Monday, March 24, 2008

More Headaches for Paterson

New York Governor David Paterson's stay in office may just be temporary, if more damaging information keeps seeping out. All the girlfriends, the hotel stays paid for with campaign funds, those things people may be willing to overlook.

Though now when we find out he's paying for hotel rooms on the taxpayer dime, any reservoir of goodwill in the wake of the Eliot Spitzer mess will soon evaporate.

Despite owning a house less than 20 minutes from the state Capitol, Gov. Paterson, as lieutenant governor, routinely used taxpayer money to stay at nearby hotels, The Post has learned.

Credit-card records obtained from the state Comptroller's Office covering Paterson's nearly 15 months as lieutenant governor showed he charged his state credit card for 13 Albany hotel stays totaling more than $2,500 between Jan. 1, 2007, and this past Feb. 18.

"It's a bit odd, and it's the kind of thing that certainly raises eyebrows," said Susan Lerner, of Common Cause New York, a government watchdog group.
Naturally, his people have an excuse, though that's being scoffed at.
Despite having a state driver to chauffeur him the 20 minutes home, Paterson, as lieutenant governor, sometimes chose to stay downtown because of a busy schedule, spokesman Errol Cockfield said.

"While he was lieutenant governor, Gov. Paterson had a grueling schedule that required him to be near the Capitol for sensitive negotiations, meetings with legislative leaders, and government-related conferences," he added.

"In some cases, he needed to be closer to the Capitol than his Guilderland home and he stayed within a stone's throw of the Capitol so that he could quickly respond to the urgent needs of the state."

One state-government source laughed at the explanation, noting that lieutenant governors, Paterson included, typically are not involved much in day-to-day matters and that Paterson admitted that, as lieutenant governor, he had no role in budget negotiations.
Probably were other urgent needs he needed to tend to.

Meanwhile, it's never to early to start discussing a possible successor to Paterson.

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