Niagara Gazette

Local News

October 27, 2009

WHEATFIELD: Paladino rallies the Patriots

Developer criticizes officials, suggest Collins shouldn’t apologize

Outspoken developer Carl Paladino isn’t one to mince words.

And on Tuesday, during a public forum sponsored by a local group of concerned citizens, the owner of the former United Office Building in downtown Niagara Falls didn’t disappoint.

Speaking before a crowd of more than 100 people who attended a public forum sponsored by the Niagara County Patriots at Frontier Fire Hall in the Town of Wheatfield, Paladino said he didn’t believe Erie County Executive Chris Collins should have apologized for remarks he made about state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver that some construed as anti-semetic.

Paladino said he told an aid to Collins on Tuesday the county executive should instead keep up the pressure on Silver whom he characterized as “probably the most corrupt and incompetent human being to ever serve in state government in the state of New York.”

“If I could ever describe a person who would fit the bill of an Antichrist or a Hitler, this guy is it,” Paladino said. “I’m sure Chris had no — absolutely no — intention whatsoever of insulting the Jewish faith or the ethnic group or religion.”

Collins made waves during a political fundraiser on Saturday when he compared Silver — an Orthodox Jew who is widely considered one of the most powerful figures in state government — to Adolf Hitler and the Antichrist. Collins later apologized for what he called a “poor joke.”

Paladino’s remarks on the Collins’ situation came during his address on what he considers to be the very sorry state of local, state and federal government. He described Silver as the lone remaining member of New York’s famed “three-men-in-the-room” government and said his meddling in affairs in Albany has done a disservice to Western New York and the entire state for far too long. Paladino suggested that while comments like those made by Collins draw immense attention and media coverage, bigger issues of concern faced by everyday working people continue to fall by the wayside, including New York’s high taxes, lack of growth and other assorted problems.

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