A long string of alleged abuses: Scott Stringer, Eliot Spitzer, Andrew Cuomo and many more New York pols

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Harry Siegel, New York Daily News
·4 min read
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Fairly or not, it’s Scott Stringer’s time in the barrel now. Take a deep breath, and:

Hours after lobbyist Jean Kim held a press conference on Wednesday to say that the city controller and mayoral candidate had “repeatedly groped me” in 2001, not long after Eric Schneiderman, who’d later resign as state attorney general for physically abusing women, introduced them and she’d started interning for Stringer’s 2001 public advocate campaign (Stringer says that she was a volunteer, not an intern, who he’d already known and not through Schneiderman, and that they’d had a consensual sexual relationship for a few months and then a collegial platonic one until he didn’t hire her for his 2013 controller bid and she signed on with his rival in that race, Eliot Spitzer), another mayoral candidate called on Stringer to drop out at a debate hosted by Dominic Carter, whose conviction for beating his wife was overturned on procedural grounds, and David Paterson, both hosts on the same radio station as serial divorcee Rudy Giuliani, whose office and home had been raided that morning by the feds while he was on the phone with his former police commissioner Bernie Kerik, who in the months after 9/11 used an apartment that had been donated for use by weary first responders at Ground Zero as a love nest for an affair.

Paterson — who was Stringer and Schneiderman’s state legislative colleague back in 2001 and who introduced himself as governor after Spitzer’s resignation in 2008 by admitting with his wife next to him that yes he’d cheated on his wife but only after she’d cheated first — left office after completing Spitzer’s term to make way for Andrew Cuomo, who’s now denying he did anything wrong as woman after woman after woman has come out with accounts of sexual harassment and worse.

Cuomo’s path back to the governor’s mansion he lived in as a teen advising his old man, and where the Bear Mountain Compact endures to this day, might have been inadvertently aided by Roger Stone, the longtime Donald Trump adviser and dirty trickster who’d been outed as a swinger by the National Enquirer in 1996 and, seemingly washed up in national Republican politics, was meddling in our local politics, advising Al Sharpton and feuding with the Spitzer family.

In 2008, Stone claimed credit for bringing Eliot Spitzer down after hearing about Client Nine’s hooker habit while visiting a Florida swinger’s club.

It’s not clear if that was true, but it was, as they say, too good to check as Stone painted an indelible picture of the “Love Gov” who kept his black socks on, even as Spitzer had his own reasons for suggesting “the Sheriff of Wall Street” had been brought down by shady actors rather than his own actions.

When Spitzer bigfooted his way into the city controller’s race five years later, he immediately became the overwhelming favorite. But Stringer ran a smart, strong campaign and Spitzer, who ran as if his name was enough, lost.

At Stringer’s victory party, Stone walked up and handed the newly elected controller a pair of black socks, according to attendees who witnessed the exchange. Both men were grinning ear to ear until Stringer saw a film crew behind Stone and turned his back.

Stringer happened to call me just after I’d first heard about that, and emphatically denied Stone had aided him or his campaign.

It’s possible Stone met Stringer for the first time while delivering those trophy socks but had connected previously with Audrey Gelman, then Stringer’s it-girl spokesperson, whom Stone has praised while including her on his annual best-dressed lists.

But it’s also possible this was just Stone again jumping into the picture at the scene of an enemy’s defeat.

Eight years later, a shellshocked Stringer campaign was speculating about other dark political wizards who could be behind Kim’s timely, damaging claims now about events 20 years ago, with no contemporaneous witnesses or corroboration even as many of his most prominent endorsers on the left were jumping ship and pulling their support without waiting for more facts to emerge or checking into holes in her account.

When I’d texted Stone Friday morning to ask about his meeting with Stringer, he responded with a dumb insult and non-answer, maybe because he’s got more pressing problems after the Daily Beast’s bombshell about him dangling a pardon in exchange for $250,000 worth of Bitcoin (Stone denies this) to sleazy Florida pol Joel Greenberg, who’d written draft confessions about paying women and also a 17-year-old girl they didn’t know was 17 for sex on behalf of himself and his friend Matt Gaetz.

As veteran observer of Albany’s awful men Alexis Grenell put it, “None of us want to have to think about any of this” but here we are and here we’ll stay until we find a way to favor political actors with some sense of shame and punish those who lack it — and to fairly distinguish between the two types.

harrysiegel@gmail.com