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New York Governor fined for accepting free Yankees tickets. Why aren’t the Yankees in trouble?

Dec 20, 2010, 1:36 PM EDT

Image (1) patterson%20world%20series.jpg for post 4339

You’ll recall last March that the New York Commission on Public Integrity charged New York’s governor, David Paterson, with violating state ethics laws when he got free tickets to the opening game of the 2009 World Series from the Yankees.  The case has run its course now, and yep, the governor has been found guilty.  He was fined $62,125 for soliciting, accepting and receiving five complimentary tickets to Game One of the 2009 World Series for himself, two aides, his son and his son’s friend.  Shocking that there is corruption in Albany. Truly, truly shocking.

I’ve mentioned this before, but one of my areas of expertise back in my shyster days was public ethics law. I represented a whole bunch of public officials who got into hot water over free tickets, golf outings, hotel stays, meals and all manner of other perks, bribes and assorted nastiness. I represented even more private businesses and individuals who wanted to do business with public officials and offered said tickets, golf outings, hotel stays, meals and all manner of other perks. It was easily the most fun I had as a lawyer (and this was my favorite case). When one of these guys tells you “really, I planned to pay for it the whole time!” they truly believe they’re the first ones to have come up with it.  It’s adorable really.

Here’s my question with this case: were the Yankees charged?  Because in all my old cases both the public official who took the gifts and the business or lobbyist or whoever offered the gift were charged. We called it the “one steak, two charges” rule. As in, both the provider and the consumer of said porterhouse was on the hook for the free meal.  It was only when the public official was truly exerting pressure on someone for bribes or gifts that the provider was not in hot water too.

That could have been the case for the Yankees, but if Patterson was truly twisting the Yankees’ arm over some other bit of government business, you’d think he would be charged with something greater than merely accepting gifts.  It’s also possible that the Yankees were let off the hook in exchange for their help in investigating Patterson (and it’s stated in the article that someone from the Yankees testified, though that could have been compelled testimony).  I am surprised, however, that even at the time of the charges last spring we didn’t hear any more about the Yankees being in trouble.

  1. larryhockett - Dec 20, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    Wow, $62 grand for a Yankee fan to have the pleasure of watching his team emasculated by Cliff Lee. Great deal!

  2. hankhill - Dec 20, 2010 at 1:47 PM

    What’s the big deal? It’s not like he could see the game.

  3. bobwsc - Dec 20, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    so this dude and gilbert gottfried were separated at birth? to quote the late and nearly great greg giraldo: “gilbert, you look like you smell like pee.” same goes for this slippery thief.

  4. poreef - Dec 20, 2010 at 1:58 PM

    Isn’t the real issue here that the soon-to-be-former Governor claimed to be a Mets fan since he liked underdogs?

  5. amhendrick - Dec 20, 2010 at 2:04 PM

    Yankees probably offered free tix to the investigators to get off the hook.

  6. sdelmonte - Dec 20, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    You are expecting logic in anything related to Albany? That’s like expecting honesty.

  7. Jonny 5 - Dec 20, 2010 at 2:27 PM

    Well he basically built them half of a brand new stadium. For Free…. I mean dang people, anyone slippery enough to be able to use tax dollars to fund private enterprise should have gotten season tickets for life… For free. Don’t you know how much money the Yankees saved by having you pay for it? 450 million they saved themselves but cost you. And it’s Patterson you can thank.

  8. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Dec 20, 2010 at 4:04 PM

    What I find shocking about the fine was that it was only half the price of the tickets! $125K for 5 seat to see the Yankees in the series is about right.

  9. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 20, 2010 at 4:08 PM

    The ironic part is that $62,125 is still a deep discount from the Yankees current prices, so everybody wins. Well, the Yankees didn’t win that game, but everyone else wins.

  10. cleanupnynow - Dec 25, 2010 at 1:41 AM

    David Paterson should be going to jail instead of only being nominally fined.

    Paterson has simply been a joke of a governor. He simply has no ability to govern. In fact, “The Democratic Conference: Organizational and Operational Structure Report” is an eyewitness account of Paterson’s DYSFUNCTIONAL governing nature while Senate Minority Leader.

    Paterson’s office was criticized for PATRONAGE, LACK OF LEADERSHIP, INDECISIVENESS and INFIGHTING, in other words the office was a ZOO. Those interviewed in the report indicated that its chief of staff the disorganized Michael Jones-Bey had no management skills, was neglectful in his duties – often boozing it up with staff and coming to the office with a hangover – and should be relieved of his position.

    Amazingly, for running such a DYSFUNCTIONAL CHAOTIC office, the disorganized Michael Jones-Bey was picked by Paterson to mismanage the MWBE program at Empire State Development Corporation.

    That is the Paterson way – being rewarded for your incompetence.

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