Golan Cipel is painting a far darker picture of the relationship he had with former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey after excerpts from McGreevey’s new book The Confession were released to media last week. Cipel, who dropped his harassment lawsuit against McGreevey, told the New York Daily News that he received threats from “Jim’s friends” if he talked to the press and that their relationship was forced on him by McGreevey:
“I wasn’t his lover. I didn’t have sex with him. I never heard anything from him saying that he loved me. The only things that happened were sexual harassments. And unwanted sexual advances and assaults.”
“One night, McGreevey called me and asked me to come over to speak to him about something related to work. I came to his house and we had a good conversation and, all of a sudden, he asked me to go to a bar. I said, ‘I think it’s inappropriate for you to go to a bar, you’re the governor.’ And he said, ‘This is my neighborhood. I grew up here, everybody knows me, I’m fine. I just want to get out a little bit.’
“I thought, he’s the governor, I guess he knows what he’s doing, so we went. There was a state trooper outside guarding the house and the trooper insisted he escort him. McGreevey said no, but we went to a little neighborhood bar in the Woodbridge area and the state trooper is behind us. Everybody inside knows him. He ordered a beer for himself and for me. I said, ‘I don’t really drink.’
“He drank, I think, two glasses. He tells me, ‘Come on, be a man, drink a little more.’ I just took a few sips. I’d left my briefcase at his house so I had to get it. The bar had a liquor store and he said he wanted to buy liquor. He bought Jagermeister. I drove him back home, I got my bag and he said, ‘The news is coming on, please stay, I want to talk to you about something.’
“He was pouring us drinks and he was drinking his. I didn’t feel any warning signals or hostile atmosphere. I’ve thought a lot about this since. I thought he was just a normal guy. McGreevey was drinking. I said, ‘I really have to leave, it’s getting late.’ He escorted me to the door and all of a sudden he said, ‘I need to give you something, but it’s upstairs.’
“I said, ‘Okay, I’ll wait,’ and he said, ‘No, come with me, it’ll be easier.’ I was innocent, I had no clue this guy had any intentions. We went to the upper level. To the right was a bedroom and to the left, a den with his office.
“He turned and pushed me with a lot of strength to the bedroom, and I was in shock. He put his hands to my chest and pushed me into the bedroom. He pushed me onto the bed and jumped on me.
“We wrestled and he stopped. And there was this moment when the two of us were in the room. And I asked him, ‘Why did you think I was gay?’ And he said, ‘Everybody’s a little bit gay.’ I was very embarrassed.
“If you would have asked me, before this happened, what would I do? I would say I’d punch the guy in the mouth. But I completely froze, and I just hurried out, out of the house. I went home and I couldn’t sleep.”
When he saw his boss the next day, Cipel said, the only thing McGreevey said to him was, “I got rid of the liquor.”
“I never thought this would happen to me,” Cipel added. “I realized my whole life was in the hands of this man. He controlled the police, appointed the judges, the attorney general. I’m a new immigrant, with only a visa. I didn’t know what to do.”
McGreevey’s account, some of which we brought to you on Friday, was a bit more florid:
“I was like a man emerging from 44 years in a cave to taste pure air for the first time, feel direct sunlight on pallid skin, warmth where there had only ever been a bone-chilling numbness…I pulled him to the bed and we made love like I’d always dreamed: a boastful, passionate, whispering, masculine kind of love.”
Who do you believe? Corrupt, marriage-wrecking New Jersey politician or spurned ex-pat social climber? The truth is in there somewhere, though it’s likely the only real truth the public will get out of this is that gay break-ups can be just as bitter and vindictive as straight ones.