As embattled Gov. David Paterson faced new allegations of impropriety this week, two southeast Queens elected officials said the black community should stand by Paterson.
“We need to make sure that we as a community should support each other,” said City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) during a forum in Hollis Saturday, pointing out that Paterson “and his family are under a lot of pressure.”
The governor has been defiant amid escalating calls for his resignation and said he would not step down.
Paterson is being investigated by state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office, which is weighing whether the governor interfered with a domestic violence investigation involving an aide, David Johnson.
Last week the state Commission on Public Integrity charged Paterson with violating ethics laws over free Yankees tickets he received for the first game of the 2009 World Series, which he attended with his teenage son, his son’s friend and Johnson.
“The commission determined that there is reasonable cause to believe that Gov. Paterson solicited, received and accepted an unlawful gift and falsely testified under oath that he had always intended to pay for the tickets for his son and his son’s friend when, in fact, the governor’s intention was to receive and accept the tickets without paying for them until a press inquiry caused him to submit a backdated check as payment for the tickets,” the commission said in a news release March 3.
The commission asked Cuomo and the Albany district attorney to investigate whether Paterson or anyone else “may have committed a crime or crimes by swearing falsely during the commission’s interview of him and by causing a check to be back-dated.”
Comrie suggested there was a double standard, contending that former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani had a World Series ring made up for him and “went to every Yankee game” while in office, but there were no allegations about Giuliani.
“None of this nonsense has been brought up,” Comrie said. “David Paterson went to one game and they’re trying to put him in jail because of it.”
State Assemblywoman Barbara Clark (D-Queens Village) also said she was sticking by Paterson.
“Until there’s some result from this [Cuomo] investigation, I don’t think we should jump the gun,” Clark said.
While Clark expressed her support for Paterson, she said he should step down if the probe finds that the governor committed wrongdoing.
The Rev. Charles Norris of Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church in Jamaica, who also attended the meeting, compared Paterson’s troubles with that of former President Bill Clinton.
He said Clinton was able to run the country while going through impeachment proceedings yet some say Paterson should not be able to lead the state while there are “innuendos about him that have not been proven.”
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz
©2010 Community News Group
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