Carl Paladino accused Rick Lazio and Andrew Cuomo of taking campaign contributions from "Islamofascists" today. He produced a list of "terrorist sympathizers" who have given money to the two candidates.
At the top of Paladino's list (alphabetical by last name) for Lazio was Isamettin Aral, who gave $500 in July. "Sounds like a jihad guy to me," said Paladino campaign manager Michael Caputo. Dr. Aral, a radiation oncologist on Long Island, did not respond to media inquiries.
Lazio also received $250 from Adil Bayat. Paladino noted that Bayat has connections to the oil industry. "That guy owns a number of Arab-sounding businesses and has a history of tax evasion and pollution." Bayat also could not be reached, but a quick investigation shows that he owns gas stations in Long Island and has had some minor tax and regulatory issues that are not abnormal in such a business.
Cuomo received a $9000 in contribution from a Husam U. Ahmad. "That's guy's a f***ing Pakistani for crying out loud," screamed Paladino. In 2006, Ahmad was named one of the top 50 outstanding Asian Americans in business. "Just a cover," noted Caputo.
Then there's the $1000 contribution to Shahid Akhtar. Caputo reiterated Paladino's concerns: "That son of a b**** works in Manhattan. We can't let these terrorists near the holy World Trade Center site."
And the $5000 contribution to Cuomo from Omar Asali. "You media idiots are worried about my e-mails and Cuomo's taking money from some towel-head named Omar," Paladino exclaimed. Asali, considered a hedge fund wizard at Goldman Sachs, also could not be reached for comment.
Paladino pointed out that their unavailability showed they're hiding something.
The Andrew Cuomo and Rick Lazio campaigns declined comment, as part of their joint strategy to pretend Carl Paladino doesn't exist and hope he eventually goes away.
Your correspondent did manage to reach one contributor on the list shortly before submitting this story. Marla Goldstein of Garden City gave Cuomo $2000. She suggested that Paladino and Caputo "might be a little crazy," but she refused to answer whether or not she's a Muslim, laughing as she hung up the phone.
Caputo's response: "Aha!"