ELIZABETH, N.J. – The nation's first openly gay governor was back in court Thursday, testifying for a second day as he tries to convince a judge he is too poor to pay alimony to his estranged wife.
Former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey testified Wednesday that he has limited income, few assets and significant debts. He said he is all but unemployable because of the gay sex scandal that toppled his administration and ongoing publicity in his messy divorce.
"Because of this case, I have been financially crippled," McGreevey told the judge.
McGreevey, 50, stepped down 13 months before his first term was to end, announcing in a nationally televised speech that he was "a gay American." He said he had an affair with a male staffer while married to Dina Matos McGreevey. The staffer denies the affair and says he was sexually harassed by the governor.
Now an Episcopal seminary student, McGreevey said he owes a prior divorce lawyer at least $116,000 and has not paid his first ex-wife any child support this year. He said he relies on boyfriend Mark O'Donnell to pay legal bills and lifestyle expenses. He lives in a house owned by O'Donnell and said he owes O'Donnell money.
Matos McGreevey wants alimony, and is asking the judge to base the payments, at least in part, on McGreevey's "marital conduct," including his alleged adulterous gay relationship.
McGreevey lawyer Stephen Haller said the couple's "short-term marriage" does not qualify for her for alimony. They split in 2004 after four years of marriage.
Matos McGreevey, 41, is a hospital executive, but she is slated to lose her job next month when the hospital closes.
Her lawyer, John Post, accused McGreevey of underestimating his earning potential.
The judge said employment expert Donna Kolsky will testify Thursday afternoon. She is expected to testify that McGreevey could earn a maximum of $118,000 from teaching and consulting. Matos McGreevey earns about $82,000 a year at the hospital.
The couple is fighting over alimony, child support, and how to divide their assets and liabilities. They have agreed on custody of their only child, 6-year-old Jacqueline.
Matos McGreevey is asking the court to award her alimony and additional money based on the contention that McGreevey committed marriage fraud. She says she was duped into marriage by a gay man who needed the cover of a wife to advance his political career.
McGreevey says his wife should have known he was gay.