Man Sought $50M From N.J Gov. McGreevey, Aides Say
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The man who claims Gov. James E. McGreevey sexually harassed him was pushing for a cash settlement of up to $50 million before the governor decided to announce that he was gay and had an extramarital affair, sources told The Associated Press.
Golan Cipel's demands also included a last-minute push to have McGreevey's administration approve development plans for a private medical college in the state, two senior members of the administration said Saturday. Both sources spoke on condition of anonymity.
McGreevey's lawyer refused to negotiate, one of the sources said, and rejected repeated offers to pay cash to avoid a lawsuit that would detail the governor's relationship with Cipel, a former campaign aide whose appointment as a homeland security adviser with little experience provoked a major political controversy for the governor.
Cipel's lawyer first contacted McGreevey on July 23, asking for $50 million, one of the administration sources said. More offers were made, and the price dropped. Each time McGreevey's lawyer refused to agree and did not discuss the issue further, the source said.
Eventually that figure dropped to $5 million, both sources said, and the offers to avoid a sexual harassment lawsuit continued Thursday afternoon just as McGreevey made up his mind to declare his homosexuality and admit to an extramarital affair with a man.
Two sources close to McGreevey said Thursday that Cipel was the unnamed man the governor acknowledged having an affair with in his resignation speech that day.
The FBI is investigating whether a former employee tried to blackmail the governor, according to law enforcement sources.