Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Gov. Paterson's Troubles Multiplying

The State Commission on Public Integrity appears to have found that Gov. David Paterson may have lied under oath about receiving Yankee tickets last year:

There is reasonable cause to believe that the Governor solicited, received, and accepted tickets for himself, his son, and his son’s friend, from the New York Yankees, a registered lobbyist, to Game One of the World Series in violation of Sections 73(5)(a) and (b) and 74(3)(d), (f) and (h) of the Public Officers Law.

There is reasonable cause to believe that the Governor falsely testified under oath that he had always intended to pay for the tickets for his son and his son’s friend, and that before attending the game he had handwritten a check for $850 for ultimate delivery to the New York Yankees as payment for the tickets, when, in fact, the Governor’s intention was to receive and accept the tickets for himself, his son and his son’s friend without paying for them, until a press inquiry after the receipt of the tickets caused the Governor to submit a backdated check as payment for the tickets.
This isn't the end of the story here, but just the beginning of the next chapter. Paterson has the right to a hearing before the Commission.

Throw that on top of his apparently obstruction of justice in a domestic abuse case involving his adviser David Johnson, and Paterson's problems are multiplying like one wouldn't believe.

Paterson continues to claim that he can't get his side of the story out because of the ongoing investigation by AG Cuomo's office, but he could still do so without compromising that investigation. That he's issuing non-statements about the scandal each time he's asked doesn't help him one iota. State Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs begged Paterson to get his side out there to counter the media pile-on and while Jacobs doesn't get the sense that a resignation is impending or even being discussed, it is something that ought to be creeping into the thought process of top Democrats across the state because Paterson's dangerously compromised as governor at this point and he can no longer use the bully pulpit of the governorship to get the state's work done.

The budget remains the single biggest issue facing the state, and that work has taken a back seat to fending of the scandal.

The clock is ticking on getting the state budget done - complete with a multibillion dollar deficit - and the top story will remain Paterson's scandal until further notice.

Paterson has taken the time out of trying to ignore the scandals to note that the budget deficit has ballooned from $1.4 billion to $2 billion in the past month. The shortfall is due in part to the scandal involving the Aqueduct racino, which is currently being investigated for improprieties in the letting of the contract to a group that includes several key Democrats and a gaming company that is relatively inexperienced in handling large scale projects.

Sherr-una Booker, the woman who was allegedly assaulted by Paterson's adviser, David Johnson, has apparently willingly given testimony to Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office without even the need for a subpoena, based on statements made by her attorney. Booker is currently under the protection of the Attorney General. The AG's office is also interviewing members of the State Police, who have also been accused of contacting Booker to get her to drop her case against Johnson.

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