The son of Buffalo School Board member Carl Paladino calls his father’s remarks about President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama “disrespectful and absolutely unnecessary.”
William Paladino, CEO of Ellicott Development Co., said his father’s comments “are not a reflection of the beliefs and principles” his company upholds.
“Carl has not been involved in the day-to-day operations of Ellicott Development Company for many years now and his comments and statements are his alone,” the company wrote in a statement posted on Facebook.
But the elder Paladino remains chairman of the development company he founded in 1973, a fact that is being noted by many visitors to the company’s Facebook page and by some community leaders.
Bryan Ball, president of Stonewall Democrats of Western New York, told WBFO the fact that Carl Paladino remains chairman of Ellicott Development is telling.
“I don’t understand why the company is saying he’s not involved in their day-to-day operations," he said.
He says the statement put out by the younger Paladino barely touches the issue.
"It didn't go into exactly the 'why' of how it's offensive, and that's important too. I think the other problem is that it seemed to try to deflect attention from the fact that [Carl] Paladino is still the chair of the board," Ball said.
He added that Ellicott Development should sever all ties with Paladino to make clear that his values are not a reflection on the company.
"It doesn't seem to indicate any consequences for him having made these remarks and being involved with the company, which I think is the important thing that people would be looking for."
Ellicott Development did not return a call for comment.
Ball renewed calls issued Friday by his group that Paladino resign from the Buffalo School Board. Ball branded the comments "vile, racist, misogynistic and transphobic."
Comments made last week by the elder Paladino to a local weekly newspaper have led to widespread condemnation. Paladino, who represents the Park District, was among the participants in a year-end "wish list" survey taken by Artvoice. Questions included what those surveyed most want to happen in 2017, who they would like to see go away next year, and who they would like to see run for Buffalo mayor in next year's election.
In his replies, Paladino makes remarks about President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama, including saying he hopes the president dies from mad cow disease.
One day after the controversy erupted, Paladino's son took steps to distance himself from his father's remarks:
"Ellicott Development takes pride in being a culturally diverse company with over 535 hard-working dedicated employees," William Paladino is quoted saying in the statement. "We value and respect our employees, friends, partners and all of our commercial and residential tenancies and we do not condone the statements made about the President of the United States and his wife. They were disrespectful and absolutely unnecessary."
WBFO's Jonny Moran contributed to this report.