BUFFALO, NY - A human rights case against Buffalo developer Carl Paladino has been dismissed. For more than a year, a former Buffalo School District employee has claimed Paladino, as a school board member, creates a hostile work environment.
Now, the complainant in that case has requested it be tossed, but that's not the end of the fight.
The battle is between Rashondra Martin, a former attorney for the district and Paladino. Last year, Martin filed a state human rights complaint, alleging Paladino subjects African American female employees to a "racially and sexually hostile work environment."
Since the claim was filed, attorneys outside the district were hired to represent both parties. That's because district employees and board members are protected for non-criminal matters and attorneys for the school district have a conflict of interest.
"It is legitimate, you do have to make sure you have conflict-free attorneys handling each of the parties here," said legal analyst Barry Covert.
And, taxpayers cover the legal fees, taking money away from education. So far, $80,000 has been spent on this one case.
"There is no end to the finances that are going to be paid here," Covert said.
According to state records, Martin has filed a request to dismiss her human rights complaint against Paladino. From documents 2 On Your Side obtained through a Freedom of Information request, a judge granted her request. We obtained the judge's order which says Martin "intends to pursue federal remedies in court."
"It's not uncommon that you make sure, you file timely with New York state and or federally, to make sure you haven't lost any rights, and then you make a strategic decision which way do I want to go," Covert said, "they feel strategically that they have a better chance of a larger outcome in federal court."
Which legal experts say could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
And legal analysts believe the district's former attorney has a chance of winning. The state says it found probable cause that Paladino and the district may've discriminated against Martin, but the state never made a final a ruling, because the case has been dismissed.