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Sunday, August 15, 2004

McGreevey is no Rudy

Giuliani, former adulterer and his now third wife Judi Nathan

Cristyne Lategano. first Giuliani mistress

Donna Hanover, the second wife

With all the talk about Jim McGreevey and his boyfriend, Golan Cipel, people have been comparing this affair to Giuliani's active sex life while in office.

Sorry, there are big differences, and I think we'll start with the level of brazeness. McGreeevey would have to rise to a whole new level of evil to match Giuliani, who treated his family like animals.

So let's go back into the wayback machine and remember how Rudy ruined his family and tormented his wife:

This is a letter I wrote to the New York Press back in 2000. It wasn't a piece since they didn't pay me.

Don 't be fooled by the Mayor's crocodile tears. Sure he's crying. I would be, too, if my wife was coming for me in a New York divorce.

But then, Rudy Giuliani is good at crying for himself and poor at thinking about anyone else who isn't a crony, bootlicker or satrap. Now the spin starts. Rudy's friends, including those in the press, will say that he needed someone who catered to his needs. But that's crap. Giuliani has been on a five year mission to destroy his marriage. First, with Cristyne Lategano, now with this Nathan woman.

This is no Bill and Monica situation. That was a tawdry office affair which never got beyond a few pathetic sessions of oral sex. Read the Starr Report and you can only feel sympathy for the lonely, middle aged Clinton. Giuliani inspires other feelings. Among Donna's many and powerful friends in the media, abject rage would be a good one to start with. Their viewpoint, and it's one I agree with, is that she didn't do anything to deserve this. She gave up her career in her prime to get him elected and wound up as a bit player in movies and on the outer reaches of the cable dial. If you look at her peers, she could have easily been making a million a year as the lead anchor on one of the network affliates. Instead, she gets five years of utter humiliation.

Her husband took one mistress and made her his defacto first lady, then squires the other one around to any place her children's friends and their parents could run into them. Upper East Side middlebrow restaurants, the Hamptons? Wny not take her to the school play? You can bet Andrew Giuliani is going to catch hell in high school for this . Having a parent with cancer is bad enough, having one who's tossed away his marriage is a lot tougher. Being 14 is hard enough without this crap.

Lots of politicians cheat, but they usually file for divorce before they openly date. And don't forget, everyone knew Bill Clinton liked the ladies. Who knew that Rudy was going to turn into Francois Mitterand, complete with a second family?

There is irony here, of course. The Giuliani campaign once tried to get a packet of supposed David Dinkins love letters in the Post, but the publisher refused to play along. (Editor's note: It was long rumored that then-Post publisher Peter Kalikow withheld the letters in return for political favors.) Which is why, of course, Dinkins invited Giuliani and his wife to dinner a while back. To stick the knife in--and there are plenty of people waiting to do that.

The City Hall press corps, known to the trade as Room 9, keeps the mayor's sex life out of the papers. Not just Giuliani, but Koch and Dinkins as well. However, at the always rancorous Daily News, this story has been the source of agita for years. First, they were scooped by the LA Times and the Chicago Tribune (which, after the long and bitter strike by the staffers against the Trib, must have felt like a kick in the groin).

Then in 1997 Jennet Conant, better known as the wife of 60 Minutes's Steve Kroft, wrote the now infamous Vanity Fair article. Vogue was supposed to run an article as well, but mysteriously dropped it.

The News and the other dailies had to play carefully with the story, no matter what ran elsewhere. First, they had to deal with the vengeful Giuliani, then they couldn't just change the rules on mayor's sex lives. There had to be a hook.

Not that the News didn't try. They dropped about a million hints in Rush and Malloy and elsewhere. But they never locked it down. Only Jimmy Breslin (in Newsday) said the obvious, since he can: that Giuliani had a girlfriend.

He was the only one to ask if the Visitor and Convention Bureau job Fran Reiter was ejected from and given to Lategano was a payoff for silence. The NY Observer reported a two hour long meeting last summer between the two. Did he use city money to buy her off?

The worst part of journalism is the inability to report the truth--not the facts, but what you know is true but can't prove.

The News's cityroom, rarely a happy place, must have had some joy when they could finally run the story about the second girlfriend. Donna Hanover, always clever and no doubt in great pain, confirmed the rumor about Rudy and Lategano.

The idea that Rudy could still run for Senate is, of course, insane. How could he think that he could whip out a mistress, leave an obviously heartbroken wife nearly in tears outside her home and still campaign? People are angry that Hillary didn't dump her husband for oral sex, what will they say about Rudy and his concubines? He could still mount a run, if he didn't mind losing by 20 points. It's Hillary, not Bill, who he's running against.

Depending on who you talk to, Governor George Pataki or Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, it's either long overdue payback or a nightmare. Pataki is as happy as one can be. For years all Giuliani did was look down his nose at him while dissing him to anyone who would listen. Now, Mr. Perfect has a wife, a mistress and a big fat mess on his hands.

