Gov. David Paterson has been fined $61,125 for accepting free tickets to last year's World Series, New York's top ethics panel announced Monday.
The state Public Integrity Commission
said Paterson "knew his conduct was unlawful" when he testified that he he intended to pay for the five tickets to the first game of the series between the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies. Members of his staff contradicted his testimony.
Paterson, 56, attended with two aides, his son, Alex, and a friend of his son.
The hefty fine includes the $2,125 cost of the five tickets and penalties for violating New York's Public Officers Law.
"Even if the governor had performed a ceremonial function at the game, it would not have entitled him to free tickets for his son and his son's friend," the commission statement
The ethics panel opened a probe earlier this year when it determined that Paterson only paid for tickets after the news media pushed the issue. The commission concluded that Paterson, a Democrat, had never intended to pay and lied about it under oath.
It referred the matter to state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who in turn appointed Judith Kaye, an independent counsel. Earlier this year
, Kaye determined that Paterson misled ethics investigators, but the report stopped short of recommending that the governor be charged with perjury.
In a related investigation earlier this year
, Kaye determined that Paterson's involvement in a top aide's domestic violence case reflected poor judgment but did not rise to the level of a criminal offense. Kaye wrote
then that the governor engaged in "inappropriate conduct" in his contact with the alleged victim but his actions didn't amount to witness tampering or related criminal acts.
Paterson's term expires on Dec. 31, 2010. He became governor when Eliot Spitzer resigned in 2008 in the midst of a prostitution scandal.