The Spectacle Blog

NY Gov. Paterson Settles Embarrassing Racism Lawsuit

By on 5.1.09 | 10:42AM

On behalf of its besieged governor, Democrat David Paterson, New York state has paid $300,000 to a white photographer to make his claim Paterson fired him to replace him with a black photographer go away. The New York Post reports

The state has secretly settled an embarrassing federal racial-discrimination lawsuit, The Post has learned. The suit accused Paterson, back when he was Senate minority leader in 2003, of firing a white Senate photographer in order to replace him with an African-American.

The lawsuit had been scheduled to go to trial in federal court Monday in Syracuse, with Paterson, the state's first black governor, as a key witness. The case was settled earlier in the week, although a few glitches delayed the final deal until yesterday, legislative sources said.

The settlement ends a civil-rights action first filed in 2005 by Joseph Maioriello, 56, of Schenectady, a 26-year Senate employee who originally sought $1.5 million.

He was fired from his $34,000-a-year job as a photographer two years earlier and replaced by a black employee, El-Wise Noisette. The shakeup happened after Paterson ousted then-Sen. Martin Connor (D-Brooklyn) as the minority leader. [...]

Amazingly, Paterson, who is legally blind, offered the implausible claim in a sworn deposition that he couldn't see well enough to have fired photographer Joseph Maioriello because of his race.

A Paterson aide later said the comment was "a quip, a joke."

Right. Court proceedings: that's where all the great standup comedians get their start.

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