Bruno is looking like the man who bet on a horse who is turning into a nag in the starting gate. Rick Lazio deserves a lot of credit. He knew that Giuliani would shoot himself somehow, someway. The press wondered why he stayed in the game--well, this is why. He knew something would have to give. It was no secret that Rudy cheated on his wife. Stuff like that always blows up on people.

Conservative Party leader Mike Long also has to be chortling. Rudy acted like he didn't need him. Well, it looks like Rudy is short a few friends right now.

Sure, they say they still support him, publicly. Privately, they pretty much want him gone. The problem is that if he goes, so does any chance of capturing the seat. But the GOP isn't the Democratic Party. Fielding an adulterer in a bitter divorce for Senateis too hard to imagine.

Everyone was behind Rudy because he looked like a sure winner. Despite all of the personal stuff hovering in the background. It isn't like they forgot his lack of loyalty, his selfishness and disdain for the party, except as a vehicle for his advancement. Now that the knives are out, and they are, he's short the kind of loyalty he needs to survive.

The only real question is: Can he still remain as Mayor? If Hanover gives a hearts and flowers interview to Liz Smith or Barbara Walters, going into how she was faithful and raised the kids while Rudy was tomcatting around, well, combined with his illness, might make staying in City Hall too tough a task. No matter how tough he pretends to be, this is too much to deal with.

The one thing all the people who are calling for "space and privacy" should remember are the words Giuliani tossed after the dead Patrick Dorismond. If he can't consider the dead and their families, why does he think anyone should consider his feelings in the slightest?

Lategano was NOT given a city job, per se, but a patronage job, running the Vistor's Bureau. While not qualified, Crains came out against her appointment, she did have enough political and press skills to pull it off. After all, Bloomberg, who's kept almost none of Giuliani's staff didn't fire her. Whether that was a deal or just that she proved to have the skills for the job, well, it's worked out. It wasn't like they were going to bid the job out.

McGreevey, OTOH, put his boyfriend (the job Lategano got was after their affair ended, it was her payoff) in a high profile job he was less qualified for than some 55 year old ex-Special Forces sergeant at the local VFW. And the job mattered. It wasn't some staff position in which he could hide in.

But when people tell me that they think Giuliani will seek higher office, this is why I laugh at the prospect.

And it's not just me, it's Town Hall's Maggie Gallahger, hardly a liberal

Rudy does Donna

At his press conference last week announcing his separation plans, Rudy Giuliani did something I did not suspect was possible: He made Bill Clinton look good as a husband and father.
I have read and re-read the transcript of Rudy's press conference, and there is no other way to describe his repeated, gratuitous expressions of his desire to dump his wife to make room for his mistress.

Asked about the effect on his Senate race, the mayor replied: "I haven't thought about it yet in that context; maybe I will. I've been thinking about it more in the health context." Fair enough. Then, unprovoked, Rudy volunteered: "Judith Nathan is a very, very fine person. She's been a very good friend to me before I had to deal with the decisions that I have to make about my illness and what to do about it. I rely on her, and she helps me a great deal. And I'm going to need her more now than maybe I did before. These are decisions I have to make at a very difficult time."

Mistresses are all very wonderful people in that regard. Even cheaper than press secretaries, and quite unlike wives, they give you adoring support without expecting much at all in return. Here's another fair question: Is having sex with another woman's husband, and aiding and abetting the breakup of two children's home, really the way a "fine person" acts?

Then why did Rudy say things he knew any wife would find unbearable? New York law gives Donna a say over whether Rudy gets a legal separation or a divorce. To get what he wanted, he had to punch her in the guts. So he did, shamelessly. The man who taught us to see the importance of broken windows now attempts to persuade us that a broken marriage vow is nothing at all.


Exactly how scummy can a person act and still be considered senatorial material? It's a personal decision, and I'm not here to tell you where to draw the line. But for me, what Rudy did to his wife in public (not private) last week is more than I am willing to stomach -- in a man or a senator, either.

Again, I quote myself on this:

Marry at Gracie, celebs fill crowd


The bride sparkled with diamonds and pearls. The groom felt right at home. And the guest list included the rich, the famous and the powerful.

That was the scene last night as Rudy Giuliani married Judith Nathan in a glittering ceremony at Gracie Mansion, officiated by Mayor Bloomberg.

Love, honor obey

The wedding was the third for Giuliani, 58, whose first marriage to Regina Peruggi was annulled. His 20-year union with Donna Hanover fell apart during his final year in office and ended in divorce last July

No one would mistake this blog for a wedding annoucements page, but it's rare to have such an act of evil described in such a banal way. It would be as if Bill Clinton gave away Monica Lewinsky at her wedding and the press reported that the former president gave away a White House intern he became friendly with.

Gracie Mansion is the city's official resident for the mayor. The current mayor, Bloomberg, lives in his own private resident, a brownstone on the Upper East Side and the house now used as guest quarters and for receptions.

"Fell apart" is euphemism like saying Saving Private Ryan had some violent scenes.

How to put this into context:

If you've ever wondered how Al Sharpton became a poised presidential candidate, you need to understand the caliber of the man he was dealing with.

