New York Daily News
FIGHTING FOR HIS INTEGRITY
Stringer, in sex-harass flap, sez mayor run is 2nd to reputation
City comptroller and mayoral candidate Scott Stringer, who has barreled along with his campaign even as his endorsements dried up after a sexual abuse allegation, said Wednesday that defending his integrity is more important to him than reaching City Hall.
“I want my children someday — when they go online and see the whole story of their dad — I want them to be able to say our dad was very clear,” Stringer told Brian Lehrer as he was grilled on the radio host’s program on WNYC. “That to me is more important than being mayor of New York City.”
During the show, Lehrer probed allegations made last Wednesday by Jean Kim, who worked on Stringer’s 2001 public advocate campaign.
Kim, now a lobbyist, said that the politician kissed and groped her without her consent and demanded to know why she wouldn’t have sex with him. Stringer has strenuously denied the alleged abuse took place two decades ago and has said the pair had a consensual romantic relationship over a few months.
Also in dispute is Kim’s relationship with Stringer’s public advocate campaign. Kim has said she had an intern role on the campaign. Stringer has said Kim, who was about 30 at the time, was a volunteer. He pressed that point to Lehrer.
“She did the volunteer work that hundreds of my personal friends did,” Stringer told Lehrer. “And that included giving out campaign literature, making phone calls, knocking on doors.”
He pointed to a story published Tuesday by the Intercept, an online publication, that described conflicts with elements of Kim’s narrative. The Intercept cited anonymous sources who claimed Stringer and Kim had a casual relationship.
Stringer’s path through the crowded
Democratic primary field appears to have grown more tenuous after the allegations. He already trailed frontrunner Andrew Yang and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams in polls, and he lost the support of the Working Families Party along with other high-profile endorsers.
On Tuesday, Kim filed a formal complaint with state Attorney General Letitia James’ office stemming from the alleged abuse.
The city’s Department of Investigation said Wednesday that it does not have jurisdiction over candidates running for city posts; Stringer worked in the state Assembly at the time of alleged harassment.
Mayor de Blasio said that he believed the “attorney general might be an appropriate venue” but that he doesn’t “know the nuances.”
Stringer, 61, has two sons in elementary school. And his wife, Elyse Buxbaum, stood by his side and spoke at a news conference near their lower Manhattan home last week, saying that she has “never met a man more respectful of women or more committed to women’s rights.”
On Wednesday, Stringer said the sex abuse claims have been difficult for his family and that he wants to bring his case to the public.
“We live in a society where people have a right to deny allegations,” Stringer told Lehrer. “The reason I’m on your call — the reason I’ll talk to reporters, the reason I’ll talk to just about anybody — is to bring my perspective and my sense of the event.”