Judge says politics is too often a ‘dirty business’

— Enterprise file photo

Warren Redlich, left, gives a surreptitious thumbs-up on Election Night when he and his Republican running mate, Mark Grimm, won seats on the Guilderland Town Board.

Warren Redlich will get to have his day in court.

On April 21, Justice Richard Braun on the New York Supreme Court handed down a decision that begins, “Politics is too often a ‘dirty business.’” Braun is allowing Redlich’s defamation claim against Carl Paladino, Roger Stone, and Michael Caputo to go to trial.

The seeds for the suit were sewn in 2010 when Redlich, then a Guilderland resident who had served on the town board, was the Libertarian candidate for governor, running against Republican Paladino and the victor, Democrat Andrew Cuomo.

Caputo was Paladino’s campaign manager, and the judge’s decision describes Stone as “a well-known political operative.”

A flyer was circulated a week before the 2010 gubernatorial election mimicking a police warning, labeling Redlich as a sexual predator. It called him a “sick twisted pervert,” and referenced a blog post he had made in 2008 after risqué pictures of former Disney star Miley Cyrus caused controversy; Redlich wrote that he could see why some people would be upset with the photos, but he couldn’t understand why it was such a big story and referenced the fact that Shakespeare’s Juliette was a young teen.

Redlich has never been arrested or charged with any sex crime. His campaign message was to reduce the layers of government, and to stop wasting money.

The mailer had a picture of Redlich with his name and address and said, “Sexual Predator Alert Albany Area.” It cautioned people to call the police if they saw Redlich near a public school or near their families.

Redlich, a lawyer who now lives and practices in Florida, had previously run not only for Guilderland Town Board but also twice for Congress.  When the flyer came out, distributed to 150,000 households including his mother’s, Redlich declared he’d never run again. “The mailer was very painful for my family,” he said in November 2010.

This week, Redlich, who is representing himself in the case, said he was “very happy” with the judge’s decision. “The judge ruled pretty much what I said in the papers,” Redlich told The Enterprise.

He also echoed his words of six years ago. “I have not run for public office since because of the way this affected my family.”

Of his reason for pursing the suit, he said, “I hope to hold them accountable for what they do.”


False sexual predator alert: Warren Redlich is suing for defamation over this flyer mailed to about 150,000 households in November 2010 when he was running for governor of New York on the Libertarian line.


Stone is a Republican political consultant, known nationally for his role in the elections of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush. He famously has a tattoo of Nixon on his back. Most recently, he worked as a top strategist for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign until August, when Trump said he was fired and Stone said he quit.

In 2010, Stone was a strategist for Independent candidate Kristin Davis who described herself as an ex-madam who supplied call girls for Governor Eliot Spitzer. Davis focused her campaign on the legalization of marijuana, prostitution, and gay marriage.

The flyer calling Redlich a pervert identified its sender as “People for a Safer New York.” A flyer for Davis landed in local mailboxes the same day as the flyer about Redlich; both flyers originated from the Staten Island Post Office and both had the same permit number. A representative of the post office at the time said told The enterprise that postal permits can’t be used by two separate groups or individuals, unless the owner of the permit gives authorization.

Davis was named in Redlich’s suit as well but Justice Braun ruled that, although Redlich tried to implicate Davis “through circumstantial evidence” he admits that he has no evidence that Davis participated in the mailer. So Braun dismissed the complaint against Davis.

Redlich conceded to The Enterprise, “I did not have direct evidence about her….My impression was she was a figurehead….I had direct evidence regarding the three bad guys,” said Redlich, referencing Paladino, Caputo, and Stone.

Braun’s decision says Redlich avers that Stone admitted to him on Sept. 10, 2014 that Stone worked with Caputo and Paladino to prepare and send the mailer. “He further states that Stone said that Paladino ordered Stone and Caputo to ‘get that (expletive) (expletive)’,” referring to Redlich, the decision says.

“Further more,” the decision continues, “Stone supposedly told a Times Union reporter that he saw the mailer, that it was accurate, and that he urged PSNY ‘to do this.’”

The decision also references Caputo, as sending out an email from his internet domain in which he stated that Redlich “made strange statements about sex with teens,” and another email in which he spoke of Redlich “promoting sex with teenagers” and being “so open-minded about sex with kids.”

Jason Ulatowski, a partner at the firm of Rupp Baase Pfalzgraf Cunningham, of Buffalo, represented Caputo and Davis.

Ulatowski told The Enterprise this week, “Mr. Stone like thousands of other people knew what was in the mailer…He knew nothing until after the fact. That’s not the same as developing them, ordering them, producing them. The fact that he commented on it after the fact doesn’t mean he did it.”

Asked about the statements supposedly made to the Times Union reporter by Stone, Ulatowski said, “No offense to your profession but what you say isn’t always accurately quoted.”

Asked how he felt about the contents of the flyer separate from any role his clients may or may not have had in producing it, Ulatowski said, “I do not condone it or think any of it is appropriate.”

Asked if such tactics hadn’t been a hallmark of Stone, Ulatowski responded that such a broad question was not relevant. “Any prior actions of Mr. Caputo or Mr. Stone are not relevant. It doesn’t not mean that they did what he is alleging.”

Ulatowski concluded, “We disagree with the decision…Justice Braun made a reference that the evidence against Davis was circumstantial….We haven’t seen anything more than that. In New York State…you need to corroborate with evidence…You need evidence to support your position and this case lacked evidence.”

Shannon Heneghan, an attorney at Paladino, Cavan, Wuinlivan & Pierce, also of Buffalo, argued for Paladino. She could not be reached for comment.

Redlich told The Enterprise his reason for filing the suit was not monetary

“There are bad people in politics,” he said. “They can’t compete with good people on a level playing field. The rotten people survive because they throw mud at the good people. It drives the good people out….The way you hold people accountable is they have to pay.”

If Redlich were to win substantial funds from the suit, he said, he would like to establish a not-for-profit group that “tracks the evil consultants and notifies the local media.”

Redlich said there are good and bad consultants. “Roger Stone is very skilled, but he is evil,” said Redlich. In Guilderland politics as well as national politics, Redlich said, there are “insiders on both sides,” meaning for both the Democrats and Republicans, that use bad tactics.

“The only way to hold them accountable is to hold candidates responsible for what their consultants do,” said Redlich.

He concluded, “Voters should always be aware who the candidates choose to work with.”

Corrected on April 28, 2016: Romeo was removed from the description of Warren Redlich's post on young lovers since a review of the post showed he had referenced Shakespeare's Juliet being 13 without mention of Romeo. The judge's decision said, "Plaintiff alleges that defendants put out the mailer after he had blogged a comment about the controversy over former Disney actress/singer Miley Cyrus' risqué behavior where he questioned why Miley Cyrus' actions should be controversial given that Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet were teenagers."

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