Monday, January 15, 2007


Fred Dicker New York Post

You would think with all the Hevesi investigations going on and the sudden scrutiny of all personal "expenses"...Pataki would have literally "cooled his jets" ....not George.......let's rake the taxpayers right to the bitter end......and beyond with his private "state police" escorts......I hope Spitzer puts an end to all of this.............andy
January 15, 2007 -- ALBANY - The State Comptroller's Office has blocked payment of a $10,712 bill for a luxury charter jet flight taken last month by then-Gov. George Pataki, The Post has learned.
The office, headed by acting Comptroller Thomas Sanzillo in the wake of the forced resignation of Alan Hevesi, rejected the payment after determining that a far-less-expensive state-owned aircraft could have been used for the Dec. 8 trip to Lynchburg, Va.
Pataki and several aides were photographed during the trip as they toured a plant where steel columns were being fabricated for the rebuilding at the World Trade Center site.
"We don't understand why Pataki didn't use the Power Authority's plane or another state plane," said David Neustadt, a Comptroller's Office spokesman. "Other planes were available, so why not use them?"
Both the Power Authority and the State Police regularly provide transportation on three "executive-class" King Air turbo-prop aircraft to top state officials.
The State Police even maintain a special air fleet for the governor, and its two King Airs can fly up to 1,400 miles - well beyond the 471-mile range of Pataki's Virginia flight.
Blocking payment for Pataki's flight could turn out to be a hot political potato for Gov. Spitzer, who has vowed to crack down on unnecessary state spending.
Neustadt said the decision rejecting the bill for the private jet will be sent to the new governor's office for review.
A spokesman for Spitzer, who has come under criticism for providing costly and unprecedented State Police protection for now-private citizen Pataki, said the rejected bill had not yet been received.
Pataki is personally listed on the bill submitted by Jet Aviation Holdings Inc. at New Jersey's Teterboro Airport as the "customer" who rented the Beech 400.
A spokesman for the former governor refused to comment.
Although New York has its own fleet of executive aircraft - and despite Pataki's initial election promise to stop using costly air flights - the former governor secretly spent more than $100,000 to hire luxury private jets in the late 1990s, until the practice was exposed by The Post in April 2001.
He then vowed to halt the rentals, although after being forced to undergo an emergency appendectomy early last year, Pataki chartered a private jet - with Hevesi's approval - to bring him to work in Albany.
A Pataki spokesman, David Catalfamo, contended that the jet used for the December trip had been chartered "consistent with the state procurement law and guidelines."
The Post disclosed last week that Pataki also used state resources during his final weeks in office to print hundreds of thousands of brochures and other publications - as well as to prepare TV commercials - that featured his image.
The papers were all quickly outdated when Spitzer took office.
One of Spitzer's first acts was to ban the use of the governor's image in all state-funded TV commercials and publications.

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