So much for putting up a fight. After vowing to challenge the charge that he owed $62,125 in fines due to an ethics violating stemming from 2009 World Series tickets, former New York Gov. David Paterson has paid the fine, the Daily News reported today. Paterson, who could still face a criminal investigation for perjury, violated ethics regs by accepting five free tickets to Game 1 of the 2009 World Series, and the fine is the largest ever levied by New York’s Public Integrity Commission. “This closes the case,” Walter Ayres, the commission’s spokesperson, said. “We imposed a penalty, he paid it. There is nothing else to say.”
The $62,125 World Series tickets
Outgoing New York Gov. David Paterson must pay a fine of $62,125 for accepting five complimentary World Series tickets in 2009, the New York State Commission on Public Integrity announced earlier this week. Paterson, the commission found, knew he had violated state law and then refused to admit it under oath. “The moral and ethical tone of any organization is set at the top. Unfortunately the Governor set a totally inappropriate tone by his dishonest and unethical conduct. Such conduct cannot be tolerated by any New York State employee, particularly our Governor,” Michael Cherkasky, chair of the commission, said.
Since the Yankees are an entity that has “myriad and continuing business and financial interests that relate to New York State government,” Paterson would have had to perform a public function at the game to escape ethics scrutiny. He admittedly did not and later tried to both pay for the tickets and claim that he didn’t actually want those tickets. “By his own admission, the Governor did not speak at the opening ceremonies of Game One and was not even recognized by name during the public address announcement recognizing the public officials who were present,” the Commission said in its findings.
Paterson’s lawyers of course refuted the claim, but it’s unclear if the governor will try to fight the charges. “The commission has wildly misrepresented the facts, exceeded its legal authority and generally confirmed what has long been obvious: that these proceedings were always about a political witch hunt and never about the truth,” lawyer Ted Wells said in statement. Based on the evidence compiled by the commission, it’s going to be an uphill battle for the beleaguered state pol, and Paterson may still be facing a state probe over perjury concerns.
In the news: Metro-North stop, Gov. Paterson’s tickets
As the Yanks enjoy an off-day this evening, we’re going full steam ahead with some notes on Yankee-related news. We start in the Bronx with Metro-North. Now in its second season of use, the new Metro-North stop has been dubbed a success. Ridership is up this year over last, and the station is seeing an average of 3219 customers for weekday games and 3819 for weekend contests. As the cops have been closing streets around the stadium after the game and making driving more difficult, seeing ridership creep upwards at this new stop is a welcome development. I have more on the Metro-North station at Second Ave. Sagas.
Meanwhile, Gov. David Paterson is learning the hard way that baseball and politics do not often mix. New York’s beleaguered lame-duck governor has faced a series of ethics inquiries into his staff’s requesting five tickets to Game 1 of the World Series for free. Over at the Biz of Baseball, Jordan Kobritz offers up a summary of the scandal and highlights how the state’s Public Integrity Commission has recommended that Paterson pay a fine of $96,375 for both the ticket request and his subsequent denials concerning his office’s role in the affair. The case has since been referred to the Albany DA’s office, and Paterson could face criminal charges for his role in this matter.
Paterson didn’t really want those World Series tickets anyway
On Tuesday, Gov. David Paterson drew headlines for his role in an ethics scandal involving Yankee World Series tickets. He allegedly asked for and received free tickets to Game 1 of the Fall Classic despite the fact that the Yanks are registered with the state as a lobbying organization. Paterson has denied the charges, and the Attorney General is now investigating.
Today, the story gets better as The Observer highlights Paterson’s testimony about the tickets. The governor claims he asked for the tickets because he had to be “part of the ceremony,” and he didn’t even want to go anyway. Paterson, legally blind, says he couldn’t see from his seats and would have preferred to watch the game at home. I don’t think that defense is going to hold up too well in a court of law.
Gov. Paterson in ethics trouble over Yanks tix
It hasn’t been the best of weeks for David Paterson, New York’s beleaguered governor. Under siege for his role in a domestic abuse cover-up, Paterson has now been charged with an ethics violation by the state’s Commission on Public Integrity. The claim: Paterson asked for and received free tickets to Game One of the World Series from the Yankees. He may also have testified falsely under oath that he had said he would pay for the tickets when he had no intention of doing so. The Attorney General the Albany district attorney will continue this investigation.
The governor is legally barred from accepting gifts from the Yankees because the team is registered as a state lobbyist, as The Times put it, “in connection with financing for their stadium.” Our friends over at YFSF don’t view this is a big deal but the law is the law. For his part, Paterson has denied these allegations, suddenly a common theme from his administration.