The Israeli man at the center of New Jersey governor James E. McGreevey's resignation scandal denied media reports Thursday that he had had an affair with another man. McGreevey announced his resignation August 12 after acknowledging that he is gay and had had an affair with a man. Sources close to McGreevey have identified the man as Golan Cipel, a former adviser to the governor, and said the Israeli had demanded millions of dollars to stay quiet. Cipel says he is straight and was subjected to humiliating sexual harassment by McGreevey. But a New Jersey doctor, Michael David Miller, told the New York Post that he too had had an affair with the Israeli.
Cipel, who returned to Israel this week, denied the report, claiming he is the victim of a powerful conspiracy. "Never in my life have I had relations with a man, certainly not with this man who has come forward in the United States," Cipel said in a statement faxed to the Associated Press. "I am a lone person fighting against a monstrous well-oiled machine of lies and manipulations operating in a methodical manner against me." The statement singled out Charles Kushner, a major McGreevey backer. "You have to remember who these people are," Cipel said. Kushner pleaded guilty on Wednesday to misleading election monitors and retaliating against a witness--his sister--in a federal investigation by having a prostitute seduce her husband. "I believe that in a few days new lies will emerge, even worse than before, lies and monstrous manipulations by the governor--paving the way for his lawyers...all to threaten me and shut me up," Cipel said.
McGreevey appointed Cipel as New Jersey's $110,000-a-year homeland security adviser in 2002, without a background check or official announcement. The appointment drew criticism, and Cipel was reassigned a few months later and soon after left government for a job in New York. Cipel returned to Israel Tuesday but said he would soon return to New York.