The Independent Counsel appointed to look into Gov. David Paterson's acquisition of tickets for last year's opening game of the Yankees World Series has concluded that Paterson did not tell the truth when quizzed by investigators for the State Public Integrity Commission.
The report issued Thursday by Independent Council Judith Kaye concludes that parts of Paterson's testimony during a February 24, 2010 interview were "inaccurate and misleading." The report also questions whether the governor gave "intentionally false testimony" about having written a check in advance to pay for two tickets.
Kaye has referred the potential perjury case to Albany District Attorney David Soares for possible criminal prosecution. Soares did not return phone calls left at his office seeking comment.
Paterson told investigators he wrote out a check for $850 to pay for two of the tickets he used that day — one for his son and one for his son's friend. Paterson said he didn't think he needed to pay for his own ticket, or that of a top aide, since he was there in his "official capacity" representing the people of New York. The governor said he left blank the line for the payee on the check, because he was not sure what name to fill in. He also said he gave the check to his top aide, David Johnson, who was charged with delivering the check to the proper Yankees official.
Paterson's attendance at the game was first questioned by the New York Post's Fred Dicker, who was initially told by Paterson's staff that the governor was "invited by the Yankees." That was not true, Kaye's report concludes.
Paterson eventually paid for two of the five tickets used and staff members paid for two others. Kaye's report concludes that Paterson did not make out the check prior to the game. "[T]he check was not in his handwriting, which would have been obvious to the Governor had he examined the check," the report says. It also concludes that "there is no evidence that any effort was made to pay for any tickets prior to the game."
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo appointed Kaye to review allegations that Paterson had improperly interfered in the case of a domestic violence case involving a top aide, and to look into ethics charges related to his attendance at the opening day of the World Series. Kaye concluded that Paterson's actions in the domestic violence case did not merit a criminal referral, but reflected bad judgement on his part.
In a statement, Paterson's private attorney said the governor never lied about the tickets, and that he expects the Albany County DA will conclude that no criminal charges are warranted.
Read the full report: 08_26_10_Kaye_Report