Paterson Skips Ethics Hearing on Yankees Tickets

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 06: New York Governor David Paterson attends the New York Yankees World Series Victory Celebration at City Hall on November 6, 2009 in New York, New York. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

    A lawyer for New York's Public Integrity Commission says Gov. David Paterson violated ethics laws by soliciting five World Series tickets last year from the New York Yankees, a registered lobbyist.
           
    Bridget Holohan, the commission's associate counsel, said at a hearing Tuesday morning that testimony from Yankees officials and former Paterson staff will show the governor never intended to pay for the tickets -- worth more than $2,000 -- before a press report on the arrangement.
           
    Paterson, who denies doing anything wrong when he had staff request tickets for him, two aides, his son and his son's friend, did not attend today's ethics hearing in Albany.

    Theodore Wells, his lawyer, requested an adjournment until a related attorney general's office probe is complete. The state's former chief judge, Judith Kaye, is looking into whether the governor committed perjury when he testified under oath about the ticket matter.

    "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," Wells said.
           
    The request was denied and the hearing is continuing.

    Peter Kiernan, counsel to the governor, wrote that the Yankees were quickly reimbursed for four tickets -- which cost $425 each -- as intended. He has said the governor was entitled to a ticket for his ceremonial appearance at the new stadium, part of his role in promoting the state.

    The Public Officers Law prohibits state officials from soliciting or receiving gifts with more than a nominal value.
           
    Blair Horner  of the New York Public Interest Research Group said earlier this year that if Paterson received special treatment the tickets could be a violation of the state's ban on gifts to officials.