Carl Paladino May Be Unsafe At Any Speed: Now it's OSHA Fines on His Buildings
Say this for Buffalo's Have-Mouth-Will-Travel Paladin: He's a newsmaker. This week's Voice details some of his unfortunate dealings with the low-wage workers who clean his office buildings. A 1996 National Labor Relations Board decision detailed how he fired an office cleaner whose mother was complaining about Paladino's management practices, while lambasting her husband who also worked for Paladino ("Who the fuck is your mother-in-law?" were his exact words to his janitor.) The labor board ordered the worker rehired while describing the tell-it-like-it-is candidate's testimony as "vacillating, contradictory, and inconsistent." This may have something to do with the Tea Party champ's visceral dislike of all things union.
That animus is also reflected in records from another federal outfit, OSHA. The occupational safety and health agency went to check out Paladino's office construction work this spring and found that his nonunion workforce was operating unsafely - at more than one job. A painting project this June at his flagship building at Ellicott Square was flagged by OSHA for unsafe practices - a "serious" violation. How serious? OSHA defines it as a condition where there is "a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard." That one earned the landlord $675 fine.
A month earlier, another nonunion Paladino crew renovating a former bakery further down Main Street in downtown Buffalo also fell afoul of federal safety inspectors. In May, Paladino's Ellicott Development was cited for four separate "serious" violations including tools, wiring methods, and general conditions. The total fine was set at $4275, but the Republican candidate's people are trying to talk the feds down to a mere $2100 hit for the job.
That same month, yet another nonunion Paladino work crew on yet another Main Street project (did we mention that he is the largest commercial landlord in Buffalo?), was also cited by inspectors. They hadn't bothered with "fall protection" - another serious violation in the OSHA books. Penalty? $1125. Negotiated settlement? $600. Who says government isn't reasonable?
OK, lots of builders get cited for violations. To some extent, it comes with the territory. But this seems like a lot for just a couple of months for one company, but then maybe Paladino builds the same way he talks -- i.e, without a lot of planning.