The comeback kid for comptroller hasn't even won yet and he's already taking right hooks to the jaw from Wall Street big wigs. Disgraced former Gov. Eliot Spitzer was sued on Friday evening by Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, the former chairman of American International Group, for defamation.
From the perspective of this lawsuit filed in New York state Supreme Court in Putnam County, Spitzer has spent the last eight years "a long-standing malicious campaign ... to discredit Mr. Greenberg and damage Mr. Greenberg’s reputation and career, while attempting to bolster Mr. Spitzer’s own reputation and career," according to the New York Daily News.
But the lawsuit would also like to remind the court of Spitzer's personal shortcomings, because those are relevant, too. Like, the hooker scandal that caused Spitzer to resign as governor, which is one of Spitzer's "numerous acts of moral turpitude," according to Greenberg's suit, per the Wall Street Journal. "The suit also lists Mr. Greenberg's philanthropic contributions," the paper reports.
"This lawsuit is frivolous," Spitzer said in a statement emailed to reporters Friday night. He also cited a recent New York court ruling as evidence this lawsuit has no merit.
Greenberg resigned from AIG in 2005 over corruption charges led by Spitzer, who was the state attorney general at that time. The following year, AIG paid $1.64 billion to settle federal and state investigations into its businesses.
But the former Wall Street fat cat's vendetta against Spitzer is only just getting started. One of Greenberg's senior advisers told the Journal that his boss "will get involved" in the campaign against Spitzer, "at the appropriate time." There's no indication what he means by this, exactly.
Spitzer's opponent for comptroller, Scott Stringer, has not commented on earning the possible support of a disgraced former Wall Street titan while running for the city position that's meant to police Wall Street titans. Seems like a great career move. The Spitzer campaign can't wait.
But until then, the show must go on. And the Spitzer campaign really has been a show so far. While Spitzer's dutiful supporters were out getting the necessary amount of signatures to get on the ballot, he led a controversial media blitz all week, appearing on any and every show that asked.
Last night, Spitzer made a campaign stop on the other site of the country, in Burbank, California, to chat with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show. Speaking about pressure he faced from Wall Street guys who hated how tough Spitzer was during his previous political career, the candidate shared a new anecdote. It seems Spitzer and his wife were out recently when a former AIG executive "came up to me, started screaming at me in the middle of this public event," he told Leno, without naming names. Funny coincidence, that.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.