ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Gov. David Paterson contradicted his staff, the Yankees and common sense when he falsely claimed he always intended to pay for five tickets to the first game of the 2009 World Series at Yankee Stadium, a state commission said in assessing him a $62,125 fine.
In a report released Monday, the Commission on Public Integrity said Paterson performed no ceremonial function at the game, which still would not have entitled him to free tickets for his son and son’s friend. The others were used by the governor and the two staff members. He and two of his staff paid for four of the tickets a few days later.
“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,” said commission Chairman Michael Cherkasky. “Such conduct cannot be tolerated by any New York State employee, particularly our governor.”
The commission said the civil penalty consists of the $2,125 value of the tickets and $60,000 for three violations of the state’s public officer’s law.
Paterson had said it was his duty to attend the opening series game at the new Bronx stadium. A call to his lawyer Theodore Wells Jr. was not immediately returned Monday.
There was a question whether the Democratic governor gave “intentionally false testimony” to the commission about having written an $850 check in advance for two tickets, special counsel Judith Kaye, the state’s former chief judge, said in an August report.
However, Kaye said the perjury issue was “clouded” by the way Paterson’s commission testimony was given, with the entries read aloud to the legally blind governor, instead of him personally examining a check that was not filled out in his own handwriting.
Wells said then that Paterson didn’t lie, and he noted Kaye’s report didn’t recommend bringing charges.
However, she said the evidence warranted consideration of criminal charges.
Albany County District Attorney P. David Soares said in August the case was under consideration but they would have no comment until the review was complete.
Calls to Soares’ office were not immediately returned Monday.