NEW YORK The future of this city’s celebrity among celebrities, Mayor Rudolph William Giuliani, seems so bright that even his most outspoken enemies predict he will remain a star when he leaves office Dec. 31.
“He’ll probably be on the cover of Time magazine as Man of the Year. That will keep him happy for a long time,” said former Mayor Edward I. Koch, whose book, “Giuliani: Nasty Man,” is a study in Rudy-bashing.
Lest he sound as though he has been won over by Mr. Giuliani’s international fame, Mr. Koch added that people will have to weigh “seven years of being a very unlikable guy with the fact that for eight weeks he has done his job and represented the city in a wonderful way. Remember that when asked if they would vote for Giuliani again, only 40 percent of the voters said ‘yes’ in an exit poll.”
A pox on polls, say the mayor’s supporters; the Giuliani legacy of turning an urban basket case into a shining city on the hill is firmly established.
There is no question, they say, that his handling of the World Trade Center disaster was not only dramatically compassionate, but also an example of the Republican mayor’s management skills. An index of that ability is the $3 million he received from Talk Miramax to write two books about the secrets of his success, and the high lecture fees he is expected to command.
History’s judgment aside, the fact is that the mayor reportedly has been deluged with job offers from every sector. The most serious proffer is said to be from Ernst & Young, the blue-chip accounting and management firm that has more than 59,000 employees worldwide.
Mr. Giuliani, 58, who made $195,000 a year in city hall, would be involved in turning around troubled companies for what is expected to be a considerably more substantial sum. The job would allow him to take along three loyal aides: mayoral counsel Denny Young, Chief of Staff Tony Carbonetti and Corporation Counsel Michael Hess.
Meanwhile, as he began “the process of focusing,” Mr. Giuliani has turned down Gov. George E. Pataki’s invitation to sit on a city-state commission that will oversee rebuilding at the site of the demolished World Trade Center. The refusal, however, does not preclude him from giving advice and using influence to have a say in the massive project.
Many believe that Mr. Giuliani will seek public office again. The possibilities usually mentioned are: a third term as mayor; a challenge next year to Mr. Pataki for the GOP nomination; a vice-presidential spot on President Bush’s re-election ticket.
The gubernatorial prospect seems unlikely because the last time Mr. Giuliani bucked his party when he supported former Democratic Gov. Mario M. Cuomo against Mr. Pataki in 1994 he became a pariah of the GOP. It took a long time for the “Judas Giuliani” label to wear off, and there are many who have not yet forgiven him.
If the mayor’s professional life is of keen interest, so is his personal life. Raoul Lionel Felder, who is a close friend of the mayor, is the lawyer handling Mr. Giuliani’s divorce. He says he sees Mr. Giuliani as a consultant to businesses in large cities. “Basically, his talent is in running things,” Mr. Felder said.
As for the divorce from Donna Hanover Giuliani, who still lives in Gracie Mansion, the mayoral residence, Mr. Felder described it as “going on like Old Man River,” adding that Mrs. Giuliani would not move ahead until her husband was out of office. “She became a household name during Rudy’s tenure. She will have no more to gain out of the relationship when he’s not mayor,” he said.
Mr. Giuliani continues to squire around town what the New York Post calls his “gal-pal” an Upper East Side health company executive, Judith Nathan. It is understood among those close to Mr. Giuliani that they will marry as soon as the divorce is final.
Aside from stints at three law firms, Mr. Giuliani has spent most of his working life in government. The GOP see him as a “hot prospect” who can help House Republicans in next year’s midterm elections.