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12:00 PM


How Was Your Weekend, Al?

Alan Hevesi concentrates on the sucking sound his career makes.Photograph by Keith Bedford/AP

Extreme Hevesization continued throughout the weekend. Last Friday, three new commercials were unveiled starring the scandal-marred state bookkeeper, one tying him to Eliot Spitzer, one tying him to Andrew Cuomo, and one straight-up attack from his foe Chris Callaghan, who now trails him by only twelve points. Hevesi countered with his own ads that ignored the scandal and questioned Callaghan's competence while accusing his energized opponent of planning to raise taxes.

While Hevesi was trying to get up off the mat, his driver scandal deepened and widened. On Saturday, the AP reported that Hevesi had a larger security detail than Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Seven people on Hevesi's staff are listed as "confidential aides," providing security and transportation for the comptroller and others in his office. Hevesi has both a driver and a bodyguard at any given time. (The Post estimates the salary of Hevesi's driver detail to be nearly half a million dollars). Taxpayers have also been footing the bill for one of Hevesi's aides to chase around a girl who would never date him. Jack Chartier, Hevesi's chief of staff, used a state car to chauffeur actress Peggy Lipton — co-star of sixties TV series "The Mod Squad," — on shopping excursions, salon trips, and chemotherapy appointments. He also helped Lipton move but denied state employees were involved.

But the most damning (and probably flimsiest) Hevesi story to surface is "Page Six"'s revelation that Hevesi may have a relationship with Queens City Councilwoman Melinda Katz, a longtime political protégé. Hevesi, who employed a driver to transport his ailing wife, denies the allegation.

Amid all this, Democrats have had to figure out ways to distance themselves from Hevesi without hurting the ticket as a whole. Hevesi has been uninvited to the Democrat Election Day party. Hillary Clinton broke her silence over the weekend and said Hevesi "did something very wrong, and there is a process in place to deal with that." Andrew Cuomo was harsher, issuing a statement saying Hevesi had "gravely compromised his ability to do his job." Eliot Spitzer, who un-endorsed Hevesi last week, has been tactically quiet, complimenting Governor Pataki's "wise" decision to ask former Martha Stewart sleuth David Kelley to investigate the matter.

With Election Day a week away, there's no chance Hevesi will be removed from the ballot. But this morning, the Post reported that Hevesi will quit rather than let George Pataki pick his successor. If Hevesi is removed by the state senate, the governor picks a new (presumably Republican) comptroller. But if he resigns, the choice falls to the Democrat-dominated Assembly.

Related, a source close to Hevesi claims he forgot to turn his clock back an hour Saturday night and was inadvertently subjected to Tim Russert, when all he wanted was The McLaughlin Group.

Hevesi Attack Ads: "Who's Chris Callaghan?" [Spin Cycle]
Capitalizing Callaghan Shifts Into Overdrive [Newsday]
Hevesi's Security Detail Twice As Large As Spitzer's [AP]
Alan Overdrive [NYP]
Aide's 'Squad' Car Ride [NYDN]
Hevesi Smooches Up Pol Pal [NYP]
Thanks to Hevesi, Democrats Face Political Tightrope [NYS]
Pataki Picks Ex-Prosecutor to Weigh In on Hevesi Case [NYT]
Hevesi: I'd Quit Over Ax [NYP]