N.Y. / Region

December 20, 2010, 12:11 pm

Paterson Fined $62,125 Over World Series Tickets

New York Governor David Paterson celebrated the New York Yankees’ World Series victory at City Hall in November of 2009.Jim McIsaac/Getty Images Gov. David A. Paterson celebrating the Yankees’ World Series victory in November 2009.

Updated, 1:11 p.m. | The state ethics commission has fined Gov. David A. Paterson $62,125 for soliciting and accepting five free tickets to the 2009 World Series from the New York Yankees.

The Commission on Public Integrity noted that the Yankees have “myriad and continuing” issues before state government, including real estate, stadium development and tax matters, creating a clear conflict of interest for Mr. Paterson.

In its finding, the commission also concluded that the governor had lied about his acceptance of the tickets, saying that Mr. Paterson’s testimony, in which he said he always intended to pay for them, was refuted by his own staff, Yankees officials and documentary evidence, “not to mention common sense.”

“The moral and ethical tone of any organization is set at the top,” said Michael G. Cherkasky, the commission’s chairman. “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.”

The commission’s report comes four months after an independent counsel accused Mr. Paterson of misleading state investigators in the case and asked the Albany County district attorney to determine whether Mr. Paterson should be prosecuted for perjury. The status of the district attorney’s inquiry is not known.

In its report, the commission rejected a hearing officer’s recommendation of a much smaller fine, saying ethics rules must be applied “exactingly to those at the top.”

“The governor solicited tickets from a registered lobbyist,” the commission said, referring to the Yankees. “When members of the media learned of his conduct, he attempted to cover up his misdeeds” by backdating a check, and when questioned under oath about the check, “the governor told a story” that was not true, the commission concluded.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Paterson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read the commission’s findings here (pdf).

From 1 to 25 of 134 Comments

1 2 3 ... 6
  1. 1. December 20, 2010 12:20 pm Link

    He should have invoked the “Bloomberg Defense.”

    Just say it slipped through the cracks!

    — Jamie
  2. 2. December 20, 2010 12:20 pm Link

    Well, Dave, better hold on to that first year’s pension. You’ll need it!

    — Johanna
  3. 3. December 20, 2010 12:24 pm Link

    I got in general admission back in ‘68. Then I moved down to the boxes.

    I always intended to pay.

    — Sal Magpie
  4. 4. December 20, 2010 12:24 pm Link

    I have no doubt Governor Paterson thought he was entitled to free Yankees tickets. It’s so disappointing to see our supposed statesmen not only willing to sell out, but to sell out for so little. (But I guess they know what they’re worth — it’s the public that’s duped.)

    — SKV
  5. 5. December 20, 2010 12:41 pm Link

    I smell corruption. Shame on you Paterson

    — Dan King
  6. 6. December 20, 2010 12:44 pm Link

    So that $62,125 is pretty much his first retirement money of $80,000 (after taxes). I understand better now why he was worried.

    — Agadir
  7. 7. December 20, 2010 12:58 pm Link

    Paterson has been an embarrassment since the first day he was sworn in as governor. Most New Yorkers will give a huge sigh of relief when this moron is finally out of office.

    — Todhunter
  8. 8. December 20, 2010 1:18 pm Link

    I hope Cuomo will not disappoint us by avoiding scandals, which New Yorkers expect from their elected officials, from the governor all the way down. If he’s not caught, stealing, lying, sleeping around, something is fishy. Maybe he can reach a new low in something.

    — The Public
  9. 9. December 20, 2010 1:21 pm Link

    “…“the governor told a story” that was not true…”

    That’s a lie where I come from.

    — dave in VB
  10. 10. December 20, 2010 1:21 pm Link

    Poor Governor Patterson. But put your fine in perspective. It’s not much more than the average Yankee earns per game.

    — Paul
  11. 11. December 20, 2010 1:22 pm Link

    Gimme a break! The governor of NY is entitled to free tickets to the World Series. It’s not like he tried to sell them! The ethics commission should spend their time cleaning up the corruption that is bankrupting this state and forget this petty stuff.

    — Jennifer
  12. 12. December 20, 2010 1:36 pm Link

    Maybe they wanted Paterson to umpire!

    — Unlearned Hand
  13. 13. December 20, 2010 1:38 pm Link

    Hope he didn’t leave that game early!

    — keith
  14. 14. December 20, 2010 1:47 pm Link

    I snuck into Ebbets Field and sat in the 50 cent bleacher seats in June 1952 and watched Gil Hodges hit 4 home runs. I intended to pay for it when I grew up and started working but the Dodgers moved out of Brooklyn and I couldn’t find their new address.

    — arnie
  15. 15. December 20, 2010 1:53 pm Link

    A minor infraction committed by a minor league talent. As in most of these situations, it is the perjury about the minor infraction that becomes more significant than the offense itself. If you don’t intend to tell the truth, just keep your mouth shut.
    The saddest thing about our departing governor is that his parents thought they were doing him a favor by not making him learn to read braille or use a guide dog. Shame on them.

