In 2003, when he was Senate Minority Leader, governor David Paterson arranged for white Senate photographer Joseph Maioriello to be replaced by a black man, El-Wise Noisette. Maioriello originally sued over the termination in 2005 for $1.5 million, claiming that it was racially motivated. The ongoing legal battle ended just recently, with the state agreeing to pony up $300,000. (Paterson was scheduled to serve as a key witness when the case finally went to trial on Monday, but the state settled first.) Perhaps more damaging than the allegations of racial bias is the fact that Paterson’s actions, no matter what the motivation, cost the state such a sum at a time when it is so financially strapped, and when he recently imposed an $8 billion tax burden on New Yorkers. When asked about the racial element, the governor claimed in a sworn deposition that he didn’t see well enough to have fired Maioriello because of his race.