Carl Paladino, the New York politico hopeful who passed around racist emails to his construction business buddies, hates the idea of men grinding their crotches together. But that’s probably what was happening at Buddies II (pictured) and Cobalt, two Buffalo club that catered to The Gays, which paid rent to one Paladino’s companies, and the latter of which was operated by Carl’s son William.
Liquor license records show the club was run under the corporate name 2975 Group LLC, while the building it was housed in was owned by one of Carl Paladino’s many companies, the Huron Group LLC. It was called Cobalt in 2004 and much of 2005, catering exclusively to gay clientele, holding drag queen nights and featuring “boy-tenders” behind the bar. A March 2005 review of Cobalt in the Buffalo News described it as “Way Gay,” noting, “The queens, the techno, the cocktails, the kind of gyration normally confined to Manhattan was in full flaming force at Cobalt.”
At some point in late 2005, the club’s name changed to Tantra. Kevin Van Wagner, then a Cobalt bartender, recalled a rapid switch to a straight clientele. “The way that they did it was really horrible,” he said. “They told us we were no longer going to be a gay bar, that we were no longer going to have jobs.” He said the owners kept Cobalt’s three straight bartenders and got rid of the rest: “They got rid of all of us gay people.”
Just like he’ll do to all the homosexuals in Albany!
But can a bigot (who keeps insisting he is no such thing) like Paladino be a friendly to gays in business while railing against them socially? Of course. That’s basically how the Target Corporation operates.