‘Courtesy Calls’ Aside, Paterson Wants No Part of the Senate Mess

ALBANY—David Paterson's director of communications just swept through the LCA Room to deny a press release from State Senator Pedro Esapda Jr. which claimed the governor recognized him as the president pro tempore of the State Senate.

"Absolutely not," Kauffmann said.

Espada Jr. was sworn in to the post during a floor coup Monday, but the move will be litigated tomorrow by lawyers representing Democratic Leader Malcolm Smith. He said that during a 15-minute telephone call, he was "duly recognized" by Paterson.

"The governor told me that the reforms we passed on Monday are the kinds of reforms that have long been espoused — reforms that will benefit the way we govern in Albany, and reforms that will deliver jobs, affordable housing, health care, education and services to the State's nearly 20 million residents," Espada Jr. said in a press release.

Kauffmann acknowledged that Paterson did call Espada Jr., along with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, Democratic Senate Leader Malcolm Smith and Republican Senate Leader Dean Skelos.

"These were courtesy calls to make sure the legislature knew to get to the people's business," Kauffman said. I asked whether Paterson was lobbying in any way to resolve the issue. This morning, he told WOR's John Gambling the senate has reached "a sinister condition."

"No," Kauffmann said, reiterating what Paterson said Wednesday. "It's a matter for the State Senate to settle."