Feature:Opinion

The real Eliot Spitzer

Eliot Spitzer is the gift that keeps on giving — when it comes to crime.

I’ve said for three years now that he is an unpunished criminal. I even ran for governor of New York last fall to highlight the inequities in a criminal justice system that lets rich, powerful, well-connected men commit crimes and go unpunished. Now it appears that Spitzer is going to get exposed again.

A new lawsuit outlines how Spitzer extorted Marsh & McLennan, an insurance brokerage, into hiring Michael Cherkasky, Spitzer’s crony, as the company’s CEO. Cherkasky received a $35 million golden parachute and exercised it when it became clear that he didn’t understand the insurance business and was totally incompetent. Spitzer also made Marsh & McLennan buy the company where Cherkasky worked, Kroll and Associates, for a price far higher than the company’s market cap. This is the same Eliot Spitzer who prosecuted Ken Grasso for “excess compensation”!

Over a five-year period beginning when Spitzer was New York’s attorney general and ending when he resigned his governorship, I supplied him with escorts. I met him face to face on one occasion, ironically in an apartment I rented for assignations in a building owned by his father. In this instance, the lady he was enjoying his time with was tardy and I had to let him in. He was pleasant and noted that his father built and owned the building.

I later learned that he was guilty of committing another crime — when he was New York’s attorney general, he warned his favorite escort agency of an upcoming sting operation. I’ve taken a lie detector test to prove this (see here).

For the crime of providing the governor with escorts, I spent four months at Rikers Island, where I was subjected to psychosexual torture in squalid conditions with limited access to a toilet that was always backed up and never cleaned. I was subjected to degrading and humiliating random daily cell searches — where I was forced to stand naked in a spread-eagle position while being ogled by male guards and then was subjected to cavity searches by prison matrons while five or six guards watched. I wrote then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo about conditions at Rikers Island but never received a reply.

I forfeited all of my assets and did two and a half years probation in the sex offenders unit, where I was forced to mingle with rapists and child molesters, one of whom followed me home and assaulted me in my apartment house vestibule. I reported the assault to the police. Spitzer went back to his Park Avenue high rise and resigned. As the state’s chief executive officer, he should have been held accountable for his actions, which would have set a precedent that New York politicians cannot commit crimes and go unpunished.

Governor Cuomo deserves credit for trying to bring transparency and ethical standards back to state government, but I think even he would agree that new reforms, while a good start, don’t go far enough.

My issue with Spitzer has never been his use of prostitutes — that’s probably the most honest thing the man has ever done. My problem is the hypocrisy of his actions. In 2007, when he was governor, he increased the penalties for men caught hiring prostitutes. Yet he was never held accountable for breaking the law he helped enact.