., an auto injury attorney) who joined the Democratic Party in 2003. Having sporadically read his commentary, he’s always been fairly strongly liberal. This was relatively mundane information, but then I stumbled on a little item from the Niagara Falls Reporter (a local alternative tabloid in the Niagara Falls area) that had something eerily familiar. The article dates to February 2009 and stems from an unrelated e-mail feud between Sam Hoyt and Buffalo City Hall (my emphasis added):

Well, let’s get one thing clear. The author admits that he’s no reporter, and boy is he right. I defend people against whom lawsuits have been brought. I am not an “ambulance chaser”, and haven’t done plaintiff’s personal injury work since 2001. Indeed, even accused drunk drivers know this!

Anyhow, here the author embedded the text from Mike Hudson’s Niagara Falls Reporter:

Big catfight in Buffalo last week between amateur bloggers Alan Bedenko of Buffalo Pundit and Glenn Gramigna of New WNY Politics, precipitated by the self-important Bedenko’s decision to publish what he even said was a series of fraudulent e-mails purporting to have been sent between some top aides to Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown last summer. Clearly, the e-mails were meant to slander and defame the people at Buffalo City Hall. Why Bedenko, who is an attorney in real life, chose to publish them is anyone’s guess. Enter Gramigna, who openly speculated that — since Bedenko was the only one to publish the lurid e-mails — perhaps Bedenko in fact had been their author. Actually, the theory makes a lot of sense. The e-mails were shopped to various news outlets last summer, and my impression was that they were created in response to the publication by the Niagara Falls Reporter of another series of e-mails between the married state Rep. Sam Hoyt and a young and comely Albany intern he was carrying on with. The Hoyt camp openly accused Brown’s first deputy mayor, Steve Casey, of being behind the leaking of the Hoyt e-mails — which were genuine — and Casey, perhaps coincidentally, figures prominently in the admittedly fraudulent e-mails published by Bedenko. Also perhaps coincidentally, Bedenko was a strong supporter of Hoyt during the last election cycle, has been a consistent critic of the Brown administration and was, after all, the only one to publish the garbage. Anyway, he phoned Gramigna “in a rage” and, being a lawyer, claimed his rival to be guilty of defamation. For his part, Gramigna is every bit the clueless lump comedians make fun of when discussing bloggers, and immediately posted a retraction. One question remains: Who did write the slanderous and potentially damaging e-mails Gramigna ascribed to Bedenko? Bedenko vehemently denies he wrote them, of course, but who knows?

Glenn Gramigna was being paid by one Syaed Ali, who is widely thought to have been the author of the emails in question, and had no proof other than “open speculation” that I wrote the emails, because Chris Smith published them. Makes perfect sense, right? It’s logic for idiots! But be clear: nowhere in any of these articles have I “admitted” to having forged anything; on the contrary, I vehemently denied that I wrote them then, and I vehemently deny I wrote them now, because I didn’t write them. I didn’t even publish them.

Alan Bedenko has a history of questionable e-mail “leaks” that pre-dates the Paladino e-mail flap. As I understood it, reporters are supposed to check the reliability of their sources before quoting their allegations as fact– something that did not appear to happen when these e-mails were leaked and subsequently went viral. Considering that I’m pretty sure wnymedia.net isn’t on most of the Albany press members’ must-read lists (their articles rarely show up on the major blogs), I’d venture to say there was also some shopping going around with the Paladino story as well.

What “history of questionable e-mail “leaks”? The Syaed Ali stuff? Hell, you can go right here and read all about that, from that time. Here is the article I wrote about Gramigna immediately after he published his “speculation”, and I expressly threatened to sue him. It should also be noted that I never published the emails in 2009 – it was Chris Smith who did so.

From that article: UPDATED: Gramigna has retracted what he wrote, and what his source told him. That’s appreciated, but still horseshit. Apart from this morning, when I called him in a rage, I can honestly say that I’ve never exchanged a single word with Gramigna, despite having helped him promote his dreck-laden site when he started it. His business model is: get local politicians to buy ads, print positive crap about them and negative crap about their opponents. Look for an alternative to completely decimate that business model, coming soon. If I had written the offending emails – which I didn’t – I would have reprinted them last summer, when they were originally sent. They are alleged to have been sent by Mr. Gramigna’s newest advertising client, Syaed Ali. But I didn’t print them last summer. Indeed, I alluded to them a couple of times only in an off-handed manner. I had theories as to who might have been sending them, but someone in law enforcement somehow landed on Mr. Ali, and he alleges that he was subsequently placed into custody and that his belongings have been confiscated. I’ve gone on record saying that, if what Ali said is true, it’s a grave injustice. Furthermore, if I had sent them, I wouldn’t have pimped them to mainstream media – I would have posted them on my site contemporaneously so that the TV and other reporters would give me linkage and credit. But I didn’t write them, I wouldn’t have written them, I have nothing to gain from writing them, and never in my wildest dreams would ever conceive of writing something like that about anyone, much less an elected official. For Gramigna, acting apparently as a conduit for the flailing Ali, to even suggestthat I was behind those emails is a disgrace – and a defamatory one, at that. I have my disagreements with the Brown administration – I don’t like their secrecy, I don’t like their sense of entitlement, I don’t like their Machiavellian machinations to try and upset ECDC and its endorsed candidates, and I don’t necessarily think that they do the best job for Buffalo. That doesn’t mean I would ever stoop so low as to spread vicious, defamatory rumors about him or his officials.

I am not trying to claim that the entire thing is an absolute hoax. Paladino himself has acknowledged that at least some of the e-mails in question were in fact authentic. Many of them, knowing Paladino’s public persona and admitted racial insensitivity, aren’t even all that surprising. However, there is the question that if Paladino in fact did not author some of these alleged e-mails, why did he not come out and deny them? The best answer that I can give is that Michael Caputo didn’t even try to do so. Caputo, after the e-mail controversy broke, stated repeatedly that “We’re not sure about the authenticity of the emails, and we don’t care. I’m not even going to comment on the emails. It’s not something I care to look at.” He has characterized the leak as a “liberal Democrat blog smear” and has declined to delve into the details.

Carl is a lawyer. It doesn’t matter what Caputo did or didn’t say. Carl had until 2011 to go ahead and sue the crap out of me if the emails were frauds. I’m just a middle-class lawyer/blogger and he’s a multimillionaire. Why didn’t he just sue me if it was false?

There could be lots of reasons. The biggest is that they’re provably genuine. Next would be that bringing that lawsuit would have opened up Carl’s own reputation to scrutiny. He knows better than to subject his reputation to the discovery process. Lots of reasons.

As for Syaed Ali, the idea that I wrote emails accusing Byron Brown of being gay is so palpably riduculous and false that Gramigna himself retracted the allegation. Mike Hudson didn’t because Mike Hudson knows how to write a story without crossing over the lines of libel, and didn’t directly accuse me of anything. Jul Thompson is a liar, and “Tea New York” is liable for her defamation. 

I don’t know yet whether I will pursue legal action, but I do know that I now – after 5 years – have to establish, once and for all, the authenticity of Carl Paladino’s emails. That means I now have to produce the emails in an unredacted format, and journalists and laypeople will be perfectly free to inquire of these judges, appointed bureaucrats, elected officials, prominent businesspeople, and developers whether Carl Paladino sent these racist, pornographic, and offensive emails. Given Mr. Paladino’s current status as an elected member of the Buffalo school board, and given the controversy over his ongoing battle with a predominately African-American minority on that board, I don’t know that the timing of this is something that he welcomes, but either way, he has the Thompsons to thank.

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