Absentee Al

D'Amato Missed 966 Votes When He First Ran for Senate

Spitzer ducked the Voice during the primary when we pressed him with questions about the loans. Confronted outside the Woodbury, Long Island, studio where he and Vacco debated on Friday, he kept promising he'd provide documents that would make it all clear by Monday. Instead, on Monday, he was still in hiding, where he has spent much of the last few campaign weeks, avoiding questions like these:

  • How could Spitzer repay the $4.2 million he borrowed to finance his 1994 campaign on an income that then averaged less than $300,000 a year? Debt service on the loans alone would consume most of his earnings. (He did not sell any of the eight co-op apartments he owns in a luxury West Side building to repay the loans, since he listed the same assets in 1994 and 1998 and is still using the apartments as collateral to obtain new loans.)

  • Did his father, multimillionaire developer Bernard Spitzer, repay any portion of the 1994 loans? If so, that would violate state election law, which limits his father's contributions to roughly $100,000?Will Bernard Spitzer also repay the $5.5 million in 1998 loans, win or lose?

  • Why didn't Spitzer or his father disclose the details of these loans on submissions to the AG that all co-op apartment owners must make? How can the Spitzers justify filing sworn co-op documents in 1994 and since that claim the apartments have not been used as collateral and at the same time file Board of Elections documents that insist that they have?

  • How did Spitzer qualify for a combined $9.7 million in bank loans on properties he now tells the Times are valued at $7 million to $10 million? Why indeed would he spend that much of his own money supposedly on a long-shot campaign when it appears to be all he's worth? Is his father officially or unofficially guaranteeing the loans in violation of state campaign-contribution limitations?

    "I'm not going into that right now," Spitzer told the Voice when we sought answers in the corridors of Cablevision on Friday. "I will answer it and you'll understand why," he promised. But Oliver Koppell, the former AG who's twice run in Democratic primaries against Spitzer's money, has been demanding answers to questions like these for almost five years. Even though so sweeping a violation of state law would transcend the disturbing yet by now par-for-the-course quid pro quo allegations dogging Vacco, Spitzer just stonewalls.

    If Bernard Spitzer wanted to finance his son's fantasy, he could've given him, not his campign, whatever millions were necessary and paid the due gift taxes. Instead, his son has wound up in a legal quandary, awash in money he cannot explain, even while he seeks the very office charged with probing precisely this kind of conduct.

    Research: David Kihara, David Shaftel, and Nicole White

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