Damn Yankees—these might be the most expensive World Series tickets ever! Last fall, Governor Paterson and his aides allegedly solicited five free tickets to the Yankees World Series games. The tickets had a face value of $425 each, but now the state's Commission on Public Integrity suggests that the outgoing governor pay up a $93,000 fine! The CPI's special counsel said, "The governor is supposed to set the ethical standard by which all state employees conduct themselves. I submit that he has sadly and widely missed the mark in doing so." Ethics? In Albany? What's that?
The Paterson-World Series tickets saga has involved apparently forged backdated checks (by aide David Johnson, who is facing his own legal problems) and suggestions that the Yankees only offered the governor tickets to the playoffs. The Governor didn't show up the ethics meeting yesterday; his lawyer, Ted Wells, explained, "The Commission has not acted on this matter for close to six months, and has articulated no reason why it can no longer wait until Judge Kaye completes her review," referring to a still-ongoing investigation by former NY State Chief Justice Judith Kaye.
The NY Times details how one former Paterson staffer, Peter Kauffmann testified that he told Paterson to pay for tickets, but his advice was dismissed:
Mr. Kauffmann related how he began asking Mr. Paterson and other administration officials about the tickets last November after receiving a phone call from a reporter for The New York Post questioning whether the governor had paid his own way.
Mr. Paterson and others informed him, Mr. Kauffmann testified, that the gift ban did not apply because Mr. Paterson was attending in his ceremonial capacity as governor. But Mr. Paterson played no ceremonial role in the game, like throwing the first pitch.
“My advice was that regardless of any legal argument that could be made or any legal opinion that could be presented, the smartest thing to do was to pay for all the tickets,” said Mr. Kauffmann.
The response from Mr. Paterson and Mr. Johnson, he said, was: “’No, no, no. That’s not how this works.’ ”
Yeah, sausage is made with more sausage!