Governor Paterson Fined for Soliciting Yankees Tickets
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 20, 2010
CONTACT: Walter C. Ayres
ALBANY — The New York State Commission on Public Integrity today announced that it has fined Governor David A. Paterson $62,125 for soliciting, accepting and receiving five complimentary tickets to Game One of the 2009 World Series for himself, two aides, his teenage son and his son's friend.
Concluding that the Governor's testimony that he always intended to pay for the tickets was refuted by his staff, the Yankees, an independent handwriting expert and common sense, the Commission stated, “The Governor's false testimony is . . . evidence that he knew his conduct was unlawful and, thus, is one factor underlying the Commission's determination that the Governor violated Public Officers Law §§73(5)(a), 73(5)(b), 74(3)(d), 74(3)(f) and 74(3)(h).” The Commission's Decision also notes that the Governor did not perform a ceremonial function at the game, and his attendance was not related to his duties and responsibility as a public official. “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 noted.
Even if the Governor had performed a ceremonial function at the game, it would not have entitled him to free tickets for his son and his son's friend.
The Commission noted that the Yankees have “myriad and continuing business and financial interests that relate to New York State government,” including real estate, stadium development and tax matters.
The $62,125 civil penalty consists of the value of the tickets, $2,125, plus $25,000 for violating Public Officers Law §73(5)(a), $25,000 for violating Public Officers Law §73(5)(b), and $10,000 for violating Public Officers Law §74(3)(d). The law does not authorize a civil penalty for a violation of Public Officers Law §§74(3)(f) and §74(3)(h).
“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,” commented Michael Cherkasky, the Chairman of the Commission.
The Commission Decision and other relevant documents are available on-line at http://www.nyintegrity.org/enforcement/.