WEBCommentary Contributor

Author: Michael J. Gaynor
Date:  December 1, 2007

Topic category:  Other/General

Rudy Giuliani: "I am not a sneak"

Given Rudy's adulterous history, Rudy insisting that he's not a sneak should be an impossible sell to those familiar with it, but Rudy's trying hard anyway.

Is it too much to expect a President of the United States with personal integrity and good judgment instead of one who thinks the taxpayers should pay his (or her) expenses resulting from marital infidelity?

Rudy Giuliani is denying that he tried to hide certain potentially embarrassing, if not illegal, expenses during his second term as mayor. To his consternation, the website Politico.com detailed how certain alleged travel and security costs aggregating tens of thousands of dollars were shifted to little-known New York City agencies such as the Loft Board and the Procurement Policy Board from 1999 to 2001-- when Rudy was pursuing an extramarital affair with Judith Nathan, now his third wife.

Rudy and/or his aides have said (1) they don't know how or why the expenses ended up in the other agencies' budgets, but (2) all the expenses were reimbursed by the Police Department, which supplies the mayoral security detail, and (3) this kind of bookkeeping was common past practice.

Given Rudy's adulterous history, Rudy insisting that he's not a sneak should be an impossible sell to those familiar with it, but Rudy's trying hard anyway.

Rudy quickly took the first page from fellow presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton's political playbook and played the victim.

At least Rudy blamed the media instead of claiming a "vast right-wing conspiracy."

At least Rudy did not use the words the late President Nixon infamously chose: "I am not a crook."

Rudy went on the offensive, railing that the revelation that the New York City taxpayers footed the bill for his adultery with his current wife while he was still married to his second wife (for whose protection those taxpayers paid too) was old news and "a hit job."

"A hit job"?

Was that what Rudy did to his second wife (and mother of his children) when he publicly announced that he was going to divorce her instead of privately telling her first?

"Rudy calls report on Hamptons security 'a hit job, '" by Newsday's Tom Brune and Craig Gordon: "Rudy Giuliani and his presidential campaign moved quickly Thursday to limit damage from a Web report about mayoral security expenses during his extramarital affair with Judith Nathan, calling it a 'hit job' and a 'debate day dirty trick.'

"Acknowledging its potential harm, Giuliani gave several TV interviews to denounce the Politico.com story posted Wednesday afternoon as 'false' and insist that the handling of the money was 'perfectly appropriate.'

"'It's a typical political hit job, with only half the story told,' he said, saying the expenses that totalled nearly $1 million in 2000 and 2001 were for a wide variety of travel."

Problem: "...the explanations he and his aides offered...left unanswered questions and still failed to explain why expenses were scattered among obscure mayoral agencies, such as the Loft Board, before the New York Police Department reimbursed them."

Michael Granof, a University of Texas government accounting expert:

"On the face of it, I can't see any reason why the mayor's travel expenses should be allocated to the Loft Board, unless he is traveling to examine lofts in other cities."

"Maybe they thought if they put it in all these obscure departments nobody would notice it."

"They obviously didn't want transparency."

Was Rudy trying to hide anything?

Not according to Rudy.

Rudy whined that the story was five years old but appeared two hours before the CNN/YouTube debate in Florida, and that it focused only on expenses related to his Southampton visits to be with the woman who became Mrs. Giuliani No. 3.

Messrs. Brune and Gordon explained that a desire to speed up reimbursement supposedly created what is now a problem for Rudy:

"The practice started when officers on [Rudy's] security detail complained that the police department was slow to reimburse them for rental cars and lodging, said former city budget director Joe Lhota. So the mayor's office paid with a pre-paid American Express credit card.

"'City Hall would pay it first, then the police department would reimburse every single penny of it,' Giuliani said."

So why charge the Loft Board? (An explanation of that may rival presidential secretary Rosemary Woods' explanation as to how she might have created that 18-minute gap on a critical Watergate tape.)

Messrs. Brune and Gordon:

"The mayor and Lhota also insisted costs were not limited to visits to Nathan, and included Giuliani's then-wife Donna Hanover and her children."

In other words, they conceded that some of the costs covered visits to Nathan and quibbled that the cost of Rudy's adultery had been exaggerated.

Is there a de minimus amount that's supposed to be ignored, Rudy?

Messrs. Brune and Gordon:

"City Comptroller Bill Thompson, who wrote the confidential January 2002 letter alerting Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the practice, Thursday called the accounting 'a convoluted way to get things done.'

"He added, 'That's not the way we operate these days, and that would not be the preferred way to do business.'"


Martha Doran of the Center for Accounting in the Public Interest at San Diego State University: "It appears to either be seeking to avoid a dollar limit or scrutiny."

It sure does.

Messrs. Brune and Gordon:

"The latest Giuliani flare-up added an explosive new problem for the campaign trail: that a man who campaigns as a tight-fisted manager spent thousands in city funds while carrying on an extramarital affair, and aides shifted the funds outside normal channels."

