Before he married his wife, Anthony Weiner had a previously undisclosed relationship with an on-again-off-again congressional and campaign aide nearly two decades his junior.
In pushing back against the publication of this story, the spokeswoman for his current mayoral campaign, Barbara Morgan, phoned The New York Observer‘s editor in chief. Partially confirming the relationship, she said the two “had a personal relationship.” (At that point, Ms. Morgan stopped mid-sentence to request the conversation be continued off the record.)
In a cease-and-desist letter sent to The New York Observer today, an attorney for the woman said his client, Dolev Azaria, “vehemently denies” that she and Mr. Weiner had any romantic relationship “while Ms. Azaria was working for Mr. Weiner.”
“Anthony was my boss and a mentor and we remain friends to this day. There was never anything inappropriate about our relationship. I’m saddened that rumors to the contrary would imply anything else,” Ms. Azaria further said in a statement late Thursday night.
Nearly a dozen sources and former staffers, however, said they strongly suspected that wasn’t the case.
Instead, they described the lengthy relationship between the pair as a badly-kept open secret, with the two openly flirting and behaving unlike any other staffers in the office for a period they say began well before late 2006–when Ms. Azaria left Mr. Weiner’s payroll–and continuing after she returned in mid-2008. (In 2006, Ms. Azaria would have been turning 24 years old, while Mr. Weiner would have been turning 42.) The allegedly unprofessional behavior made some staffers uncomfortable.
“You’d have to be an idiot to not know what was going on,” said one ex-aide, who, like the majority of others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid damaging his relationship with Mr. Weiner and their former colleague. “It was a known secret in the office,” another said.
The close relationship was especially striking, sources said, in contrast to the way Mr. Weiner behaved with others.
“It was pretty clear they had a different relationship than everyone else,” said one source, describing the behavior–openly flirting and largely behaving unlike Mr. Weiner was with any other staffer–as continuing into 2008, when Mr. Weiner began dating his current wife. “If you worked for Weiner, you were lucky if he refused to acknowledge your existence. Those less fortunate got called ‘cocksucker,’” said another. “So [their] rapport was exceptional.”
While relationships between staffers and their bosses–especially in the incestuous world of politics–are not unheard of, this pairing nonetheless suggests that Mr. Weiner was not completely honest when he insisted his personal proclivities were completely constrained to his private life.
“I think the notion of a member of Congress having a relationship with his staffer does not fit the bill of somebody making smart decisions about how he’s running an office and how he’s going to carry on in public life,” said one source. “It is a thing when the boss is having a relationship with a staffer and attempting to keep it a secret from anyone. That’s not appropriate and I think not something that represents smart, sound judgement.”
Smart, sound judgement and Anthony Weiner - things that don't go together.
Thankfully all this stuff broke before he won a slot in the runoff - or worse, became the Democratic nominee.
Weiner was a terrible Congressman, a terrible boss, and he would have made a terrible mayor.
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