The Check's In The Mail defence Could Be What Gets Paterson

Paterson Spitzer YankeesLt. Gov. Paterson, Gov. Spitzer and an MTA official in July 2007

Photo: AP

What New Yorkers won’t do for Yankees tickets!Well, maybe they would not do what the state ethics commission is saying Gov. David Paterson did.

Yesterday the State Commission on Public Integrity levied charges that Paterson improperly accepted tickets to the first game of the 2009 World Series and then lied under oath about having meant to pay for them.

Today The New York Times reported that the investigative panel said Paterson backdated, or had another person backdate, the check they said was intended to pay for the tickets. That “other person” potentially being former Paterson aide David Johnson.

Johnson is, of course, the aide that was accused of abusing his girlfriend; the Paterson administration has come under fire for for their communications with the abused woman.

Citing the commission, the NYT said Johnson had his scheduler request tickets to the game, saying Paterson would attend in his official capacity and would not pay for the tickets, even though he did nothing gubernatorial while attending the game.

When a reporter asked who paid for the tickets, Paterson had it conveyed to the reporter that the Yankee’s president had asked him to come. That proved untrue, and Paterson testified to the commission that he had intended to pay, had a check with him for the tickets but never had a chance to hand it to the proper person, so, he said, he gave it to Johnson to put it in the mail.

The commission said the evidence actually shows the check was only written after the reporter inquired who had paid for the tickets.

Read the NYT’s full coverage here.

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