By now, four days into Governor David Paterson's reign, one thing is clear: He never thought he was actually going to be governor. The loosey-goosey (and juicy!) way he's blended his personal and professional affairs don't reflect the kind of care and caution that most people who expect close scrutiny would have used. If this goes on, will Joe Bruno use it to his advantage?
As with the Spitzer scandal, the news cycle for David Paterson's affairs has now moved onto the lucky ladies in question. Although Our Lady of Indignation Andrea Peyser names the new Governor's trysts as "too many to count," there's still only one woman who's an official notch on the motel-room bedpost, and a second who, while perhaps totally innocent of any hanky panky, still sounds a bit sketchy. But given what we do know, who are the ladies to whom David turned to during his dark, jealous hours of marital misery?
We're just going to say it: Our new governor rocks the house. Only moments after he shouted down the halls of the capital: "I am David Paterson and I am the governor of New York State!" he admitted to the Daily News that he had an affair for several years of his marriage. And that's not all: His wife, Michelle, also was unfaithful. Turns out the two had a rocky period in their marriage where they both looked elsewhere for comfort, but they decided to give it another go and try marriage counseling. It worked, and now they are a happy couple again. So happy, in fact, that they addressed the issue during Paterson's first moments as governor. (Hey, he did admit he had "a different kind of marriage.") But you know the best part? Both Paterson's affair and his later reconciliation with his wife took place at a Days Inn in Manhattan. And we thought nothing could top the Mayflower Hotel and T.G.I. Friday's! This is amazing. We're turning into France.Gov. Paterson admits to sex with other woman for years [NYDN]
Bloomberg ’08 proved to be a false start. But with the self-immolation of Eliot Spitzer, Bloomberg ’10 makes almost too much sense.
Our term-limited mayor will, of course, be looking for a job come January 2009. He laid some serious groundwork for a presidential bid, enough that by the beginning of this year, his supporters were saying he could launch a campaign “at the drop of a hat.” It wasn’t just annoying ballot-access issues that ultimately turned him off, or the prospect of an Obama-McCain race leaving little room for a reform Republican. Bloomberg doesn’t like to enter a contest unless he can be pretty to sure win.
At a press conference at 11:30 a.m. in his Manhattan offices, Eliot Spitzer announced that he would step down as governor of the State of New York. By his side was his wife, Silda Wall Spitzer, his wife of 21 years, who spent much of the last 48 hours in the same apartment with her husband (but reportedly in different rooms). Below, a rough transcript of his speech:
In the past few days I have begun to atone for my private failures with my wife Silda my children, and my entire family. The remorse I feel will always be with me. Words cannot describe how grateful I am for the love and compassion they have shown me.
From those to whom much is given, much is expected.
I have been given much, the love of my family, the faith and trust of the people of New York, and the chance to lead this state. I am deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me.
To every New Yorker and to all those who believed in what I have tried to stand for, I sincerely apologize. I look at my time as governor with a sense of what might have been, but I also know that as a public servant that I and the people I work with have accomplished a great deal.
Joe Bruno held a press conference just now, and it was well played. Despite the fact that Eliot Spitzer has basically been up until now his mortal enemy, he didn't rub it in that he was totally right when he told New York earlier this month that the governor was “two-faced. He does not tell the truth." Rather, wearing an expression of weary "I-don't-have-time-for-this-perv" resignation, he discussed the possible transition of David Paterson (with whom he has a "great relationship") into the position of governor and went out of his way to make the point that just because someone decided to defy Lord and country by sleeping with hookers doesn't mean that everyone else was going to stop doing their jobs. "There is no pleasure in what is going on in this state," he said. "This is a distraction of proportions we have never experienced. As for Eliot Spitzer, my heart goes out to his wife and his family. He must deal with his problems in his own way."
Related: How Eliot Spitzer Finally Got Joe Bruno on the Ropes [NYM]
Eliot Spitzer has begun telling officials that he will, indeed, resign today, sources say. According to NBC in New York, Eliot Spitzer will issue the statement in written form, rather than during a press conference. (CNN disagrees, claiming that a conference will be held at 11:30.) The television station also reports that the resignation may not go into effect until Monday. Meanwhile, ABC adds that Lieutenant Governor David Paterson has confirmed that the resignation is imminent. A letter, drafted yesterday, is expected be submitted to the secretary of state today. Later today, CBS adds, Paterson will be sworn in as governor up in Albany.
Spitzer to Resign Today [ABC]
Spitzer to Resign Effective Monday [NBC]
THE END IS NEAR [CBS]
The Times is reporting that Governor Eliot Spitzer has just admitted to his senior staff that he has been involved in a "prostitution ring." No more details have been released, but he is set to make an announcement momentarily. Stay tuned!
Spitzer is Linked to Prostitution Ring [NYT]
Related: You Can Say This About the Girls of the Emperor's Club: They're No MoronsUpdate: Just to catch you up, yes, this is the same Eliot Spitzer who as New York attorney general prosecuted at least two prostitution rings. And yup, he's the one who has a wife and three children, too.
