New questions are being raised about the motivation and background of Sharon Bialek following her accusation on Monday that Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain groped her 14 years ago.
One source who knows Bialek told New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser that the 50-year-old bleached-blonde single mother is a “complete gold-digger.”
Reports have also surfaced that Bialek has not held a job for more than two years and has filed for bankruptcy twice.
Peyser writes on Tuesday: “Sharon Bialek is 50, out of work, and according to one who knows her, she’s a smooth operator living way above her means.
“Enter Herman Cain.”
Describing Bialek’s appearance at a Monday press conference where she alleged that Cain acted in a “sexually inappropriate” manner when she consulted with him about a job, Peyser said she “recounted with a broad grin the night back in 1997 when she flirted like a tart with the ‘inspirational’ Mr. Cain.”
Bialek claims that after she and Cain had dinner at an Italian restaurant in Washington, D.C., he drove her to the offices of the National Restaurant Association, which he headed, and “which, as far as I know, were closed for the night,” Peyser observes.
Cain then groped her in the car, Bialek claims, and when she resisted, he said, “You want a job, right?”
Peyser weighs in: “Now, I love a good romantic farce as much as the next bored housewife. But the question remains: Why sit on this seeming sexual assault for 14 years?”
Peyser reports that “someone who knows Bialek” told the columnist: “She has a very infectious personality. It’s easy to see how she won [Cain] over. But the reality of her situation is — she’s a complete gold-digger. It’s all about the money.”
The friend added: “Most of her jobs ended in termination. It’s always the employer’s fault, not hers. This is a lady who lives off the system. She is hell-bent on finding a way of never having to work and living the lifestyle she wants to live, a very affluent lifestyle. In my next life, I want to come back as her.”
Bialek is now a suburban homemaker who lives in a large five-bedroom house in the Chicago area with her fiancé Mark Harwood, who has been dating her for several years after they met online, The Daily Mail reported.
According to the newspaper, Harwood said he did not hear about Bialek’s allegations about Cain until Friday. Bialek’s father said he did not know about his daughter’s allegation until Monday.
Bialek filed for personal bankruptcy in 1991, according to Chicago station WLS.
Between 1993 and 1996, she worked for four different companies in promotion and marketing positions. She was hired by the National Restaurant Association Education Fund in 1996 but was fired a year later.
In 1999, her son Nicholas was born, and a paternity lawsuit was filed by the father, a media executive, the station reported.
In 2001, Bialek filed for bankruptcy again, claiming $5,700 in assets and more than $36,000 in liabilities, the Chicago Tribune disclosed. Among her creditors were a management firm seeking back rent, four credit card companies, and a lawyer owed legal fees.
The Tribune also reported that Bialek accused a former boyfriend of harassing her for money he had loaned her.
In 2009, the IRS filed a tax lien against Bialek for nearly $5,200. In August, the Illinois Department of Revenue claimed Bialek owed the state more than $4,300 relating to income taxes from 2004, county records reveal.
Peyser is not the only media figure raising questions about Bialek’s story.
Fox News anchor Martha McCallum on Tuesday asked Bialek why she would take a train all the way from Chicago to Washington to meet with Cain alone, as she claims, and then have drinks with him. Bialek responded that she suggested coffee and it was Cain who suggested drinks.
The Cain campaign in a statement Monday night charged Bialek with making “false accusations” at the behest of Cain’s political opponents and says she has a “long history of severe financial difficulties.” The statement also disparaged Bialek’s attorney, Gloria Allred.
“The questions the media should be asking are who’s paying Gloria Allred’s fee, how did Ms. Bialek get introduced to Ms. Allred, and was she paid to come forward with these false accusations or was she promised employment?” the statement read in part.
Speaking of Cain’s “political opponents,” Fox News noted on Tuesday that Bialek lived for a time in the same building on Chicago’s Northlake Shore Drive as David Axelrod, who was Barack Obama’s chief strategist during his 2008 presidential campaign and is expected to play role in his 2012 re-election bid.
Bialek has said she encountered Cain again a month ago at a Chicago-area convention and “asked him if he remembered me.”
WIND radio co-host Amy Jacobson said she witnessed the encounter and told Michael Sneed of the Chicago Sun-Times:
“It all began when I took a convention break and joined my pals at the hotel bar. Sharon was drinking mimosas with them. She said she was a Republican, a Tea Party member, had once dated [White Sox sport announcer Steve Stone] and had worked at WGN radio.
“Sharon also said she was anxious to meet Cain again and had once gone to an after party with him and her boyfriend years ago. But she never mentioned he had sexually harassed her.”
According to Sneed, when Bialek met Cain at the convention “they hugged each other backstage in a full embrace like old friends. She grabbed his arm and whispered in his left ear. She kept talking as he bent to listen, and he kept saying, ‘Uh huh. Uh huh.’”
Said Jacobson: “It looked sort of flirtatious.”
She added that on Monday, “I turned on the TV to find out who was Cain’s accuser, and I almost fell over when I saw it was Sharon Bialek accusing Cain of groping her. I was shocked.”
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