governor James E. McGreevey began suffering fallout Friday
from his bombshell resignation announcement as his former
homeland security adviser, Golan Cipel, accused the governor
of sexual harassment and Republicans leaders called on him
to leave office immediately.
McGreevey announced his resignation Thursday in a
dramatic, nationally televised news conference in which he
revealed he had had an affair with another man. He did not
reveal the man's name. But two sources close to McGreevey,
both speaking on condition of anonymity, said Cipel was the
unnamed man he had an affair with. One of the sources, a
high-ranking member of the McGreevey administration, said
Cipel had threatened McGreevey with a sexual harassment
lawsuit unless he was paid millions of dollars.
McGreevey named Cipel as New Jersey's $110,000-a-year
director of homeland security in 2002. But Cipel was
transferred to a different position later that year after a
storm of opposition from lawmakers who questioned his
qualifications, and he later left state government.
On Friday, Cipel attorney Allen M. Lowy said Cipel
was offered money by representatives of McGreevey after the
governor was informed of a possible lawsuit. "It was Mr.
McGreevey's representatives who, without provocation,
offered a sum of money to make my client go away," Lowy
said. He said "only time will tell" whether a lawsuit is
filed. No lawsuit was filed, according to court officials in
Mercer and Middlesex county.
Lowy did not mention his client's sexuality.
McGreevey did not immediately respond to Cipel's
allegations. Calls to his statehouse office were not returned.
In his first public comments about McGreevey, Cipel
said in the statement that abuse and intimidation by
McGreevey representatives cowed him into keeping quiet until
now: "When I finally dared to reject Governor McGreevey's
advances, the retaliatory actions taken by him and members
of his administration were nothing short of abuse and
intimidation. After a long period of pain and introspection,
I realized that in order to live my life, to move forward
with my life, I needed to put this behind me. But the only
way to do this was to have Governor McGreevey take
responsibility publicly for his horrible actions, which he
did by resigning from public office."
The developments occurred as Republican leaders
called on McGreevey to leave office immediately, saying that
news of the affair is likely to be first of many damaging
disclosures. "It is my suspicion that there will be more
awkward stories in the days and weeks to come--stories that
will make it very difficult for him to carry out the duties
of his office," said state Republican chairman Joe Kyrillos.
Had McGreevey stepped down immediately, a special
election would have been held to find a successor to serve
out the remainder of his term, which ends in January 2006.
McGreevey's decision to leave office in November allows
Democratic senate president Richard J. Codey to finish the term.
Democrats said GOP leaders are unfairly trying to
capitalize on what is McGreevey's personal decision. "This
is the time for the people's business, not for partisan
politics," Codey said.
Republican lawyers said they are considering legal
options that would force McGreevey to resign earlier, but
they added that pursuing impeachment is not one of them.