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O'Byrne to release records on tax problems

A top aide to Gov. David A. Paterson will release records shedding light on a five-year period in which the powerful adviser did not file federal and state income tax returns, the governor said Tuesday.

Seeking to end a flood of media accounts involving a tab of more than $200,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest run up by Charles O'Byrne, the governor said records showing how his closest adviser raised the money to reimburse the tax agencies will be among the records publicly released "as soon as we possibly can."

The administration is preparing to make O'Byrne's legal or financial advisers available to reporters today to answer a number of lingering questions.

"There's been no attempt to hide any information from anyone," Paterson said Tuesday. He defended O'Byrne, saying he corrected a past mistake and has served the state well.

O'Byrne wields extraordinary power in state government, serving as the gatekeeper and lead negotiator for the governor on a range of issues. He is closely involved with discussions about whether the state should try to force collection of taxes on cigarette and gasoline sales on Indian reservations.

In a written statement, Paterson defended O'Byrne, who has paid back most of the outstanding tax liabilities. O'Byrne, who makes $178,500 in his current job, blamed his tax problems on clinical depression.


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