Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Blinded by the White

With current Governor Eliot Spitzer reportedly ready to resign today, to be effective Monday, New Yorkers will be able to move on to a new Gubernatorial scandal.

As current Lieutenant Governor David Paterson takes the reins of Governor, this story should gain a bit more prominence.

Joseph Maioriello, who had performed his duties as a photographer for the state for twenty-six years was fired by Paterson for "poor performance." Paterson replaced Maioriello with an African-American woman. Maioriello claims that he was told the staffing change was due entirely to race.

Maioriello then filed suit against Paterson for wrongful termination. In a sworn deposition responding to the lawsuit, Paterson claimed that, because of his visual impairment, he wasn’t aware of either photographer’s race. Really. Paterson actually stated this in a sworn deposition.

But not to worry. There's a reasonable explanation. Paterson was just kidding:
Paterson's current chief of staff, Charles O'Byrne, yesterday dismissed the statement as a "Paterson quip, a joke."

"If you know anything about David Paterson, it's that he never used his blindness as an excuse for anything," said O'Byrne, who said he was in the room during the deposition.

But in a decision first reported by the New York Law Journal yesterday, US Northern District Court Judge Norman Mordue found it no laughing matter.

He rejected attempts by Senate Democrats to throw out the case, saying there is sufficient evidence "from which a jury could find that plaintiff was terminated so that Sen. Paterson could hire an African-American photographer in his place."
Brilliant. New York's next Governor likes to joke around while under oath.