Carl Paladino may calm down during his maverick campaign for governor of New York.
But not today.
"Sheldon Silver is a criminal!" Paladino said at a Midtown breakfast sponsored by Crain's NY Business. Repeating it for emphasis, the Republican candidate described Assembly Speaker Silver's work at a personal injury law firm as a conflict of interest.
"He's stalled tort reform and other reforms so he can make his million dollars a year without disclosing who his clients are," said Paladino about Silver.
"Sheldon Silver is not a criminal, he's a decent person," slammed back former Mayor Ed Koch as he endorsed Paladino's opponent later Tuesday. "It's an outrage that Paladino would say that and I denounce it."
"Many people are energized by Paladino's frustration," said Dick Dadey, executive director of the non-partisan Citizens Union. "But if he doesn't go to Albany prepared to work with legislative leaders, he won't be able to get anything done."
"New Yorkers don't want somebody to commiserate with, leadership is not about who yells the loudest," said Democratic candidate Andrew Cuomo, "they want someone who can fix problems in Albany. I'm outraged because I know how good government can be. You have to restore the trust," added Cuomo.
At the breakfast forum, Paladino was asked where the anger comes from in a man who's amassed a $150 million fortune. "New York's government is the most bloated on the face of the earth and I'm going to fix it," responded the Republican candidate.
Paladino repeated a pledge to serve just four years if elected, freeing himself to make tough choices without having to fundraise or campaign ever again. He said he would "take the MTA apart piece by piece" and fire its relatively new CEO Jay Walder.
He said he would not sign a same-sex marriage bill if passed by legislators, but would "enforce the law" if voters ratified same sex marriage by referendum.
Paladino restated a promise to cut taxes by 10 percent and to cut State spending by $10-12 billion, an amount Dick Dadey of the watchdog group said would "devastate services."
Displaying what's come to be trademark brashness, Paladino insisted that he'd get an on-time balanced budget (New York's has been chronically late) or "with the exception of public safety services I'll shut down the government. Google me--I don't bluff," he concluded.
"He was refreshing," said a Bronx chief executive in the Paladino audience, who identified himself as an undecided voter.
"He didn't alienate me, let's put it that way," said a Manhattan realtor after the forum.