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Jersey Jimbolaya. In a Bucket.
August 12, 2004: On August 12th, New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey became the second Northeast governor to resign this summer. Following Connecticut Governor John Rowland. According to ABC-News New York, a former McGreevey aid named Golan Cipel is set to file a sexual harassment suit against Governor McGreevey. The Associated Press quotes a highly placed McGreevey administration official saying a former government employee was demanding "an exorbitant sum to make it go away". Whether "it" is the story of McGreevey's gay affair or a lawsuit is still unclear.

In 2002, Golan Cipel was McGreevey's pick for New Jersey's top Homeland Security advisor-- despite the fact that Cipel wasn't a U.S. citizen and federal authorities refused to grant him the necessary security clearances. Cipel resigned from the position after it was revealed in a newspaper story that McGreevey had inflated Cipel's security credentials. Cipel was an Israeli citizen who obtained his U.S. working papers with the help of prominent developer Charles Kushner. McGreevey's largest campaign contributor and his failed pick for director of the New York/New Jersey Port Authority agency. Kushner was indicted earlier this summer for trying to stymie a federal investigation into his alleged abuse of campaign finance laws. He was charged with trying to intimidate a witness by setting him up for blackmail. Kushner allegedly hired a hooker to film an X-rated session with the witness, who was none other than Kushner's own brother-in-law. In the past, Charles Kushner has also been helpful to Jim McGreevey's former Chief of Staff Gary Taffet. Giving him a leg up in the insurance biz, then buying Taffet's new company back soon after for 3.4 million dollars. Gary Taffet is the subject of another federal investigation. One having to do with billboard deals.

Then there's Joseph Santiago, Jim McGreevey's 2002 choice for New Jersey State Police Superintendent. Santiago was a former Public Safety Director from Newark who was rumored to be friendly with organized crime. What made the story really creepy was that as soon as Santiago became State Police Superintendent he ordered subordinates to provide him with all files detailing investigations into those rumors. Files which held the names of confidential informants who'd blown the whistle. Santiago too went down the resignation drain. Also consider recently indicted McGreevey fundraiser David D'Amiano. He allegedly developed a special code for graft in order to beat federally wired informants. But why go on and on? Except to say that soon-to-be ex Governor Jim McGreevey is spinning his resignation as the sad story of a guy who came out of the closet too late and who lived a repressed and mistaken lie through two marriages and the birth of two children. And who's now resigning for the good of New Jersey because his gayness makes him some sort of security risk. Even though being out would seem to make the issue less of a security risk, since blackmail about McGreevey's gayness is now off the board.

As governor, Jim McGreevey has lived a lot of lies. Many of them about the corruption with which he chooses to surround himself-- and his seeming belief that unqualified and suspect appointees in positions of major responsibility, including ones involving public security, are just fine for the people of New Jersey. Overall, New Jersey residents are socially liberal: I believe they would have accepted a gay governor. But as polls showed, they were beginning to choke on the Jimbolaya.

Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff

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Copyright (c) 2004 by Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff. This material may be freely distributed subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the Open Publication License. This license relieves the author of any liability or implication of warranty, grants others permission to use the Content in whole or in part, and insures that the original author will be properly credited when Content is used. It also grants others permission to modify and redistribute the Content if they clearly mark what changes have been made, when they were made, and who made them. Finally, the license insures that if someone else bases a work on this Content, that the resultant work will be made available under the Open Publication License as well.

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