Rudy Giuliani's first wife was also his third cousin. When he divorced her, surrounded by the most sordid rumors, he quickly met up with Donna Hanover, once a newswoman in Miami, then New York. Giuliani, the on the make US Attorney, who played fast and loose with the law and who's publicity seeking indictments fell apart like a East German Trabant, was largely elected with her help. She "humanized" him, as they say.

His repayment for her support?

He took up with a ungainly young woman, Cristyne Lategano, who went from selling sneakers to alienating the NY press corps as his press aide. He was caught buying her a pricey skirt on Madison Ave, New York's Gold Coast or Rodeo Drive, by the Daily News. The second Mrs. Giuliani was none too pleased.

They say the explosion came one Father's Day, where the workaholic Giuliani and his "loyal" aide were caught by an enraged Hanover, who soon stopped using her married name. Giuliani was not particularly subtle for a married man, much less a politician. Pictures of Giuliani and his aide were everywhere, Chinese restaurants, pizza places, the common meetinghalls of New York life.

Which would have been fine, if he were single. One time, reporters saw them drink from the same can and eat from the same slice of pizza. Now, being a single man, I can only imagine the reaction my wife would have if I did that. Sharing food is an intimate act, I would think.

The relationship continued under the snickers of the media, who never informed the public that their mayor was using their money to philander on his wife. But at some point in the summer of 1999, Giuliani dumped his aide and somehow, she wound up with a job as New York City's head of the Convention and Visitor's Bureau, forcing out the previous loyalist who had been given the $250K job.

By the spring of 2000, there was a new woman in Rudy's life, Judith Nathan. She had been camoflauged in the mayor's entourage from the fall of 1999 on. No one knew who she was, at least not obviously. But, as Giulani's bout with cancer became news, Nathan, who was trained as a nurse, was seen to have been accompanying him to doctor's meetings. Meanwhile, his wife was left clueless as to her husband's new infidelity.

As it became clear that he had forsaken his marriage once again for the bed of another woman, Hanover grew disgusted by her husband's behavior.

Finally, on a rainy late spring day, as the Giuliani senate campaign gained steam, he annouced he was leaving his wife. Well, a couple of hours later, Hanover, now seen on the Travel Channel, announced her reaction about the homewrecking strumpets her husband was squiring around. Seems he forgot to tell he wanted a seperation and she found out when we did.

Now, the irony of this was that Giuliani was quite the strict public moralist. When a 16 year old black teenager was walking home from midnight basketball and shot and wounded by a police officer, his reaction to the grieving relatives was "he should have been home at that hour." Giuliani's dim view of black men was not just relegated to mere civilians, but encompased every black male elected official, whom he simply refused to meet unless in the midst of a racial crisis. He also pushed porn out of Times Square and onto side streets.

To say that the divorce was ugly, would be like saying Gettysburg was bloody.Mere words do not the spirit of it justice.

Within a week or so of the breakup, Mother's Day weekend came. So how did the then mayor celebrate? While his wife was home in LA visiting her family, he took a stroll along 2nd Avenue with the press in tow. The pictures of the mayor and his paramour greeted his now estranged wife as a Mother's Day gift.

Things only got uglier, of course. New York is not a no-fault state. You need grounds. And only Hanover had them.

Now, this is why this story becomes evil.

Over the next year, they fought like pit bulls over control of Gracie Mansion. Giuliani reduced his wife's security, fired her press aide. She banned Nathan from the parts of Gracie Mansion. For the next year, they fought over control of the building like the Red Guards and German 6th Army fought over the Tractor Works in Stalingrad. No advantage was too slight to gain. Giuliani's lawyer, showboat Raoul Felder, once called Hanover a greedy pig after a contentious court session.

At one point, Giuliani banned Hanover's parents from staying in the city-owned building. While Giuliani's own father was a convicted felon who avoided military service in WWII, Hanover's father had survived the kamikaze attack on the USS Intrepid in 1945, and was attending a reunion of the ship's surviving crew.

In the nadir of his behavior towards the mother of his children, mayoral aides forcibly ejected Hanover, who rushed to see her children's grandmother after she had been taken ill and rushed to the hospital. The shouting match was heard throughout the ER as Hanover was forced to leave.

Finally, in the spring of 2002, all the cards were on the table. Hanover's lawyers were ready to call a bunch of witnesses to ask about his sex life and affairs. He suddenly found $8m to give her, made off the backs of the dead and wounded after 9/11.

Hanover, who is engaged to be married to an old boyfriend for her third marriage, was nowhere in evidence, as opposed to her grimly unsmiling children.

Now, in an act of unimaginably petty revenge, Giuliani decides to marry in the house which caused his family so much pain and anguish. It is amazing that this incredibly evil act is merely noted in the newspaper. One can imagine how his children felt to see their father marry another woman in their former home.

Hypocracy is banal in most cases, but I'd love to see Giuliani run against Hillary Clinton or Chuck Schumer with such an interesting backstory.

See why I don't worry about a Vice President Rudy.

posted by Steve @ 3:16:00 AM

3:16:00 AM

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