A Decade Of Governor Scandals In New York And New Jersey

The executive level of government in New York and New Jersey seems ripe with massive scandals that are just waiting to blow up. Here are four governor scandals that exploded over the last decade:

1. Bridgegate, AKA Bridgeghazi


Photo courtesy of Bob Jagendorf via Flickr.

No political scandal is complete without a catchy name, or in these days, a hashtag.

With N.J. Governor Chris Christie’s possible involvement in the closing of bridge lanes for petty political revenge, reporters were quick to the scene with two suggestions: the cookie-cutter #bridgegate, and the far more controversial #bridgeghazi.

Christie claims underlings ordered the bridge closure, which caused huge traffic jams and delayed EMS responses, without his knowledge. His opponents say it was done in retaliation against the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., who had refused to support the former federal prosecutor’s re-election for governor.

An investigation is underway, but the attention the scandal has already received will definitely be a mark on his ambitious political career.

2. Corzine’s billion-dollar loss


Photo courtesy of Tony Fischer via Flickr.

While he was governor of New Jersey, Jon Corzine stayed close to his union boss ex-girlfriend, and ended up shutting down the state government for a week. But the real scandal didn’t hit until after he was out of office.

A year after being ousted by Chris Christie in 2009, Corzine became CEO of MF Global, a derivatives trading firm.

Another year later, and the billion-dollar company was bankrupt, having spent at least $700 million of its customer’s money to recover from risky trade losses.

Corzine is currently being charged with the misuse of customer funds by the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission, a charge he denies.

3. Eliot Spitzer, AKA Client 9


Photo courtesy of Timothy Krause via Flickr.

Former New York governor (and married father of three) Eliot Spitzer has had his fair share of unsavory and down-right cringe-worthy moments since his election in 2006.

In 2008, Spitzer was identified as “Client 9” in a critical complaint regarding a prostitution ring known as the Emperor’s Club VIP Escort Service, through which he paid a call girl $2,600 for sex in a Washington D.C. hotel, using the name George Fox.

Reportedly, Spitzer had at least eight liaisons with prostitutes through the escort service over a period of six months – and investigators believe that he paid as much as $80,000 for prostitutes over a several year period. He was under surveillance twice by FBI agents, according to the Washington Post.

Spitzer gave a vague public apology for these damaging actions, and resigned from office under threats of impeachment in March of 2008.

4. Jim McGreevey’s extramarital, homosexual affair


Photo courtesy of David Shankbone via Flickr.

Former New Jersey governor and then-married Jim McGreevey, elected in 2001, faced significant controversy in between 2002 and 2004 over hiring and having an affair with an unqualified homeland security advisor.

The man, an Israeli named Golan Cipel, stepped down at McGreevy’s request in 2002 after media scrutiny regarding their close relationship. The trouble would not end there, however – in 2004, Cipel filed a later-retracted sexual harassment lawsuit against McGreevey, according to the NY Post.

McGreevey chose to resign soon after Cipel’s blackmailing efforts, effective November 2004, and came out as gay in a press conference during which he admitted to the consensual homosexual affair.

Ole Skaar