New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner's campaign has been upset again by media inquiries into a relationship he allegedly had some years back with a congressional and campaign aide nearly 20 years younger.
Weiner spokeswoman Barbara Morgan acknowledged to The New York Observer's Politicker
that the former congressman had "a personal relationship" with former staffer Dolev Azaria before he married Huma Abedin, an aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. But she insisted the relationship "was appropriate at all times."
Nonetheless, the allegations of an inappropriate office relationship added to the problems already plaguing Weiner's mayoral campaign that center on the sexting scandal that forced him to resign from Congress in 2011.
According to the Observer, Weiner was 42 at the time his alleged relationship with Azaria began. She was reportedly 24.
In addition to Morgan telling the Observer that nothing inappropriate had happened between the two, an attorney for Azaria sent the Observer a cease-and-desist letter saying she "vehemently denies" a romantic relationship with Weiner.
"Anthony was my boss and a mentor and we remain friends to this day. There was never anything inappropriate about our relationship. I’m saddened that rumors to the contrary would imply anything else," Azaria said in a statement Thursday.
Former Weiner congressional aides, however, described the relationship as "a badly-kept secret," complete with flirting and other office behavior they described as inappropriate, according to the Observer.
"You’d have to be an idiot to not know what was going on," said one ex-Weiner aide, while another said, "It was a known secret in the office."
The relationship reportedly began some time before 2006 and continued into 2008, when Weiner began dating Amedin, the unidentified aides and other sources told the Observer.
"I think the notion of a member of Congress having a relationship with his staffer does not fit the bill of somebody making smart decisions about how he’s running an office and how he’s going to carry on in public life," said one of the paper's sources. "It is a thing when the boss is having a relationship with a staffer and attempting to keep it a secret from anyone. That’s not appropriate and I think not something that represents smart, sound judgment."
According to the Observer, Azaria continued to work for Weiner briefly after he left Congress. Morgan said because she was "responsible for shutting down an entire campaign and many tasks related to Anthony’s official duties, such as arranging for storage of official papers, taking care of expenditures and contributions, and other administrative functions."
"They remain friends and Dolev attended Anthony’s wedding," Morgan added in an email to the Observer Thursday night. "Unsourced election year gossip notwithstanding, their relationship was appropriate at all times.”
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