McGreevey resignation possibly brought on by former adviser's threats

(08/13/04) TRENTON - Governor McGreevey's (D-NJ) announcement Thursday about his sexuality and resignation may have been spurred on by threats from a former administration employee.

The man with whom McGreevey had a consensual extramarital affair is reportedly Golan Cipel, a former McGreevey homeland security adviser. Cipel is a 35-year-old Israeli citizen whose appointment to the advisor role, and its six-figure salary, raised much controversy. Detractors of the appointment pointed out that Cipel was not a U.S. citizen and lacked the proper security clearance for the position. Cipel also seemed to have no prior experience to prepare him for the job. After the uproar, McGreevey transferred Cipel to a special counsel position.

Sources within the McGreevey administration say Cipel tried to extort money from the governor to stay quiet about the affair. Cipel reportedly told members of the McGreevey administration that he would file a sexual harassment lawsuit if he was not paid a large sum of money.

Faced with the potential exposure of his secret lifestyle in a lawsuit, McGreevey seemingly preempted the revelation about his sexuality by telling the public about his affair.

Sources say McGreevey's lawyers have alerted the FBI about Cipel's possible attempt to extort money from the governor. A law enforcement official says those claims are now being investigated and are being taken "very seriously."

In a statement Friday, Cipel said he was the victim of repeated sexual advances by the governor. He also said McGreevey has made him the victim of a smear campaign.

Related story: Governor McGreevey admits he's "a gay American," resigns from office

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