New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, who has spent the week fending off accusations that he is anti-gay, once collected rent from two gay clubs located in buildings he owned in downtown Buffalo, according to a published report.
Cobalt, one of the two clubs, operated as a gay bar in 2004 and most of 2005 and was run by Paladino's son, William, the Daily News reported Wednesday, citing state liquor board records. It was housed in a building owned by one of Paladino's many companies, Huron Group LLC, the newspaper said. The club was run under another corporate name.
The report in the Daily News on Wednesday comes just after Paladino told a group of Orthodox Jewish leaders that he opposed schools for what he called "brainwashing" of students into thinking that being gay is just another choice and "not the way God created us."
Sometime in 2005, the club began catering to straight clientele, the Daily News reported.
The newspaper said liquor license records also showed that the other club, Buddies II, operated under the name Queen City Entertainment in another Paladino building in 2005 and 2006.
Buddies II described itself as a "bar where anyone and everyone is welcome (and) prejudices are left at the door," the News said.
Paladino's spokesman, Michael Caputo, did not immediately comment on the report.
The report comes a day after Paladino apologized to the gay community for what he called his "poorly chosen words," in his speech to the Orthodox Jewish leaders. He said Tuesday he should have edited more of the phrasing out of the speech he gave Sunday.
Paladino said he opposes same-sex marriage but would actively recruit gays to his administration. He has also mentioned his gay nephew in saying that the discrimination he and others face is a "very ugly experience."
In a brief telephone interview with the New York Post, the nephew, Jeff Hannon, said "Obviously, I'm very offended by his comments." He declined further comment.
The 23-year-old has not been seen at his uncle's campaign headquarters in Buffalo where he works since the remarks, the Post said.
Paladino has blamed some of the latest controversy on press reports that included phrases that were in an earlier version of the speech that the Orthodox leaders had distributed to reporters but that he had struck out before delivering it.