- The Washington Times - Monday, August 16, 2004

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli man at the center of Gov. James E. McGreevey’s resignation said in an interview published yesterday that he is straight and that he initially had no idea that his former boss is a homosexual.

Golan Cipel told the Israeli daily newspaper Yediot Ahronot that the New Jersey Democrat repeatedly made unwanted sexual advances.

Mr. Cipel, an Israeli navy veteran, said he informed the governor at one point that he planned to sue him for sexual harassment, and lawyers were negotiating a settlement when Mr. McGreevey resigned last week.

“It doesn’t bother me that it is said I am gay, but I really am not. I’m straight. On the other hand, to accuse me of being an extortionist? Someone here has lost his mind,” Mr. Cipel was quoted as telling Yediot.

Mr. McGreevey, who is married, announced his resignation on Thursday, acknowledging that he is a homosexual and had an affair with a man whom he did not name.

Sources within the McGreevey administration named Mr. Cipel as the lover and said he had demanded millions of dollars to stay quiet.

In a press conference on Friday, Mr. Cipel’s attorneys denied the accusations, saying Mr. McGreevey’s attorney offered to pay if Mr. Cipel did not file a lawsuit.

In the interview, Mr. Cipel dismissed Mr. McGreevey’s actions as political damage control.

“He preferred to admit he was homosexual rather than stand opposite accusations of sexually harassing a subordinate. If you ask me, McGreevey resigned because he knew that the facts surrounding the harassment against me would come to light, and he knew I could prove it,” Mr. Cipel said.

McGreevey spokesman Micah Rasmussen disputed that accusation yesterday, saying, “These are all false allegations by someone who’s trying to exploit his relationship with the governor.”

Mr. McGreevey appointed Mr. Cipel as New Jersey’s $110,000-a-year homeland-security adviser in 2002 without a background check or official announcement.

The appointment was criticized because, among other reasons, Mr. Cipel could not get a security clearance as a foreign citizen. He was reassigned a few months later and left the government soon after.

The Israeli reporter, Yair Lapid, who interviewed Mr. Cipel for Yediot said the 35-year-old spoke rapidly from New York throughout the interview and appeared frightened and emotional.

Mr. Cipel said he wanted to forget about Mr. McGreevey after he left New Jersey and took a job in New York, but he said the governor continued the unwanted contact.

“At first, it didn’t occur to me that he was homosexual. The man looked happily married, he has children, and his wife was very active in the campaign and election,” Mr. Cipel said.

But on long nights of campaigning, Mr. Cipel said, “He hit on me over and over. I got to a point where I was afraid to stay with him alone.”

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