Hot and meaty: The New York Post is claiming an exclusive on Governor David Paterson having a wildly flirty, inappropriate dinner with a young, pretty Latin woman in a Jersey steakhouse that's suggestive of an affair. But is it?

The story involves two women sitting in a restaurant, and they call up the New York Post when they see...

"...him kissing her neck," said Sharon Farrell, a lawyer sitting two tables away from Paterson and his mystery gal pal at the River Palm Terrace in Edgewater. "He was right on her neck, nudging, like back and forth."

Right? So the Post shows up, and this happens:

When a Post photographer entered the eatery after being tipped to the pair's presence, and sat down at McGuirt's and Farrell's table, the governor got up and walked over to the women. As the lensman snapped a photo, Paterson said, unprompted, "She works with me."

The governor's office issued a denial of any wrongdoing, and noted that his dining companion wasn't a state employee (but refused to identify her). The women in the restaurant noted that Paterson kept putting his hand over his head whenever the story's witness returned from the bathroom, and that Paterson and his lunch date were like "teenagers" in the intensity of their canoodling. So, who to believe, here?

Truth: The Second Coming of LovGov is Paterson the Playboy

  • He admitted having past infidelity problems on the day he was sworn into office.

  • He went into a reflexive defense-mode when he told the Post he just worked with her.

  • If he works with her in a professional capacity, why don't we know who she is?

  • He was covering his head?

  • He was in Jersey?

  • Why would these women just make this kind of thing up?

  • He does like to party.

Bullshit: The Ladies Who Lunch Lies

  • First of all, let's look at our witnesses:
  • Sharon Farrell, a lawyer...Farrell's friend and dining companion, special-ed teacher Carol McGuirt.

  • A lawyer and a teacher: two people from professions who need a drink. Now let's say you maybe see something you perceive as inappropriate, and the Post gets there, and now, it's real, so you better have follow through. These two people could be anybody. How haven't they been vetted? (Answer: Because it's a good story for the Post the longer it goes on.)

  • Paterson talking to the reporter could've been just that: reflexive.

  • And one conservative person's version of "acting like teenagers" is a much more liberal-minded person's version of "lunch."

  • There are no photos of this happening, other than proof the two of them were together.

  • And no quotes from any of the other diners.

  • Paterson's office doesn't need to disclose who the woman is because assuming the Post and these women are just making shit up, she's not a very "public" figure to begin with.

  • Is Paterson dumb enough to do this kind of thing in public? Doubtful.

Doubtful being the operative term, however. Better to err on the side of innocence and presume this story to be, at best, a truthy anecdote. Maybe an exciting, three-martini meal involving a New York Post reporter and the Governor of New York (who occupies an office held by a guy ousted over his penis' problems). Despite all the great places to eat in the Tri-State area, you can't buy that kind of Grade-A Dinner Theater.

Then again, who is that woman? If you know, or were there, please feel free to share.