New York Daily News

FIGHTING FOR HIS INTEGRITY

Stringer, in sex-harass flap, sez mayor run is 2nd to reputation

- BY TIM BALK AND MICHAEL GARTLAND

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.”

 ??  ?? City Comptrolle­r and mayoral candidate Scott Stringer (left) said Wednesday that his integrity was more important than becoming mayor during an appearance on the WNYC radio show hosted by Brian Lehrer (bottom r.). Stringer’s campaign has been buffeted since Jean Kim (below r.) accused him of sexual abuse 20 years ago.
City Comptrolle­r and mayoral candidate Scott Stringer (left) said Wednesday that his integrity was more important than becoming mayor during an appearance on the WNYC radio show hosted by Brian Lehrer (bottom r.). Stringer’s campaign has been buffeted since Jean Kim (below r.) accused him of sexual abuse 20 years ago.
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