"'Arguably, the affair with Judith Nathan was his own business, but when his trips to Southampton involve public expenditures, then it became the public's business,' said Jack Pitney of Claremont McKenna College in California."

Is this a harbinger of worse things to come for the Giuliani campaign?

Messrs. Brune and Gordon:

"...the new allegations could open the floodgates for a new round of reports that re-hash previous stories about Giuliani's behavior as mayor, such as his decision to provide a security detail for Nathan while they were dating -- and still paying for security for his then-wife Donna Hanover.

"Team Giuliani hoped the story would pass quickly as old news. 'Everything about Judith Nathan has been written about for the last year... You'd rather not have it, and unless there's more to it, and I'm convinced there's not, I think two weeks from now, we'll have forgotten the story,' said Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), a Giuliani backer."

If there is more to come (and we've learned plenty about Rudy's man Bernard Kerik over the last few years), it's better that it comes sooner than later. It's known that Rudy's adultery did not begin with his latest wife and reports that she used the New York City police as a taxi service inspire questions as to whether there were other misuses of public servants, public property and public money by Rudy.

Newsday's Dan Janison cleverly called Rudy crafty in reporting on Rudy's damage control campaign in an article titled "Rudy Giuliani shows prosecutorial side in account."

Mr. Janison:

"Seeking to control damage to his campaign, Rudy Giuliani last night showed a national audience his lawyer-crafty side. In a strategically selected TV appearance with CBS' Katie Couric, he displayed his own blend of courtroom tactic and stand-up spin control, acting swiftly to turn a rough narrative about adultery and cover-up into one of political treachery by his enemies.

"The jury of the public will decide if he succeeded. At best, all who liked him will still like him. At worst, he will have deepened doubts among the undecided.

"As in so many City Hall clashes in the 1990s, Giuliani charged an ill-motivated attack - a contention you might have heard from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"Here was the former mayor - whose book 'Leadership' quotes on its cover Time magazine calling him 'mayor of the world' - paradoxically winning himself some more media karma by condemning news organizations. He spoke of three budget directors who backed his action as 'perfectly appropriate,' adding darkly: 'But of course the press doesn't cover that.'

"'I know what this was. This story is 5 years old. It came out two hours before a debate. It's a typical political hit job with only half the story told,' he told Couric - as if impeaching the testimony of a hostile witness.

"The Politico Web site revealed that public costs of the then-married mayor's trips to Southampton, where he'd see his then-girlfriend, among other first-class travels, were budgeted through obscure mayoral offices for loft laws, disabled people, and court-appointed attorneys.

"Giuliani repeatedly used the words 'discoverable' and 'reimbursed' to show how proper and transparent these expenses were. He and former aide Joe Lhota said that because the budgeting was done this way (for some reason) outsiders could see the records. If kept within the Police Department, security rules would assure they never saw the light of day.

"His defense brief skipped the part of the story where the city comptroller challenged this odd distribution of expenses - but was denied documents by City Hall, due to security concerns. So perhaps the stuff wasn't really so 'discoverable' by the public until Mayor Michael Bloomberg's staff released it under the Freedom of Information Act.

"Scrutiny by outside agencies was a sore point during his eight years as mayor.

"When he said 'the Police Department ultimately paid for everything' - that is, made those obscure office budgets whole - His Honor surely made it sound to some listeners as if the taxpayers weren't really paying for some things that fell way outside any definition of the people's business.

"Most big politicians get death threats, but Giuliani put his own stamp on it by saying: 'It was done because there were definable threats to kill me going back to when I was U.S. attorney.'

"'All of this was on the record,' he said, pushing the envelope. And showing readiness for Washington-speak, he said: 'None of it was against other practices that were used in situations like this...'

"How will this affect his candidacy, Couric asked. 'I think it will show that we do things honestly, honorably, above board. All of this is easily explained and all of this is easily discoverable.'

"Giuliani might as well have said: "Your honor, you must dismiss these frivolous charges against my unimpeachable client - me.'"

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch: "That this was past practice is absolutely wrong. It didn't happen under me and I don't think it happened with David Dinkins, either."

Former Koch budget director Alaire Townsend:

The practice "doesn't make a lot of sense."

"Money might get moved around within the mayor's office, but I don't know why an expense of the NYPD would get recorded that way, unless you just didn't want people to find it."

Current New York City Comptroller William Thompson: "It's not a preferred way of doing budgeting; it's not transparent or open; and it's not the way the Bloomberg administration does business."

Gennifer Flowers warned America about Bill Clinton, but too many people didn't believe or didn't care.

Bottom line: Rudy is not fit to be President. Obviously.

Michael J. Gaynor

Biography - Michael J. Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.

Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.

The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.

Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.

Gaynor's email address is gaynormike@aol.com.

Copyright 2007 by Michael J. Gaynor
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