Update 2: The Times mentioned the recent bust-up of the Emperor's Club prostitution ring. No word yet whether it is the group in question, but since they are being investigated right now, it's a likely candidate. The Times connects Spitzer to an Emperor's Club liaison the day before Valentine's Day. The unnamed John in question, who may have been Spitzer, was Client #9.
Update 3: In what is probably an awkwardly coincidental typo, the New York State Website now lists David Paterson as governor. [Ed note: Though we can no longer log onto the state Website, we're told by others that it's now back to normal.]
Update 4: According to GoDaddy.com, the domain names www.clientnumber9.com and www.clientnumbernine.com have already been purchased today. Man, the Internet is fast.
Mario Cuomo, like Mayor Bloomberg, knows presidential-bid scrutiny. But he knows Albany even better. And the former governor doesn't see congestion pricing coming out of the legislative swamp by the end of March — when lawmakers must adopt a commission-sponsored plan to keep the city from losing $354 million in pledged federal transit aid. “I'm not ruling it out, but I'm not ruling it in,” Cuomo told us (there's that hedging we remember from the presidential-run talk). After hearing Eliot Spitzer talk up an ambitious budget proposal to the developer-heavy Association for a Better New York, the former governor noted that Mayor Bloomberg's air-quality cause seemed conspicuously absent from his successor's weighty wish list. “He has a complicated and very impressive agenda,” Cuomo tells us, “and if congestion pricing were on it, we'd have heard about it.” To be fair, Spitzer's slideshow did include an endorsement of the MTA's five-year capital plan, which relies on upwards of $4 billion from bonds that congestion-pricing fees would support. But Albany can always find ways to borrow more money — that's something Cuomo knows, too. —Alec Appelbaum
Though we haven't been hearing about it as much lately, it turns out the heat is not off Joe Bruno. The FBI has been investigating the State Senate majority leader's outside business interests for nearly two years now, and today we learn that they've widened their inquiry. Several subpoenas were issued to pension funds linked to unions in Bruno's Albany-area district last week. Six local unions have many millions invested with a Connecticut firm, Wright Investors' Service, which employs Bruno for services that they have yet to explain to authorities. The connections were revealed in December by the Times, after which Bruno and the firm quickly severed their relationship. But the FBI's inquiry into union records show that Bruno is far from being off the hook.
The Daily News' Elizabeth Benjamin also reports that the probe is going to weaken the union's traditional support of the powerful state senator. Despite public support for Bruno, one labor leader told Benjamin, "The conventional strategy of many building trades and public sector unions is about to end They've made their bets on Bruno, but it's all unraveling." As the State Senate heads into a battle for control this fall, this could mean big things. Bruno and the state GOP were also banking on a Giuliani national candidacy to rally New York's Republican base to the voting booths in November. Even though Governor Spitzer has been muzzling himself lately, we're betting that these days behind his hand, he's chucking quietly.
Investigation into Bruno Broadens [NYT]
Albany unions support Joe Bruno despite chill of FBI subpoenas [NYDN]
Wow, the dramatic turn in the contest between giant personalities Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama has done the unthinkable: It's knocked Bloomberg out of the presidential primary coverage! What a relief! Except now he's snuck into political reports in another way: in the results of a Quinnipiac poll. Turns out a whopping 70 percent of New York City residents think that Bloomberg would be a good governor. That's compared to the 52 percent who think he'd make a good president. Not that he can't run for both; current governor Eliot Spitzer's term runs out in 2010. But we already know this idea is on his mind. Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, makes a very good point (with two potential meanings) in her analysis: “Historical note: A couple of 20th Century New York governors have become President. No New York City mayor has.”
New Yorkers Like Bloomberg for Governor [NYO]
Related:Noncandidate Bloomberg Just Happens to Have Better Ideas Than the Real Candidates
If you think the State Senate has backed off the Spitzer-Bruno dogfight ever since Roger Stone made an unbelievable idiot out of himself (and spoiled Frost/Nixon for the rest of us), you're sorely mistaken. Judging from the few recent developments, we suspect the Albany Republicans are just getting started. Senators are expected to vote today to subpoena State Police superintendent Preston Felton, a figure central to the accusations against Spitzer (which, for those of us who prefer not to litter our brains with such trivia, involve the gov's using state troopers to spy on Joe Bruno's use of state helicopters). No acting NYS top cop has ever been subpoenaed before. Once they're done with Felton, the GOP panel is planning to give the same treatment to Richard Baum and Darren Dopp, the two former Spitzer aides who refused to testify under oath earlier.
• Eight percent of the city's sexually active teens report using the pill, as opposed to 18 percent nationwide, a city Health Department survey finds, with girls from the South Bronx nearly twice as likely as the nation's average to have unprotected sex. [1010wins]
• The New York region has the nation's widest gap between rich and poor, new Census figures show, with the richest fifth of Manhattanites earning $351,333 a year to the poorest fifth's $8,855. We expect the revolution imminently. [NYT]