Massachusetts Gov. Patrick: 'Don't Give Up on Me' After Business Phone Call, Car Upgrade

Gov. Deval Patrick, a day after saying he regrets making a phone call to Citigroup on behalf of a struggling lending company on whose board he once served, said "don't give up on me."

"I will make mistakes, but don't give up on me, because I don't intend to give up on Massachusetts," Patrick said Wednesday morning after an appearance at the Massachusetts High Technology Council annual meeting.

Patrick urged the public to look past his gaffes, which last month included disclosure of an expensive upgrade of his state car to a Cadillac.

"It's a four-year term and I have a very ambitious agenda," he said.

On Tuesday, Patrick said he made a mistake by calling on Feb. 20 Citigroup's Robert Rubin on behalf of ACC Capital Holdings while ACC sought an infusion of cash from Citigroup.

ACC is the parent company of Ameriquest, a mortgage company that has been accused of predatory lending practices. Patrick resigned from a $360,000-a-year position on ACC's board of directors last May, saying he needed to focus his attention on his gubernatorial campaign.

Rubin and Patrick worked together in the Clinton presidential administration when Rubin was treasury secretary and Patrick was an assistant attorney general.

"As a former board member, I was asked by an officer of ACC Capital to serve as a reference for the company and agreed to do so," Patrick said in a statement Tuesday. "I called Robert Rubin, a former colleague from the Clinton administration and an executive at Citigroup, to offer any insight they might want on the character of the current management. The conversation with Mr. Rubin lasted at most a couple of minutes.

"Even though I made this call solely as a former board member, and I believe that was clear to Mr. Rubin, I appreciate that I should not have made the call. I regret the mistake."

Citigroup, the world's largest financial company, has business interests in Massachusetts, many of which are regulated by the state. Ameriquest is licensed by the state Division of Banks.

Last month, Patrick said "we really screwed up" by upgrading his state car to a Cadillac.

Patrick said he's personally repaying the state for more than $27,000 he spent redecorating the Governor's office, as well as a more than $500 increase in the monthly lease cost of his state vehicle after he upgraded to a Cadillac DeVille from the Ford Crown Victoria used by former Gov. Mitt Romney.