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Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Sunday | May 25, 2003

The banality of hypocracy

Rudy & Judi forever

Marry at Gracie, celebs fill crowd


The bride sparkled with diamonds and pearls. The groom felt right at home. And the guest list included the rich, the famous and the powerful.
That was the scene last night as Rudy Giuliani married Judith Nathan in a glittering ceremony at Gracie Mansion, officiated by Mayor Bloomberg.

The atmosphere inside the flower-bedecked tent facing the East River was romantic, the mood decidedly light-hearted.

Bloomberg opened with a joking offer to give Giuliani, who lived at Gracie Mansion for seven years, a tour of the place.

When it came time to ask if anyone objected to the union, there was silence. Bloomberg, performing his first-ever wedding, quipped, "I'm not used to that."

Love, honor obey

After exchanging traditional vows to "love, honor and obey," the newlyweds broke away from the festivities to greet the press and public gathered outside.

"I would like to introduce my wife, Mrs. Giuliani," the former mayor said. "You can see how fortunate I am. What a lucky man I am to have such a beautiful lady and a wonderful person as my wife."

His bride, who wore an antique tiara, twirled around to show off her one-of-a-kind Vera Wang halter-top dress - a confection of oyster-colored silk and satin, crystals and pearls.

"I feel fantastic," she said.

The wedding was the third for Giuliani, 58, whose first marriage to Regina Peruggi was annulled. His 20-year union with Donna Hanover fell apart during his final year in office and ended in divorce last July

No one would mistake this blog for a wedding annoucements page, but it's rare to have such an act of evil described in such a banal way. It would be as if Bill Clinton gave away Monica Lewinsky at her wedding and the press reported that the former president gave away a White House intern he became friendly with.

Gracie Mansion is the city's official resident for the mayor. The current mayor, Bloomberg, lives in his own private resident, a brownstone on the Upper East Side and the house now used as guest quarters and for receptions.

"Fell apart" is euphemism like saying Saving Private Ryan had some violent scenes.

How to put this into context:

If you've ever wondered how Al Sharpton became a poised presidential candidate, you need to understand the caliber of the man he was dealing with.

Rudy Giuliani's first wife was also his third cousin. When he divorced her, surrounded by the most sordid rumors, he quickly met up with Donna Hanover, once a newswoman in Miami, then New York. Giuliani, the on the make US Attorney, who played fast and loose with the law and who's publicity seeking indictments fell apart like a East German Trabant, was largely elected with her help. She "humanized" him, as they say.

His repayment for her support?

He took up with a ungainly young woman, Cristyne Lategano, who went from selling sneakers to alienating the NY press corps as his press aide. He was caught buying her a pricey skirt on Madison Ave, New York's Gold Coast or Rodeo Drive, by the Daily News. The second Mrs. Giuliani was none too pleased.

They say the explosion came one Father's Day, where the workaholic Giuliani and his "loyal" aide were caught by an enraged Hanover, who soon stopped using her married name. Giuliani was not particularly subtle for a married man, much less a politician. Pictures of Giuliani and his aide were everywhere, Chinese restaurants, pizza places, the common meetinghalls of New York life.

Which would have been fine, if he were single. One time, reporters saw them drink from the same can and eat from the same slice of pizza. Now, being a single man, I can only imagine the reaction my wife would have if I did that. Sharing food is an intimate act, I would think.

The relationship continued under the snickers of the media, who never informed the public that their mayor was using their money to philander on his wife. But t some point in the summer of 1999, Giuliani dumped his aide and somehow, she wound up with a job as New York City's head of the Convention and Visitor's Bureau, forcing out the previous loyalist who had been given the $250K job.

By the spring of 2000, there was a new woman in Rudy's life, Judith Nathan. She had been camoflauged in the mayor's entourage from the fall of 1999 on. No one knew who she was, at least not obviously. But, as Giulani's bout with cancer became news, Nathan, who was trained as a nurse, was seen to have been accompanying him to doctor's meetings. Meanwhile, his wife was left clueless as to her husband's new infidelity.

As it became clear that he had forsaken his marriage once again for the bed of another woman, Hanover grew disgusted by her husband's behavior.

Finally, on a rainy late spring day, as the Giuliani senate campaign gained steam, he annouced he was leaving his wife. Well, a couple of hours later, Hanover, now seen on the Travel Channel, announced her reaction about the homewrecking strumpets her husband was squiring around. Seems he forgot to tell he wanted a seperation and she found out when we did.

Now, the irony of this was that Giuliani was quite the strict public moralist. When a 16 year old black teenager was walking home from midnight basketball and shot and wounded by a police officer, his reaction to the grieving relatives was "he should have been home at that hour." Giuliani's dim view of black men was not just relegated to mere civilians, but encompased every black male elected official, whom he simply refused to meet unless in the midst of a racial crisis. He also pushed porn out of Times Square and onto side streets.

To say that the divorce was ugly, would be like saying Gettysburg was bloody.
Mere words do not the spirit of it justice.

Within a week or so of the breakup, Mother's Day weekend came. So how did the then mayor celebrate? While his wife was home in LA visiting her family, he took a stroll along 2nd Avenue with the press in tow. The pictures of the mayor and his paramour greeted his now estranged wife as a Mother's Day gift.

Things only got uglier, of course. New York is not a no-fault state. You need grounds. And only Hanover had them.

Now, this is why this story becomes evil.

Over the next year, they fought like pit bulls over control of Gracie Mansion. Giuliani reduced his wife's security, fired her press aide. She banned Nathan from the parts of Gracie Mansion. For the next year, they fought over control of the building like the Red Guards and German 6th Army fought over the Tractor Works in Stalingrad. No advantage was too slight to gain. Giuliani's lawyer, showboat Raoul Felder, once called Hanover a greedy pig after a contentious court session.

At one point, Giuliani banned Hanover's parents from staying in the city-owned building. While Giuliani's own father was a convicted felon who avoided military service in WWII, Hanover's father had survived the kamikaze attack on the USS Intrepid in 1945, and was attending a reunion of the ship's surviving crew.

In the nadir of his behavior towards the mother of his children, mayoral aides forcibly ejected Hanover, who rushed to see her children's grandmother after she had been taken ill and rushed to the hospital. The shouting match was heard throughout the ER as Hanover was forced to leave.

Finally, in the spring of 2002, all the cards were on the table. Hanover's lawyers were ready to call a bunch of witnesses to ask about his sex life and affairs. He suddenly found $8m to give her, made off the backs of the dead and wounded after 9/11.

Hanover, who is engaged to be married to an old boyfriend for her third marriage, was nowhere in evidence, as opposed to her grimly unsmiling children.

Now, in an act of unimaginably petty revenge, Giuliani decides to marry in the house which caused his family so much pain and anguish. It is amazing that this incredibly evil act is merely noted in the newspaper. One can imagine how his children felt to see their father marry another woman in their former home.

Hypocracy is banal in most cases, but I'd love to see Giuliani run against Hillary Clinton or Chuck Schumer with such an interesting backstory.

Steve Gilliard

Posted May 25, 2003 03:52 PM | Comments (76)


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