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Teams say they observe laws, ethics on tickets for pols

If Gov. David A. Paterson wants to see any one of a number of New York area sports teams play in person, he had better bring his wallet.

Politicians seeking tickets generally are expected to pay for them, according to officials with many area pro franchises.

Representatives from the Giants, Jets, Mets and Madison Square Garden said their policies - to varying degrees - forbid complimentary tickets to public officials. Some teams offer them if the dignitary is participating in an official capacity. An Islander spokesman said the team has no policy for handling requests from public officials.

Paterson has come under scrutiny after the state's ethics watchdog said Wednesday he broke state law. The Commission on Public Integrity alleged Paterson directed his staff to request free tickets from the Yankees for Game 1 of the World Series last October.

Mets officials yesterday said Paterson attended the teams' Citi Field opener last season but did not pay for his ticket because he was there in an official capacity for a pre-game ceremony.

"As a matter of policy, the Mets comply with all applicable rules and regulations with respect to public officials attending games," the Mets said in a statement.

In a statement, officials with Madison Square Garden, where the Knicks, Rangers and Liberty play, said: "We have carefully complied with applicable law and ethics policies, including a long-standing policy that we do not provide complimentary tickets to public officials for events in our venues."

Jets officials said their policy is to make free tickets available only if the official is attending in "his or her official capacity."

A Giants spokesman said the team has limited tickets available and receives requests to purchase them from a variety of people, including politicians.

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