The gloves have never really been "on" for Tea Party darling Carl Paladino, but now he's really hitting below the belt in the fight to be governor of the Empire State.
Paladino makes the claim while trying to goad Cuomo into an open debate with him.
"It's difficult to understand why you, a polished veteran campaigner, scion of a political dynasty and king-designate, would fear a simple businessman from Buffalo, who candidly has never been in a debate in his life -- except maybe in a bar," Paladino writes in the letter which was obtained by the Daily News.
Paladino continued, "Frankly, I don't think you have the cojones to face me and the other candidates in a open debate. I dont think you have the cojones to answer direct questions regarding the mistakes you made at HUD in pushing a sub-prime mortgage scheme that cost taxpayers $2.4 trillion dollars and cost most New Yorkers the value of their 401-Ks."
In response, New York State Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs called Paladino a loon, for the most part.
"Andrew Cuomo has said he's open to debates and is contacting other campaigns but it seems like Carl is melting down again," Jacobs said in a statement to NBCNewYork.
He added, "We'd be happy to debate Carl Paladino just as soon as he finishes the debate going on inside his head. Is he Mr. Tea Party or is he a hypocrite that trades campaign cash for multi-million dollar state leases? Is he the racist, misogynist as his emails suggest he is or is he just a high school boy in the body of a 64-year-old man? Judging by the way he¹s conducted himself during this campaign, it seems as though he's all of the above.”
Meanwhile, another report says Paladino received a $1.4 million tax break as the developer of Buffalo real estate, but failed to deliver on promised investments and jobs.
The Daily News says Paladino received millions of dollars in state tax breaks for upgrading distressed Buffalo buildings under the failed Empire Zone program. The newspaper reports he added only one job to a one-person operation and invested $300,000 less in the properties than the tax breaks were worth.
Paladino won a court decision in August that found the state illegally changed the rules of the program and improperly decertified Paladino's company shortly after Paladino joined entered the campaign.
Paladino has called state government broken and corrupt.