When New York’s new governor, David Paterson, admitted to an extra-marital affair lasting several years, his ex-lover Lila Kurton had no idea what was coming. In fact, she pretty much figured that once Paterson took power her position in the Governor’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs was a sure thing.
According to the NY Daily Mail, Kirton was hired during former governor Spitzer’s administration to the $150,000 per year post. Paterson has left it to her to decide whether she wanted to keep her job, and by all appearances she planned to stay on. Until she was caught off-guard by Paterson’s announcement of their affair, that is.
Insiders said Kirton was so optimistic about her prospects last week – once it became clear that Paterson would become governor – she began putting sticky notes on the doors of top executive staffers indicating who their replacements would be.
The notes were taken so seriously, some began cleaning out their desks, insiders said.
Yesterday, aides said only that Kirton remained an employee of the governor’s office, but did not elaborate when asked if she had been transferred to another position.
Meanwhile, Paterson continues to resist calls for the disclosure of his credit card statements reflecting hotel charges for trysts with Kirton. The NY Times reports that Paterson may have used a campaign credit card for those hotel stays, but that he’s only reimbursed his campaign three times for personal expenditures. Paterson has denied using campaign funds for such stays.
On Wednesday, Mr. Paterson told the Daily News that purpose of a $500 expenditure to a girlfriend in 2002 that had been listed on campaign forms as “professional services” was to reimburse her for a donation she made on his behalf to the gubernatorial campaign of Carl McCall.
When asked about other incidents of infidelity, Paterson wouldn’t say if he’d had other affairs. The NY Sun is currently investigating over Paterson’s payments exceeding $11,000 to April Robbins-Bobyn over a 5-year period. Paterson’s spokesman said Bobyn had been a staffer for Paterson when he served as Senate minority leader, but later amended his statement to describe her as a campaign aide. (The Sun says she was listed as “Director of Special Events” on a 2006 blog entry posted by Paterson’s office when he was a Senator.)
I’ve found additional listings for Ms. Bobyn under the financial disclosures filed with the NYS Board of Elections. The first, is on a March 17, 2008 financial disclosure list and the second financial disclosure listing April Bobyn is dated March 18, 2008.
Paterson served as a state Senator from 2002 until he was picked by Spizter as his running mate in January 2006.
Expenses associated with Ms. Bobyn include:
- 08/01/05 claim of $120.00 by April Bobyn for office expense
- 08/10/05 claim of $103.16 by April Bobyn for reimbursement of FedEx charges
- 11/02/05 claim of $250.34 by April Bobyn for office expenses
- 11/18/05 claim of $103.38 by April Bobyn for office expenses
- 04/25/06 claim of $444.20 for “travel – April Bobyn” on JetBlue
- 05/18/06 claim of $282.10 for “travel – Buffalo – April Bobyn” on JetBlue
Other records show additional payments to Ms. Bobyn:
The payments were listed as unspecified reimbursement, travel expenses, office expenses (including an $1,840.23 expenditure), constituent services, wages, and a bonus of $2,500.
Bobyn is not speaking with the press at this time.
Not surprisingly, the media as well as many citizens are curious whether there’s more to Paterson’s past behavior than what he’s revealed. Certainly, his disclosure of his past infidelity validates the NY Times‘ description of him as a disarmingly candid politician who defies public expectations. So it’s no surprise that New Yorker’s continue to show strong support for Paterson.
But not everyone is convinced that Paterson was as candid as he appeared to be when he publicly acknowledged one past marital affair with Lila Kirton. As the NY Times reports, people are struggling to make sense of the whole Governors Gone Wild sexcapades, and just what relevance a politician’s private life should have.
Many said there was, in effect, an implicit bargain between a public figure and the public: The public figure — whether a politician or an entertainment star — is playing a role and must realize that what he or she does in private has to be very private if it is at odds with his or her public image.
So what do you think? Is there more to this story than Paterson is letting on and, if so, should he come clean about other affairs? Or are politicians sex lives — even those involving employees — nobody’s business?
Speak out in the comment section and discuss amongst yourselves.