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Former NY Gubernatorial Candidate Faces Thursday Hearing

Carl Paladino

2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate and current Buffalo School Board member Carl Paladino will appear at hearing at the New York State Education Department in Albany on Thursday morning.  He’s accused of breaking the rules of an executive session of the board, and telling a local paper the details of confidential talks with the teachers union over a new contract.

Paladino drew attention in late December when he made remarks to that same paper about President Obama and his wife, Michelle, that many considered offensive and racist.  

The accusations against Paladino in the Buffalo School Board’s petition do not include his remarks about the Obamas, but the Buffalo businessman has brought them up in his defense for allegedly leaking the teacher negotiation details , saying it’s part of a conspiracy to deny him his first amendment rights for free speech under the US Constitution.

The unusual hearing, which will be led by State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia, is expected to last up to three days.  If the commissioner determines, after the hearing, that Paladino engaged in a “willful violation or neglect of duty”, she has the power to remove him from his school board seat.

Paladino, who has not ruled out another run for governor, has said if he’s thrown off the board, he’ll take the matter to court.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.
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