Another top member of Governor David Paterson’s cabinet has decided to step down amidst calls for the governor’s resignation.
Communications Director Peter Kauffmann announced his resignation, effective Thursday.
"As a former officer in the United States Navy, integrity and commitment to public service are values I take seriously. Unfortunately, as recent developments have come to light, I cannot in good conscience continue in my current position," he said in a statement.
Kauffmann's resignation comes a day after a damaging ethics report on the governor, in which it was determined Paterson had lied to Kauffmann about how he obtained World Series tickets. It also comes amid accusations that the governor urged an alleged victim of domestic violence to drop charges against his top aide.
The chief spokesman becomes the third person in Paterson's administration to quit as a result of the many scandals consuming the governor.
On Tuesday night, State Police Superintendent Harry Corbitt said he was vacating his post. Last week, Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Denise O'Donnell quit.
Kauffmann was brought in a year ago to help the governor after the Senate appointment debacle.
After a luncheon with former Mayor David Dinkins earlier in the day, Paterson said he will be the governor Friday, but would not respond to questions about whether he'll be governor next week.
Dinkins said that the governor should remain in office.
"The governor has already stated that he will not run for re-election, so what's to be served by forcing him from office now?" said the former mayor. Paterson's statement came just hours before black leaders were set to meet to discuss their support for the embattled governor.
The Reverend Al Sharpton convened a meeting Thursday night at Sylvia’s in Harlem to discuss the political fate of Paterson amid two growing scandals.
The governor has received a flurry of calls for his resignation now that there are two different sets of allegations aimed at him.
The New York State Commission on Public Integrity believes Paterson unlawfully took free tickets from the Yankees for the first game of the World Series, and then lied under oath when he said he had always intended to pay for them.
The commission is charging him with violating ethics laws on gifts, and a provision prohibiting the governor from using his official position to secure unwarranted privileges.
"It seems like a very subjective opinion and not a very objective opinion," said Assemblyman and Manhattan Democratic Party Chair Keith Wright.
"Those are serious allegations and the governor needs to deal with those allegations," said Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos.
The Yankees released a statement in response to the commission's claims – saying they received a required legal letter stating that no payment would be required from a counsel to the governor.
The panel has referred the case to State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Albany district attorney for investigation into whether Paterson or anyone else gave false answers to the commission or backdated a check to pay for the tickets.
What may be most difficult for Paterson to explain is the difference between his signature and the signature on the Yankees check, seen right. At the top is the governor's verified signature from a public document. Below it is the check that paid for the Yankees tickets and what is supposedly his. However, it looks nothing like the top signature.
Click to enlarge.
Yet the name "David" is almost identical to the bottom signature – which comes from Paterson's aide David Johnson, the one at the center of a domestic abuse scandal.
“We are asking to meet with the Public Integrity Commission based on the facts of the testimony, which we dispute, said Paterson. “We also dispute that I solicited anything from the Yankees, and acted improperly."
According to the New York Times, a mutual friend of both the governor and the woman accusing Johnson of attacking her told investigators that Paterson asked her to convince the accuser to drop the issue.