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N.Y. man accused in threat to Paladino ; Led to evacuation of Ellicott Square

A New York City man who said he was upset over news reports about some tasteless e-mails forwarded by gubernatorial candidate Carl P. Paladino is charged with calling Paladino's office with a bomb threat in April.

Miles J. Fisher, 63, is expected to appear Wednesday in federal court here before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr.

Fisher was arrested last week in New York City by investigators from the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force of Western New York.

He is accused of calling a bomb threat on April 13 to Paladino's campaign office in Ellicott Square, a downtown office building owned by Paladino.

The threat led to the evacuation of about 700 people from the building for hours, while police and bomb-sniffing dogs searched it for explosives. None were found.

The incident occurred while Paladino was embroiled in a controversy for forwarding some smutty e-mails, including some denigrating President Obama.

The man who called the "Paladino for the People" campaign headquarters claimed that he was "with a black militant group" and was going to "bomb all of you," according to court records.

Why did Fisher -- who reportedly is involved with a not-for-profit educational group headquartered in Harlem -- call Buffalo from New York City with a bomb threat?

In a voluntary interview with FBI agents two days after the incident, Fisher said he was upset about a newspaper story he had just read about the e-mails.

"Fisher admitted that he was very angry after reading the article and when making the call," Buffalo police Detective Timothy Salamone, a member of the terrorism task force, said in a court affidavit.

While talking to the FBI, Fisher admitted making "stupid remarks" during the call but said he did not recall making a bomb threat, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert C. Moscati said in court papers.

Fisher faces a felony charge of conveying false information in connection with a bomb hoax, a charge that carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison and a potential $250,000 fine, Moscati said. Under sentencing guidelines, people convicted in the federal courts are usually sentenced to less than the maximum penalties.

"We take a zero-tolerance policy toward anyone who tries to disrupt a business with a bomb hoax or bomb threat," U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. said. "The entire Ellicott Square building had to be evacuated, and the effort diverted police officers and fire officials from other important duties."

Paladino told The Buffalo News on Monday that he does not know Fisher and doesn't know why Fisher would threaten him.

"I'm just glad he's caught," Paladino said. "The girl who took the call was very upset by what this guy said. He was very nasty We've had bomb threats before over the years, but this one sounded very serious."

Efforts to reach Fisher and his family in New York City were unsuccessful Monday. No one answered a telephone from which he allegedly made the bomb-threat call.

According to several databases on not-for-profit organizations, Fisher is an official of an educational organization in Harlem, but no one answered the phone when a reporter repeatedly called the organization's office.

e-mail: dherbeck@buffnews.com

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