Teen threatens to sue Paladino

May 6, 2016

Earlier this week Buffalo School Board member Carl Paladino emerged the winner over his 18-year-old opponent Austin Harig. But as WBFO's Eileen Buckley reports, the teen is considering suing Paladino for an election night remark. 

Carl Paladino speaking about his school board election victory.
Credit WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond

“I think it’s a bad day for our education system,” said Carl Paladino, speaking to reporters earlier this week reacting to the loss of school board’s majority.

Although Paladino declared victory for his Park District board seat against the Hutch Tech senior, Paladino criticized the unions and the county executive for supporting a new block of so-called minority candidates. 

Harig went head to head with the powerful businessman, losing by about 100 votes. However, another 140 absentee ballot are still being counted.  After defeating the teen, Paladino had some harsh criticism for his opponent.

“He was just suspended from school for tardiness and not showing up while he is running for office,” stated Paladino.

Harig's said he is considering a possible lawsuit against Paladino for violating the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, a federal law.   

Austin Harig appeared in our WBFO studio when he was interviewed.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Harig replied to our request to respond to his suspension, describing it as a one-day suspension.

"A quick one day suspension doesn't make me a bad student and grades are what matter," said Harig in a written Facebook message. "I was suspended for a petty reason, one that I believe should be removed because it basically suspends kids and keeps them out of school longer if they come in late and don't serve a detention."

Harig continued in his statement to explain why he didn't reveal the suspension during his campaign.

"As you can see though, Mr.Paladino spun that petty suspension into a big slander campaign, which is exactly why I didn't say it myself - because I knew he'd be an unfair bully about it," stated Harig.

When WBFO News interviewed Harig during his campaign, he did not reveal he was on suspension at that time. Asked how he was doing academically, Harig replied "I do pretty good. I’m not the valedictorian, but I do pretty good.”

Harig was one of several candidates supported by the Buffalo Teachers Federation and WNY Labor Federation.