Saturday, August 28, 2010

Paterson's penchant for fudging facts seen as context for potential perjury charges; Atlantic Yards episode deserves a mention

Now they tell us. An article in today's New York Times, headlined With Paterson, the Simple Facts Can Get Complicated, begins:
A thoroughly honest politician has pretty much always been considered an undiscovered species. But for Gov. David A. Paterson, the distinction between the truth and an untruth can get unusually murky.

Once asked if a statement was accurate or inaccurate, Gov. David A. Paterson replied, “Neither.”

On Thursday, an independent counsel asked the Albany County district attorney to determine whether Mr. Paterson intentionally lied to investigators about paying for baseball tickets, something that could lead to the governor being charged with perjury.

But how do you sort that out? After all, according to many people who deal with Mr. Paterson, it’s not always clear when he might be intentionally lying and when he is just saying wrong things. Or doing something that, by his reckoning, is neither lying nor telling the truth.
And it contains this summation:
But these same people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they continue to deal with his administration, say Mr. Paterson tends to fudge facts, as well as to tell one group one thing and another the opposite.
The AY angle

Those of us who saw Paterson (at the Atlantic Yards arena groundbreaking) claim, ridiculously, that Atlantic Yards would "have job creation the likes of which Brooklyn has never seen," got a pretty strong hint of all this in March.

But that anecdote didn't make the Times today. After all, the reporter on the scene took Paterson's claims at face value.

Then, and now, that was unwise.

An editorial

The Times today editorializes, Mr. Paterson's Disappointing Tenure:
To add to his troubles, the state integrity commission is seeking $93,000 in fines from the governor for violating the state gift ban. The ban prohibits officials from taking anything from a lobbyist of more than minimal value, like a cup of coffee.

Mr. Paterson’s lawyer has said that the governor “did not lie” or intend to lie about the tickets and that he expects his client to be completely exonerated. The governor told the Commission on Public Integrity that he always planned to pay for the tickets, including those for his son and his son’s friend. Others testified he decided to send a check for two tickets only after a New York Post columnist called to ask who paid for the $425 seats.

If District Attorney Soares pursues Governor Paterson on these charges, it will be an ignominious conclusion to his hapless term as governor. But it offers yet another reminder that Albany needs not only basic reforms but also a whole new culture: one that is not about reaping perks, like a seat in Yankee Stadium, but about truly serving the people of this state.

To that end, maybe they might want to write about Arana Hankin.

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