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The true danger behind living a lie
New York Daily News - Sunday, August 15th, 2004

by Michael Daly

A lawyer read Golan Cipel's statement from the steps of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, with no apparent thought that the school lost more than 60 students and alumni at the World Trade Center.

"While employed by one of the most powerful politicians in the country, New Jersey Gov. [Jim] McGreevey, I was the victim of repeated sexual advances by him," read the lawyer, Allen Lowy. "I've come to understand that I was a victim."

On hearing the word "victim," you were reminded of all those innocents whose remains were still being recovered at the World Trade Center when Cipel accepted a $110,000 position as McGreevey's top homeland security adviser.

Cipel could hardly have imagined that he was being offered the job for any other reason than he was the governor's pet. Cipel lost the job not because he spurned McGreevey's sexual advances, but because the press revealed him to be woefully unqualified. He was not even able to obtain the security clearance required to attend intelligence briefings.

Whatever the particulars of the dalliance, the chief sin was neither sex nor patronage. The real sin was McGreevey offering the top security job to Cipel at such a time.

Rumors about McGreevey's sexual orientation had been flying about for years. The more deeply closeted aspect of what he would call his "unique truth in the world" was his willingness to place his own immediate wants ahead of everything, even his constituents' safety in time of war.

Which means that McGreevey had a kind of twin when he arrived at the former site of the World Trade Center this past Fourth of July. The occasion was the laying of the cornerstone for the 1,776-foot Freedom Tower.

Such matters as gay or straight stay at the top of the ramp leading down into the pit. The question that becomes more important with each descending step is how true you have been to the memory of those whose loss made the ground below sacred. The jolt that comes with every step brings not only a measure of your weight, but of your worth.

Not that McGreevey evidenced any shame. Nor did his fellow governor, New York's George Pataki, who descended alongside him. The fires in this pit were still burning when Pataki used the mass murder of thousands as a pretext in a failed attempt to grub billions for upstate projects such as highway bridges and railway crossings. The clear intent was to further the political interests of Pataki's foremost priority, George Pataki.

Subsequently, Pataki's idea of helping the city was to claim credit for federal aid routed through the state to us. He juggled numbers like an Enron accountant in an effort to glom for the state two-thirds of a federal allocation to guard against another attack in the city.

At least Mayor Bloomberg was also present on July 4 to unveil the garnet-flecked cornerstone and its noble inscription to the murdered innocents and the spirit of freedom. The two governors stood on either side of him, twin towers of disgrace.

Pataki spoke, so deluded he imagines he will become President. McGreevey delivered the better speech, almost as good, but not nearly so dramatic as the one he gave on Thursday when he resigned.

In both instances, McGreevey's words were empty of truth, unique or otherwise. He did demonstrate that a gay governor can be as shameless as a heterosexual one.

On Friday, McGreevey's lover responded with the statement read by his lawyer on the steps outside John Jay as rain began to fall. You thought of the hurricane approaching Florida and imagined the governor there appointing as his chief meteorologist a lover whose qualifications extended little beyond getting wet when it rains and who was not even cleared to read weather forecasts.

On hearing that word "victim," you thought of the victims of 9/11, in particular those who once used these same steps. These included cops and firefighters and working people such as 21-year-old Marlyn Del Carmen Garcia. She was a high school valedictorian who reportedly arrived at work early on 9/11 at Marsh & McLennan's office on the 101st floor of the north tower so she could head to her classes at John Jay.

You then thought of 24-year-old Ivhan Luis Carpio Bautista, who was working overtime at Windows on the World on 9/11. He had been notified on Sept. 10 that he had been accepted at John Jay.

"He was so excited, so happy," a cousin was later quoted saying. "I remember him saying how he was so lucky, that everything was going to be so good from now on."


© Copyright 2004 New York Daily News

Sally Regenhard,

P. O. Box 70
Woodlawn Station
Bronx, NY 10470

Monica Gabrielle,

P. O. Box 70
Woodlawn Station
Bronx, NY 10470