New York Gov. David Paterson was fined $62,125 by the state’s Commission on Public Integrity for accepting several free tickets to see the New York Yankees in the 2009 World Series.
The commission did not buy Paterson’s statements that he always intended to pay for the five tickets, in part because his own staff refuted those claims. Paterson could have faced a fine of up to $100,000. Paterson attended the October 2009 game with two aides, his son and his son’s friend.
“The moral and ethical tone of any organization is set at the top. Unfortunately the Governor set a totally inappropriate tone by his dishonest and unethical conduct. Such conduct cannot be tolerated by any New York State employee, particularly our Governor,” Michael Cherkasky, the commission’s Chairman, said in a statement.
Paterson solicited and accepted the $425 tickets from Yankees’ officials to Game One of the World Series, but he has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing. The ethics commission spent months investigating the matter and interviewed several staff members.
The Yankees, the commission said, have several financial matters before various branches of the state government, making Paterson’s acceptance of the tickets a clear conflict of interest. Paterson was not introduced at the game, nor did he speak publicly, which meant the tickets were not of a ceremonial nature, but even if they were, according to the commission, Paterson was not entitled to free tickets.
“The $62,125 civil penalty consists of the value of the tickets, $2,125, plus $25,000 for violating Public Officers Law §73(5)(a), $25,000 for violating Public Officers Law §73(5)(b), and $10,000 for violating Public Officers Law §74(3)(d),” the commission stated.