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The Gay Love Shakedown

New Jersey- Jim McGreevey’s former gay lover made a desperate cash-for-silence demand just minutes before the New Jersey governor told the world he was homosexual, sources said yesterday.

Less than a half hour before McGreevey’s stunning announcement that he had cheated on his wife with a man and would step down in November, Golan Cipel asked the governor’s lawyers for $2 million – down from a previous request for $5 million, the administration sources said.

Cipel also wanted the administration to okay a proposed Touro College medical school in New Jersey, they said. In exchange, the Israeli national said he would not file a sex-harassment suit against McGreevey, the sources said.

The demands were relayed from Cipel’s lawyer to McGreevey’s legal team at the governor’s mansion about 3:30 p.m. Thursday, sources said. The legal team then called the statehouse, where McGreevey and his advisers were preparing for his announcement.

“It was the first anyone had heard of Touro” as part of an alleged shakedown, said one source, who asked not to be identified. McGreevey’s lawyers rejected the bid.

Cipel’s lawyer, Allen Lowy, said Friday that there was no shakedown, that Cipel was the victim of sexual advances by McGreevey and that the governor had offered hush money for Cipel to go away.

But yesterday, Lowy apparently went a step further. He told The New York Times that Cipel is heterosexual and did not have an affair with McGreevey, the paper reported today.

Lowy and another Cipel attorney, Rachel Yosevitz, said McGreevey began making sexual overtures and harassing their client in late 2001, when Cipel was an aide on the governor’s transition team, and continued after appointing Cipel the state’s $110,0000-a-year homeland security director and then special counsel, the paper said.

After Cipel complained in August 2002, McGreevey forced him out, Lowy said, according to The Times.

Cipel has not filed a harassment lawsuit.

A McGreevey spokesman said yesterday that the governor stands by his statement Thursday. Lowy didn’t return repeated calls by the Daily News for comment yesterday.

Officials couldn’t be reached at Touro, a New York law school whose board members include real-estate developer Charles Kushner, a top McGreevey fund-raiser charged on July 13 with witness-tampering.

Touro had hired Rosemont Associates, the firm of former Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-N.J.), last December to be an adviser on the medical school proposal, said Sean Jackson, a top aide to the former lawmaker.

But the alleged Cipel shakedown involving the school came as a shock, he said, adding that he had “no knowledge of any involvement” Cipel had with Touro or the project, or how such a thing would have come up with the McGreevey camp.

He said Torricelli has “no memory whatsoever” of ever meeting Cipel or dealing with him in any way.

Torricelli was forced from his reelection bid in 2002 amid an ethics scandal.

On July 13, authorities said Kushner tried to thwart federal probes into his businesses, investigations in which his sister and her husband were cooperating. Kushner allegedly hired a hooker to sleep with his brother-in-law and sent a video of the encounter to his sister.

Kushner, who also had donated to Torricelli’s Senate campaign, was traveling with McGreevey when the governor met Cipel in 2000 during a trip to Israel. Later, Kushner sponsored Cipel’s move to the U.S.

McGreevey sparked a controversy when he named Cipel, who had virtually no experience in the field, to the security post. McGreevey later helped Cipel land private sector jobs.

Several sources said that Lowy first contacted McGreevey’s office about a potential sex harassment claim on July 23 and demanded $50 million.



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