BY MATTHEW KALMAN IN RISHON LEZION, ISRAEL AND DAVE GOLDINER IN NEW YORK
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
MONDAY, AUGUST 23, 2004
GOLAN CIPEL TOOK OFF yesterday for a vacation with a female friend to escape the New Jersey gay sex scandal. Cipel, 35, gave the slip to reporters tracking the downfall of Gov. Jim McGreevey and headed to the friend's house for a little platonic R&R.
"The dad and Cipel's childhood friend Guy Horesh-Gunin identified the woman by her first name, Anat. The two met when Cipel was working as a spokesman for the Israeli Consulate in New York, they said. "Anat and Golan know each other from his first work in the U.S.," said Horesh-Gunin. "They've known each other for six, seven years but there's no romantic involvement."
The getaway comes as a welcome break for Golan Cipel, a former McGreevey aide who fled to his homeland after the governor admitted he was gay and announced his resignation. McGreevey told the world he had a "consensual" relationship with a man who tried to blackmail him into keeping quiet. But Cipel insists he is straight and was sexually harassed by the governor. The Israeli man is considering a lawsuit and plans to return next month to the U.S. Horesh-Gunin said Cipel's mood was "very, very good."
He said Cipel was confident the governor's blackmail claims would be proved false. "So far, the governor's accusations against him are turning out to be untrue," said Horesh-Gunin. He said Cipel had not been contacted by the FBI but would welcome an investigation by the bureau. "Golan would be very happy about an FBI investigation," he said. "It will help him clear his name."
Meanwhile, powerful U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine said he would not pressure the governor to quit before the Nov. 15 date he set. Corzine conceded there is a "crisis of confidence" in the Garden State and said he would consider a future run for governor. "If there is an ability to try to bring some orderliness to it, some independence, a commitment to good government, and people think that I'm the one to best do that, then I'm prepared to do that," Corzine said.
Corzine, who also heads the national Democratic senate campaign committee, told McGreevey he could run in a special election that would be called if the governor stepped down before Sept. 3. But he said it would not be right to force McGreevey's hand.