Taking a breather from the thousands of vetoes he has yet to sign, Governor David Paterson spent three hours last night at B Bar and Grill, right across the street from the Village Voice, drawn, no doubt, by our recent paeans to his wondrous Albany performance.
Paterson enjoyed a bottle of wine, starting around 8 p.m., with his former top aide Charles O’Byrne, a regular at the bar’s Tuesday-night Beige gay party, before the two were joined by a second ex-aide who’s gay, Sean Patrick Maloney, and other friends. According to one source at the get-together, Paterson was dining with LGBT leaders including Brian Ellner, who recently lost a bid to head the Empire State Pride Agenda.
The convener, O’Byrne, was forced to resign as Paterson’s secretary in October 2008 after the New York Post revealed that he’d failed to file taxes for five years. But Paterson was so dependent on the skillful ex-Jesuit that he tried only a few months later to convince O’Byrne to return, leading to a Times story that detailed “business relationships” O’Byrne had developed since leaving government “that could pose potential conflicts.” Senate GOP leader Dean Skelos may have put the kibosh on the revival when he declared: “I guess the real message here is that Democrats have no problem raising taxes, just paying them.”
The governor then announced that O’Byrne had agreed to “work as a volunteer” in Paterson’s re-election campaign, but the governor had to junk that campaign in February when he was engulfed by scandals that dwarfed O’Byrne’s. Ironically, Paterson did appear to be thinking about reviving it yesterday morning on WBEN when he said he had “regrets” about “not running,” adding that he was stuck, though, with the decision he made four months ago.
Sophia Lamar, the transsexual celebrity, approached the governor at one point at the bar and asked him to fix the budget, according to a witness. Paterson, who is blind, assured her that he was trying to do just that, inadvertently addressing her as a “sir.” (Lamar sued a New York club for gender discrimination when it fired her as a dancer and replaced her with genetic women.)
Paterson has 6,899 vetoes to sign and the Post calculates it will take him 29 hours to do it, at a rate of four vetoes a minute. He was resting his wrist last night, raising only a glass and a knife and fork. Apparently, Paterson had originally scheduled the dinner for last Tuesday, during Gay Pride Week, but had to put it off due to the budget crisis.