A member of the Buffalo Board of Education who in December 2016 made comments about the Obamas that were widely denounced as racist, has been ousted from his position by the New York State education commissioner.
Carl Paladino has been kicked off the board "effective immediately," according to the Buffalo News.
A widespread campaign was launched to throw Paladino out after he told a local paper that he hoped President Obama would die from mad cow disease and referred to the former first lady as a man who should be "let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla."
An online petition calling for his removal quickly garnered thousands of signatures, while New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D.) condemned the remarks as "racist, ugly and reprehensible," and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said they were "terrible."
The transition team for then President-elect Trump, for whom Paladino campaigned, said the comments were "absolutely reprehensible."
At the time, six of the nine board members attempted to oust Paladino, but their attorney reportedly advised them that such action would be a violation of his First Amendment right to free speech.
Now, Commissioner MaryEllen Elia has claimed that Paladino is not being penalized for his statements about the Obamas, but because he violated education law by publicly disclosing confidential information about teacher contracts discussed in a board meeting. Elia outlined her reasoning in a 33-page report.
Paladino, the 16th board member to ever be removed by a NYS commissioner, has said that he would appeal the decision. His lawyers have framed the case as a free speech issue.