Paterson's Black & White Photog Flip Costs State $300K

Suit alleged then-state senator fired photographer for being white

By Jim Scott
|  Friday, May 1, 2009  |  Updated 10:40 AM EDT
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Paterson's Black & White Photog Flip Costs State $300K

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Paterson claimed in a sworn deposition that he didn't see well enough to have fired Maioriello because of his race. A spokesman for Paterson later said the comment was "a quip, a joke."

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Albany may be having a hard time making ends meet, but the state government found $300,000 to quietly settle a racial discrimination law suit against Gov. David Paterson, according to the New York Post.

The suit  and accused Paterson of firing a white staff photographer in order to replace him with an African-American photographer back when the governor was the Senate minority leader in 2003.

Joseph Maiorello, 56, of Schenectady, was seeking $1.5 million when he filed the lawsuit against the Senate in 2005. Maiorello made $34,000 a year and had been a Senate employee for 26 years before being fired and replaced with a black employee in 2003, The Post reported.

Maioriello claimed he was told by John McPadden, then Paterson's chief of staff, that he was being fired because a number of minority senators wanted to replace him with "a minority photographer, a black photographer," according to The Post.

The lawsuit was scheduled to go to trial in Syracuse with Paterson slated as the key witness. The case was settled earlier in the week with the final deal being hammered out yesterday.

Paterson replaced Maiorello after ousting then-Sen. Martin Connor (D-Brooklyn) as the Senate minority leader. Connor was expected to testify that Maiorello was a good photographer.

Neither Paterson nor the state admitted Maiorello was the victim of racial discrimination.

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