ALBANY, N.Y. – Carl McCall's running mate for lieutenant governor, Dennis Mehiel, admitted yesterday that he fathered two out-of-wedlock children, with two different women, while married to his first wife.
The bombshell revelation - prompted by Mehiel's knowledge that The Post was about to break the story - came two weeks before Mehiel and McCall face separate Democratic primary elections against Charles King and Andrew Cuomo.
"I've never tried to conceal anything . . . I love all my children very much," said Mehiel, 60, a multimillionaire Westchester businessman who has refused for weeks to disclose details about his children.
Mehiel - who said last week "everything is fair game in a political campaign" - said he fathered his first out-of-wedlock child in 1993, a year after he and his first wife separated for good.
Mehiel said his second out-of-wedlock child was born several years later and that he divorced his first wife in 1999. Mehiel, who vowed to stay in the lieutenant governor's race, said he married his second wife, Karen Agueros Mehiel, in 2001.
Mehiel sought to blame Cuomo's campaign for leaking the story, although Cuomo strongly denied the charge.
"This is an outrageous diversion attempt. We're not even running against Dennis Mehiel and we had nothing to do with his personal issues," insisted Cuomo spokesman Peter Ragone.
State Comptroller McCall, who is hoping that Mehiel will be able to help bankroll his campaign if both are victorious in the Sept. 10 primary, issued a statement standing by Mehiel.
"The comptroller knows that Dennis Mehiel is the most qualified candidate for lieutenant governor and he has Carl's complete support," said a spokesman.
King declined to comment.
Fathering out-of-wedlock children has damaged political figures such as state Sen. Guy Velella.
"It is more explosive now because of Carl McCall's use of Mehiel in his television commercials, and because not only did McCall pick him as his running mate, but he has spoken highly of him as well," said Marist College polling director Lee Miringoff.