    — Kayemtee
  16. 16. December 20, 2010 1:54 pm Link

    Jehhifer: please give a legal reference for your statement that the governor is entitled to free World Series Tickets.

    — mark
  17. 17. December 20, 2010 1:57 pm Link

    This is a fine antidote to today’s cup of whine from the departing Governor. Apparently much of his first year’s pension check will have to go from one state agency to another. On this matter, like the others for which the Governor has lately been blaming those formerly around him, he likely will blame his bad luck on poor legal counsel he received from his battering body man. Those who believe this incident was much ado about nothing should read the CPI report. It’s undoubtedly true that other public officials have privately attended sports events without paying for themselves or others in their party. The matter could have ended there had the Governor simply paid afterwards when asked about this. Instead, he lied to the public first and then, after an opportunity to think better of it, he lied again under oath, with staggering ineptitude and inconsistency, as the Commission found. This did not occur during the transition when, according to the Governor, he was deprived of the sage counsel of his non-filer Secretary. He did this all on his own.

    — Michael H
  18. 18. December 20, 2010 2:03 pm Link

    He figured he would never get caught or, if he did, he would just be able to explain it away as an oversight and pay for the tickets. WRONG, you clown. Makes you wonder how many other freebies he and his inner circle may have gotten which have not been scrutinized. Bravo to the Commission.

    — Morphoses Fan
  19. 19. December 20, 2010 2:18 pm Link

    Wow. Who knew the staff of the governor’s office was full of Karnaks. Great to have self styled mind readers a phone call away.

    This is so trivial! Look at Espada, Bruno, Rangel, I could go on and on. I’m sure plenty of people would have stepped forward to pick up the $2,100 tab for these tickets. I can think of several right off the top of my head.

    After all the press, the legislature and the TV pundits have put Paterson through because he stepped in to become our governor, the State of New York should have BOUGHT these tickets for him.

    Or maybe you think it would be better if the governor pulled a Sarah Palin and just quit one day. “Golly, being governor isn’t fun anymore – it’s actually a tough and thankless job. I have to PERFORM – nah – I’m outa’ here.”

    — Voter
  20. 20. December 20, 2010 2:21 pm Link

    A mountain out of a molehill from our so-called Commission on Public Integrity, which, overly imbued with a sense of self-importance yet keeping its head in the sand to all the actual corruption in New York State government, is undeserving of any public respect.

    — Nat
  21. 21. December 20, 2010 2:22 pm Link

    I wonder how many other politicians have done the very same thing and have not even been questioned about it.

    — mtrav
  22. 22. December 20, 2010 2:29 pm Link

    This $62,000 fine, like something out of Monty Python, proves that the ethics commission has no perspective whatsoever. How about a fine of 10x the ticket prices, like $8,000? No. You have a fine for A FEW FREE BASEBALL TICKETS than for almost all the crimes in the NYS Penal Code. It’s piling on, and it’s disgusting.

    — Pounds of flesh
  23. 23. December 20, 2010 2:36 pm Link

    Governments/politicians who deal with sports teams are corrupt in varying degrees. Some might suppose that Patterson’s “mistake” was not to have demanded a box for state officials as part of the permitting process when Yankee Stadium was built. DC politicians did exactly that when they approved a stadium for the Washington Nationals.


    Is the message about what’s OK here, “season tickets — fine, as long as you demand them as a quid pro quo for state subsidies to build the stadium”; but “world series tickets — not fine if you demand them from a lobbyist?”


    — Just a matter of degree
  24. 24. December 20, 2010 2:38 pm Link

    To the person saying he is entitled and to focus on real corruption. You don’t understand govt. and that corruption takes the form of quid pro quo. The governor solicits box tickets from the Yankees and gets them. The Yankees solicit a certain favor regarding parking lots and changing a small seemingly insignificant law around it and they get it.

    — David
  25. 25. December 20, 2010 2:42 pm Link

    David A. Paterson’s behavior is part of the times. We expect this from our public officials.

    If The New York Times can find one – just one – public official that keeps his word and is not compromised multiply in several departments, let The Times put that one forward. This is not about casual stuff. This is about lying and being on the take – about cutting corners, soliciting from those served and served and served again.

    We struggled to build this nation and sever with Europe in 1790.. but today we are a mess.

    I see nothing unique about David A. Paterson. Nothing whatsoever. And yesterday’s coverage was not humorous. It was pathetic.

    We have an honest leader where we live – and she wants to get out: Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward is her name. She lives in Willsboro.

    Perhaps The New York Times could come north and do her profile for the Magazine that published on Edmund L. Andrews, by Edmund L. Andrews, and then eased him out the door. And then eased the Magazine Editor out the door.

    Let’ start over.

    — Sandy Lewis
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