Paladino, school board named in civil rights complaint

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The General Counsel for the Buffalo School District has named Carl Paladino along with the entire school board in a civil rights complaint.

In her complaint, Rashondra Martin alleges Paladino, on different occasions, “Berated me, was following me in a menacing way and caused me mental anguish.”

Paladino has been critical of Martin’s performance, but says his criticism has nothing to do with race or gender.

“I told her she’s just not competent to handle serious matters that we’re discussing,” said Paladino.

During a recent Buffalo School Board meeting there was a major disruption after Paladino told Martin her ruling on a procedure was ignorant.

School Board Member Sharon Belton-Cottman physically placed herself between Paladino and Martin. Tensions got so high the meeting had to be temporarily halted.

Belton-Cottman says she has seen a pattern of what she says is race and sex discrimination.

“He’s gone after every female, African American female who’s an authority,” she said. “He’s done a lot of bullying. It’s typical of what he does. You can’t sit in an administrative position and do whatever you want to do.”

In her complaint, Martin alleges Paladino subjects African American female employees to a “racially and sexually hostile work environment.”

She also named the school board claiming it has taken no action to “admonish or address Mr. Paladino for his comments.”

Paladino maintains that Rashondra Martin has aligned herself with the four African American women on the board against the five-person majority, which is mostly white males.

“These people, devoid of any other plausible or reasonable argument to defend their positions on things, play the race card and that’s just what she’s doing,” Paladino said. “And that’s getting to be a burden.”

Paladino says he intends to file a human rights complaint against Martin. He also issued a public statement saying he was putting Martin and minority board members Barbara Seals Nevergold, Sharon Belton Cottman and Theresa Harris Tigg on notice, claiming they have slandered him.

“In the event that you continue to offer false and defamatory statements, I intend to protect my reputation and will take all appropriate legal or other action at my disposal to do so,” Paladino said.

Martin declined to be interviewed.

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