Update: Oct. 28, 9:10 pm.: The governor's World Series ticket auction is now on hold, to be rescheduled when more tickets are available, reported the State of Politics blog.
Original story: As New Yorkers frantically search for any remaining World Series tickets, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he can help -- but only if they are willing to fork over big money to him. Cuomo is auctioning off World Series tickets for an eye-popping $5,500.
As the state’s attorney general in 2010, Cuomo made headlines cracking down on those who obtained free tickets for New York City's iconic Shakespeare in the Park performances and then sold them online at marked up prices. He decried the ticket scalpers as "unscrupulous operators" for selling the Shakespeare in the Park tickets "on Craigslist for $100 or more per pair" -- a far lower price than the one at which Cuomo is now auctioning off Mets tickets for his campaign. To be sure, Cuomo is not just selling tickets to the game: he is also promising the purchasers special access to him at a reception before the first inning.
New York lawmakers struck a deal in 2005 to rescind the state's anti-scalping laws, and instituted a price cap prohibiting the reselling of tickets at more than 45 percent of their face value. In 2007, lawmakers removed the price cap on scalped tickets altogether. Former Democratic Gov. David Paterson sought in 2010 to ban scalpers from reselling tickets for more than $2 above face value, though the state essentially reverted to the previous law, removing the price cap.
The cap often did not apply to politicians seeking to convert tickets into campaign cash. The underlying law included provisions exempting its anti-scalping provisions from applying to nonprofit groups, including political campaigns. That has allowed many New York politicians to obtain tickets to high- profile events, resell the tickets at marked-up prices and then funnel the proceeds into their own campaign bank accounts.
How those politicians obtain such coveted tickets is often shrouded in secrecy -- as it is this week with Cuomo. The governor has disclosed that to travel to the first two games in Kansas City, he is flying on the private jet of the Mets owners, who have business with the state government Cuomo runs.
According to the Buffalo News, Cuomo will not say whether those owners provided him with special access to buy the tickets for games 4 and 5 that his campaign is now reselling. Tickets for those games have been awarded by lottery to those who do not already have season tickets. On Tuesday, Republican Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin called for an investigation into how Cuomo's campaign was able to obtain the tickets, calling it a “slap in the face” to fans trying to get tickets through the lottery.
The Buffalo News noted that a "state ethics panel fined Cuomo’s predecessor, David Paterson, $62,000 for seeking and accepting free tickets from the New York Yankees for the 2009 World Series."