During yesterday’s big game, the internet news community was agog with something other than football. The big rumor was that the NY Times was going to publish the Governor David Paterson scandal today, and the Governor was going to be forced to resign. That didn’t happen but there is a scandal beginning to unravel regarding political influence, campaign contributions and horse racing.
Yesterdays rumors involved a small item from Business insider.
Business Insider is reporting Elizabeth Benjamin at The Daily News describes the report as “much worse” than the governor’s previous admission of an affair with a state employee, though she declines to name NYT by name. We’ve now heard from a single source familiar with the goings on at the Governor’s office that the story will likely drop on Monday, and that the governor’s resignation will follow.
Quickly after it broke, Kerry Picket of the Washington Times began to update the reports:
- BUSINESS INSIDER UPDATE: The governor’s office completely denies any plans to resign and says “the Times story” will not run tomorrow.
- Gawker expands on Paterson’s denial to the allegations about his coming resignation and a scandal…We asked Paterson’s deputy communications director Marissa Shoenstein for a response and she emailed the following: “There is absolutely zero truth to these rumors. The governor is not resigning.” ….Shorenstein also claimed that the story isn’t coming out tomorrow or “any time soon” and called it a “profile.” …more than one Times writers will be by-lined on the piece… her office has been in contact with them and the governor is cooperating with the piece. Finally, when asked whether or not anything that’s going to be written in the forthcoming Times piece on Gov. Paterson could be described as scandalous, a “bombshell,” or anything that might find itself in the public’s general interest,” Shorenstein gave a flat-out denial: “No.”
To be honest unless it involves a dead woman or a live child, I doubt that the governor will be forced to resign because of marital infidelity. Interestingly enough, at the time the “NY Times Scandal” story has been brewing, the New York Post has been reporting a story about the governor, which if not illegal is politically immoral. This scandal is a horse of a different color.
Gov. Paterson is lashing out at top aides for the growing debacle surrounding what they consider a “corrupt” Aqueduct gambling deal decision — and suggesting that they’ll soon be fired, The Post has learned.
“He’s become paranoid. He sits gnashing his teeth, looking around for scapegoats among the people around him,” said a source frequently in contact with Paterson. “He’s lecturing them, launching into tirades, and he’s demoralized the entire staff in the process.”
In response, several Paterson aides have signaled they may quit over what some call his “corrupt decision” to give the lucrative Aqueduct gaming contract to a questionable consortium that includes the Rev. Floyd Flake of Queens, whose political support the poll-challenged governor has aggressively sought.
Sounds a bit like the former Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich.
“Aqueduct was the last straw for many of them, they all want out,” said a source close to Paterson’s aides. “Even on the inside, the Aqueduct decision is seen as corrupt,” added a second administration source.
For months, aides to Paterson privately complained about what they called the governor’s lack of focus on critical issues, his poor work habits and late-night, booze-fueled “disappearances” at trendy nightclubs and undisclosed locations — when even his State Police bodyguards don’t know where he is.
They’ve also groused about his penchant for spreading false rumors about aides and a peculiar reliance on two little-known assistants, Clemmie Harris and David Johnson, who have more power than his senior professional appointees.
But Paterson’s decision to award the huge contract to operate thousands of video lottery machines to the Aqueduct Entertainment Group at the same time he was blatantly seeking Flake’s endorsement was seen by many as the final unacceptable step.
“People on the inside have put up with a lot, but they’re embarrassed by what the governor has done, he did it behind their backs, and he did it for reasons that they’re very uncomfortable with,” said a source close to the situation.
Several sources said Paterson has turned with a fury on his own aides, blaming them for a series of disastrous press reports on the Aqueduct contract, his once-again declining poll numbers, and a new round of rumors and reports — including two recent disclosures in The Post — that he is involved in relationships with women other than his wife.
Paterson’s secretary and chief of staff, Larry Schwartz, was described as “more somber than ever” over the governor’s behavior.
And his chief counsel, Peter Kiernan, was said to be “counting his days until he is out.”
“The truth is that Paterson made the Aqueduct decision with a blatant disregard for the smartest people around him,” an insider said.
A longtime Paterson friend, who has tried to be of assistance to the governor, said it was “really sad to see what’s happened to David.
“He appears increasingly detached from reality, unaware that he has alienated everyone and has lost the political support he needs to survive.”
If the rumors of a NY Times investigative report about Governor Paterson are true, and If it exposes a “smoking gun” of corruption associated with the Aqueduct deal that maybe Paterson may be forced to resign. Short of that, he will be around til the end of his term