NEW YORK - MARCH 25: A subway rider pases her Metrocard through a reader at Grand Central station March 25, 2009 in New York City. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority that controls the subway system passed a proposed overall fare hike to help close a $1.2-billion budget gap today. The hike will raise fares to $2.50, from $2.00, for a single ride and $103, from $81, for a 30 day MetroCard. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
The vice chairman of the MTA is refusing Gov. David Paterson's request that he resign following a report that he failed to cooperate with an investigation into undue political interference at the State Police.
David Mack, a real estate developer and political supporter of former Republican Gov. George Pataki, held an unsalaried position as deputy police superintendent from 1995 to 2007. Paterson said Tuesday he was withdrawing Mack's renomination to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey board and asked him to quit his other unpaid appointment.
A spokesman said Wednesday that Mack's public service has been "exemplary.'' He has served on the MTA board for more than 15 years.
Though Mr. Mack’s term ended in July, under state law, he can remain on the board until a replacement is nominated and confirmed. But in his statement, Mr. Paterson said he was asking Mack to resign immediately, the New York Times reported.
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said in a report Tuesday that Mack asserted his rights against self-incrimination in refusing to answer questions. Cuomo concluded that politics tainted the actions of some top state police brass, including the appointment of Mack to the high-level uniform post despite his lack of law enforcement experience.
"We have not yet received his resignation from the MTA board and we are exploring whether the governor has the authority to remove him,'' Paterson spokeswoman Marissa Shorenstein said Wednesday. The governor's office is seeking recommendations for an MTA replacement and will soon start a search for a Port Authority replacement, she said.
While Cuomo said Mack's appointment hurt morale in the State Police, the former president of the troopers' union said Wednesday that Mack worked behind the scenes voluntarily using his real estate expertise to help the agency get new and modern buildings around the state. To say that he damaged morale was "simply not true,'' said Dan De Federicis, who recently stepped down as head of the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association.