Powerless and Irrelevant New York Governor Fined $62,125 for His Penny-Ante Homage to Rudy Giuliani’s Corruption

“The NCAA is so mad at Kentucky,” the great wrong-side-of-the-tracks college basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian once said , “it will probably slap another two years’ probation on Cleveland State.”

On a related note, the New York State Commission on Public Integrity fined hapless lame-duck governor-by-succession David Paterson $62,125 for getting World Series tickets from the New York Yankees and trying to cover it up afterward. The New York Times reports:

The panel found that Mr. Paterson, a Democrat, violated ethics laws by asking the Yankees, who have many matters before the state, for a gift worth thousands of dollars, leaving the impression that the team could exert improper influence over him.

The $62,125 fine is more than 29 times the $2,125 value of the tickets Paterson obtained for the single World Series game. It approximately half the estimated $120,000 value of the

free tickets New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani collected

from the Yankees throughout his mayorship, as

documented by the Village Voice

, or less than one-third the estimated $200,000 value of the diamond championship rings Giuliani received from the franchise.

If Giuliani—who pushed through tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks and other subsidies for the Yankees, and whose post-mayoral security firm was hired by the team for consulting work—were fined at the same rate as the politically irrelevant Paterson, the penalty would be more than $9.3 million. 

The Times notes that the current era has tighter ethics and conflict-of-interest standards than the past.

It was once common practice for politicians to receive complimentary seats to sporting events, but a state ethics ruling in 2008 made it clear that state officials were prohibited from soliciting or accepting such tickets in most cases.

The story does not say what the pre-2008 standards were for politicians receiving diamond rings, or having free team merchandise ”

stuffed in the back

” of their vehicles.