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Teen backing off on lawsuit against Paladino

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WBFO News file photo
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The Erie County Board of Elections conducted an absentee ballot count declaring Carl Paladino the official winner in his school board race. It was a narrow victory for Paladino over his 18-year-old high school opponent. But as WBFO's Eileen Buckley reports the battle between the two doesn't appear to be over.

“Suing him and the district would be hypocritical of me,” said Austin Harig.  The Hutch Tech senior appears to be backing down from filing a lawsuit against Paladino. Harig made his remarks while standing in the Erie County Board of Elections Tuesday after an absentee ballot count declared Paladino the winner by 132-votes.

Harig said Paladino violated a federal privacy law when he revealed Harig was suspended. Harig believes Paladino used his power to look into Harig's school record.  But Harig told reporters he would have to sue the entire school district and that would make him a hypocrite since he ran on a platform of lawsuits against Paladino costing the district millions.

“I’m going to pursue some administrative action because Mr. Paladino did break the law and he could be dismissed from his position on the school board because he isn’t respecting the privacy of students in the district,” stated Harig.  

But Paladino insists he heard about the suspension on the streets.

“And it was after the election that I said it. He doesn’t have any lawsuit and he doesn’t have any ability to reprimand me,” Paladino said. “He’s an immature, 18-year-old kid.”  

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Credit WBFO News file photo
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Carl Paladino, Buffalo School Board member, at the recent Trump rally.

“This isn’t just a vendetta. You know he did it to another kid a year ago. The kid was in Discovery School.  He posted a letter from a parent that was addressed to him that detailed a fight in the school and what happened was Mr. Paladino published this letter and it led to the kid being identified," said Harig.

The teen also noted Paladino might end up stepping down at some point from the board if he decides to run for Governor again. But Paladino said it's all speculation.

“We that’s people prognosticating that I would run for Governor and I haven’t said anything definitively yet and I’ll make those decisions at the appropriate time,” Paladino responded.

WBFO News asked Harig how he managed to leave classes at Hutch Tech to appear, mid-morning, at the Board of Elections without getting into to trouble.  Harig, who lives on his own, said he is an 'emancipated minor'.  

"Essentially what that means is legally I was allowed to become my own parent. I went through a legal process and so that means I'm allowed to sign myself out," explained Harig.  Hairg said he left a study hall.

Paladino has been part of a five-four majority on the board that has been pushing for reforms. But that closes out July 1st, as board members James Sampson and Jay McCarthy both lost their reelections bids and a new block of board members, supported by labor, arrive.

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