According to the New York Times, Governor Paterson hired an ex-girlfriend into a high level position in one of the most important offices in his administration. Then his spokeswoman lied about their relationship.
That’s at least part of the “bombshell” that the New York Times buried in the story it published today about Paterson. Most readers seem to have missed the really damaging material, distracted by the hundreds of words about Paterson liking to eat in fancy restaurants and not especially enjoying giving speeches, raising money, or travelling around the state.
The Times reports that Paterson attempted to appoint “an old girlfriend of his,” Gabrielle Turner, as director of New York State’s Washington office, which deals with members of Congress, the White House and federal agencies. For reasons unknown, he wound up appointing her as deputy director, a slightly lower position,
The appointment came as a surprise to those working at the office. Turner hadn’t worked in politics or government for fifteen years, not counting a two-week stint volunteering for the Obama campaign. When the appointment caused a ruckus in New York tabloids, the office was up in arms. Paterson had to send one of his guys down to tell them that disloyalty to Turner would be viewed as disloyalty to the governor himself.
The result was a mass defection of staff members, including the director Veronica Sullivan, the former chief of staff for Chuck Schumer.
The Times describes Turner as “an old girlfriend of [Paterson’s].” With all the checking that presumably accompanied the publication of this article, the Times reporters must have uncovered unimpeachable evidence that Paterson had once had a romantic relationship with Turner. This directly contradicts what Paterson spokeswoman Marissa Shorenstein was saying back in in summer of 2009. She told the New York Post that Paterson and Turner “did not date” in the past.
So, at the very least, it seems that the Times caught Paterson in a lie about his prior relationship with Turner. Was there more to the story? Certainly there will be lots of reporters now trying to get to the bottom of why Paterson appointed a former girlfriend to this powerful Washington post and then his spokesperson needed to lie about it. Maybe someday we’ll find out.
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