Carl Paladino, the ultra-conservative New York businessman who rode the Tea Party to victory in the Republican gubernatorial primary this month, has a daughter with a woman who is not his wife. But even though such indiscretions have cost other New York Republicans their seats (see Vito Fossella), Paladino has remained unscathed. He has even, according to some polls, come within striking distance of Democratic candidate and attorney general Andrew Cuomo.
That may be because Paladino has been open about his daughter, who is now 10, throughout his candidacy. She joined his other children and his wife at his campaign kick-off in April, for example, and has attended other events. She is, as the New York Times put it in today’s profile of Paladino, “fully incorporated into his family.” Paladino supports her financially and, according to the New York Post, he accompanied the girl, Sarah, and her mother — with his wife’s permission — on a trip to Italy last year that included a visit to the Vatican.
Sarah was conceived during what Paladino’s wife, Cathy, described to the Post as a “very short affair” with an employee.
Cathy didn’t know about Sarah’s existence until last year, after the couple’s 29-year-old son, Patrick, was killed in a car crash just a few weeks after leaving rehab for drug and alcohol addiction.
Cathy told the Post:
“I think when you lose a child … everything changes. So when he told me about Sarah … it was a very short affair, it was 10 years prior, and um … my first thought was, ‘How lucky. Every child’s a gift.’ That was my thought. I wasn’t angry, you know. I can deal with one family crisis at a time. But to multi-task …” She laughed softly. “It’s not that important.”
Patrick and the Paladinos’ other two grown children, William and Danielle, knew about Sarah long before their mother did. In fact, according to the Times, Patrick — who the Post described as “very close” to his half-sister — only promised to go to rehab in exchange for his father telling the truth.
Asked why he kept it from his wife for so long, Paladino told the Times, “I adore her. … I didn’t want to bring that hurt.”
“Out of protection, even though [the affair] was over, he made the decision not to say anything,” Cathy Paladino said in the Post. “And, in retrospect, you know, maybe I’m glad for that 10 years, you know?”