November 7, 2004



To understand the forces behind McGreevey's undoing, The Star-Ledger interviewed more than 50 people, including most of his closest friends and advisers. Several revelations emerged, among them that McGreevey's private behavior had threatened to destroy his political career long before he met the man who led to his downfall.


# Despite his clean-living image -- and confounding those who believed he was a closeted homosexual -- McGreevey visited traditional, female-staffed go-go bars so frequently before he became governor that his advisers admonished him to stop, warning that he risked political immolation. At least twice leading up to the 2001 election, McGreevey also spent time at a gay nightclub in Atlantic City.

# McGreevey benefited in his rise to power from a small circle of loyalists who came to be known in political circles as his personal cleanup squad. The political guardians quashed rumors, reassured supporters fearful of lurid revelations and, in their most brazen act, shipped a female prostitute out of state just before the 1997 gubernatorialelection after she claimed McGreevey regularly paid her for sex.

# Cipel was a far more pervasive presence in McGreevey's life than previously believed, both in the Statehouse and at Drumthwacket, the governor's mansion in Princeton, where the aide was twice seen emerging from the private residence early in the morning.

# Cipel's remarkable access to the governor helped him win at least five high-paying jobs in the 13 months after he left the administration. In one previously undisclosedcase, he was hired by a leading construction firm just before the governor approved a lucrative state contract for the company.

# In the final, desperate days before McGreevey made hisresignation announcement, his closest advisers devised a plan to secretly pay Cipel to keep silent. The payoff would have been masked from public view through a legal defense fund, ostensibly created to help McGreevey counter the myriad investigations into his administration.

McGreevey plans to leaveoffice next week, more than a year early, his longtime dream of running the state prematurely undone. He has denied all requests for interviews about his private life, leaving friends to speak for him.

When John Corzine is elected governor it makes his seat a prime GOP target.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 7, 2004 9:52 AM

It's interesting to note that investigative reports about Republicans from large media outlets are timed to come out before Election Day; stories like this -- from the largest newspaper in a state that was closer than expected for Kerry -- or the Newsweek and Time details on the disfunctional inner workings of the the senator's campaign, come out the weekend after the votes are cast.

Posted by: John at November 7, 2004 10:48 AM

So, basically he's just another corrupt NJ pol who was saved by the fact that he was having sex with a man?

Posted by: David Cohen at November 7, 2004 3:36 PM

When Corzine ran for the Senate he never made his tax returns public as required under Federal Election law because he claimed it would violate a confidentiality agreement with Goldman-Sachs.

Only the little people comply with Federal Election law.

Posted by: Bart at November 8, 2004 7:27 AM