Monday, March 10, 2008

(NY) Governer Eliot Spitzer Linked to Prostitution Ring

Eliot Spitzer

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Another Tri-State Governor in Scandal


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A dynamic young governor near the New York media spotlight is suddenly derailed by scandal. In 2004, it was Connecticut's John Rowland, followed quickly by New Jersey's Jim McGreevey.

On Monday, prostitution allegations against New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer threatened to make him the third governor in the tri-state area to lose his job in shocking, humiliating fashion in less than four years.

"It's troubling," said Gary Rose, politics professor at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield. "They were all rising stars — all three of them. I think it could cause some voters to really look below the surface. You wonder what lies beneath a lot of the imagery."


Rowland was the boy wonder of Connecticut politics: At 27 a congressman and at 37 the youngest governor in Connecticut history when he took office in 1995.

Though a Republican in a heavily Democratic state, the charismatic Rowland enjoyed high approval ratings. But in his third term, a federal investigation against members of his administration brought new and damaging information each week.

He was forced to admit that contractors paid for home improvements at his lakeside cottage and that state employees bought him a hot tub. Memos revealed that he had accepted Cuban cigars from a state contractor.

Amid impeachment hearings and the federal probe, Rowland finally resigned. He later served 10 months in prison.

Now 50, Rowland recently landed a job as the economic development coordinator for his hometown of Waterbury.


McGreevey's sudden and spectacular downfall came after an alleged affair with a male aide who McGreevey said tried to blackmail him.

In a nationally televised speech, McGreevey, now 50, acknowledged being "a gay American." He said he would resign because of his sexual indiscretions, which included putting his lover on the government payroll in a job — homeland security adviser — for which he had no qualifications.

The aide, Golan Cipel, denied being gay and said the governor sexually harassed him.

McGreevey and his estranged wife, Dina Matos, are embroiled in a bitter divorce and even have competing tell-all books. They share custody of their only child, 6-year-old Jacqueline.

McGreevey is enrolled in an Episcopal seminary in New York City and lives in Plainfield, N.J., with a male partner.


Spitzer, 48, built his career on fighting corruption. Formerly an assistant district attorney in Manhattan, Spitzer was New York's attorney general for two terms before overwhelmingly being elected governor in 2006.

Spitzer's hard-charging ways quickly put him at odds with the powerful Republican leader of the state Senate, Joseph Bruno, and his agenda stalled amid political scandal and polls that showed most New Yorkers would not vote for him again as governor. Two aides were disciplined for using the state police to track the movements of Bruno, Spitzer's chief political rival.

Spitzer's involvement in a prostitution ring was caught on a federal wiretap as part of an investigation opened in recent months, according to a law enforcement official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing inquiry.

Associated Press writer Angela Delli Santi in Trenton, N.J., contributed to this report.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lt. Governor Could Replace Spitzer in NY

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Less than two years after he reluctantly ran for lieutenant governor, David Paterson is suddenly in line to be only the third black governor since Reconstruction, and the first in New York.

"He's the next governor and probably quite soon," said Maurice Carroll, director of Quinnipiac University's Polling Institute and a longtime New York political reporter.

Attention turned to Paterson immediately after word surfaced Monday that Gov. Eliot Spitzer had been linked to a high-priced prostitution ring. In a brief appearance in front of reporters, Spitzer issued a vague apology and did not mention resignation.

If Spitzer quits, Paterson automatically becomes governor and would complete Spitzer's term, which ends Dec. 31, 2010.

There was no immediate comment from Paterson.

Paterson, a 53-year-old Democrat from Harlem who is mostly blind, is well respected by Republicans and Democrats.

Former New York City Mayor Edward Koch recently called Paterson "very capable, not withstanding his near sightlessness. It's never impeded his public actions or his personal actions, and he's really overcome it in an extraordinary way."

Paterson, who does not use a cane or a guide dog, can make out shapes and even people up close. He lost most of his sight as an infant when an infection damaged his optic nerve. He still talks of his fragile self-esteem in childhood and recalls not being invited to parties because "people thought I would fall and hurt myself."

Paterson's disability has never been an issue in Albany in his 20-year political career. He has memorized lengthy, impassioned speeches without missing a mark; cited arcane legal references in fast-paced floor debates; and won more victories for his party in the Senate than any other leader in the Legislature. His efforts brought Democrats to within a seat of taking the Senate majority for the first time in decades.

Critics and supporters alike all point to the intellect, compassion and humor that Paterson brings to the Statehouse. When Spitzer picked him to be his running mate in 2006, Paterson deadpanned: "I told Eliot, `Whenever you are trying to reform a system, you need a person with vision and a person who is a technician,' and that's what I am ... because I sure don't have vision."

"He's going to bring love to the executive branch and Legislature," said Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Brooklyn Democrat. "He's a real mensch, plain and simple."

The only other black governors since Reconstruction were Deval Patrick, currently serving in Massachusetts, and L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia, who left office in 1994.

Even New York Republicans have a healthy respect for Paterson.

"I don't think there's an issue David Paterson and I agree on, but he's one of the most decent, honorable guys I've ever met," said Rep. Peter King of Long Island, who already was referring to Paterson as "the new governor."

Paterson has enjoyed a good relationship with Spitzer's chief nemesis, Republican Majority Leader Joseph Bruno. In pointed yet humorous floor debates, a kind of father-son relationship was evident between the younger Harlem Democrat and the rural, upstate Republican, who is 78.

Two years ago, Paterson was so focused on taking control of the Senate and becoming majority leader that he was surprised by Spitzer's offer to be lieutenant governor.

If he ascends to the governor's office, Paterson would also have an advantage in that he would have nearly three years remaining in Spitzer's term.

"If he becomes governor, he can move forward with what he wants to do as governor and start to set a tone," said Lee Miringoff of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. "The state will have been shaken by all these revelations. And I think he's someone who is widely respected, and he has a lot of experience in the corridors of Albany."

Associated Press Writer Valerie Bauman contributed to this report.

March 10, 2008 8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


March 11, 2008 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently concerned that he would be associated with a man facing prostitution charges, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer once returned a $50,000 campaign contribution from a political supporter who was charged in 2006 with paying women for sex. On July 27, 2006, Spitzer's election committee sent back the contribution to wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was indicted days earlier in Florida on a felony solicitation of prostitution rap. The return of Epstein's donation was reported by the "Spitzer Paterson 2006" committee in a filing with the New York State Board of Elections. An excerpt from that pre-primary filing can be found below. Epstein, who has reportedly been negotiating a plea deal and related prison term, has been accused of paying several underage girls to engage in sex acts with him at his Palm Beach mansion, according to explicit Palm Beach Police Department reports.

March 12, 2008 5:44 PM  

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