Opinion: N.Y. Sex Update: New Gov. Paterson now says actually he had more than one affair


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Early reports out of Albany indicate that Gov. David Paterson, at his news conference today, says he was actually involved with more than one woman, including a New York employee.

He was involved not with someone who worked for him, but ‘with someone on the state payroll,’ Paterson said. He added: ‘There’s an employee I may have inherited’ whom his wife knows about. And now the whole world knows, even if they don’t care.


In case you’re keeping score, that makes three sexual liaisons that we know of for the new governor during his 16-year marriage, plus his wife, Michelle, who said she had some too. But we don’t know how many right now. So leave that column empty.

Helpfully, however, state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and state Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno have preemptively cleared him, without waiting for any actual facts. Bruno: ‘I think his personal life is his personal life.’

Silver: ‘It’s not an uncommon occurrence in people’s lives when marriages are failing. This is how they worked it out.... I think it’s a media story, depending on how you play it; and that’s it, and the story should be over.”

In Albany, of course, it’s pretty predictable that mere adultery ...

would be waved off. But even for a state employee who’s involved with a boss?

The other point today is to contrast it with the case of ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who was forced to resign over revelations last week of his involvement in a high-priced prostitution ring of the kind he used to prosecute.

Albany didn’t like Spitzer. He wasn’t one of the boys. So when he was caught with a prostitute, it was: ‘We don’t care about the facts; you gotta go.’ But they like Paterson, the son of a longtime New York politician, so no one’s really interested in whether he used taxpayers’ dimes to help his gal. It’s just: ‘We don’t care about the facts, Dave’s OK.’

Further developments to come, no doubt.

Update: Apparently, Paterson now says there was more than one woman on the state payroll he was involved with, never anyone he supervised but one person whom he has now inherited in the governor’s office.

Maybe it would just be easier for New York officials to start listing the people they’ve not been in bed with.

-- John Riley

John Riley is a Newsday writer whose article appeared on the Swamp of the Chicago Tribune’s Washington bureau.