Saturday, May 25, 2013

Less than forthright Anthony Weiner now claims he did not attend sex-addict rehab

Anthony Weiner has apologized to the press and to the public for misleading everyone about being hacked to cover up sexting relationships with up to six women. But now that he is officially running for NYC mayor, perhaps some reporters should start questioning why the former Congressman spent much of the last two years being less than forthcoming with the press and public.

For the last two years, Weiner essentially dodged the media and allowed many false stories to percolate, which appears to be for his own benefit or myth-making. There doesn't seem to be any evidence that Weiner sought therapy after leaving Congress - even though he was engaging in reckless online relationships dating to the beginning of his marriage, and even though he admits he had no way of knowing if all his online paramours were over the age of twenty-one. He and his wife did a People magazine spread and he gave sporadic soundbites to make it seem like he was working out marriage problems, yet he's bragged that his wife didn't even want him to quit his congressional job in the first place. And he and his wife have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars consulting for clients, many of whom seem to have ties to the Clintons.

What exactly are the "tough lessons" that Anthony Weiner learned? That it's possible to come back after a sex scandal if you avoid and mislead the press and public for two years, but use your political connections to cash in? Weiner went from living in the outer boroughs to a pricey Manhattan apartment that he had no way of affording in 2011. Did the landlord - who is also linked to the Clintons - just trust that Weiner would score lots of loot with a consulting firm he kept secret and ignore the fact that the rent was more than his wife made in a year at her job?

A month ago, Elizabeth A. Harris reported for The New York Times on April 23, 2013, that the Weiners were "paying the going rate for their apartment, where they moved a few months after he resigned from office, swept from Washington by a tidal wave of embarrassment and some exceptionally revealing Twitter posts," but "declined to provide proof of their rent, like a lease or canceled check."

"Some Weiner-watchers are stunned that the pol, who gave up his $174,000 salary when he resigned, and Huma, who makes around $155,000 annually, can afford the posh pad at 254 Park Ave. South at East 20th Street," Jeane Macintosh, Jennifer Gould Keil and Josh Margolin reported for The New York Post on August 13, 2012.

The State Department and President Obama defended Weiner's wife in the summer of 2012 after GOP Congress members questioned her alleged familial ties to Muslim Brotherhood, but no one told the press or public about her "new working arrangement", I reported a few days ago.

"Ms. Abedin reached her new working arrangement in June 2012, when she returned from maternity leave, quietly leaving her position as deputy chief of staff and becoming a special government employee, which is essentially a consultant," Raymond Hernandez reported for The New York Times on May 16, 2013. "A State Department official said that change freed her from the requirement that she disclose her private earnings for the rest of the year on her financial disclosure forms. Still, during that period, she continued to be identified publicly in news reports as Mrs. Clinton’s deputy chief of staff."

At a July 18, 2012 daily press briefing, the Acting Deputy Spokesperson and Director of the Press Office Patrick Ventrell was asked a question by a reporter who specifically referred to Abedin as Deputy Chief of Staff, but he didn't correct him.

Republican Senator John McCain defended Huma Abedin in a speech on the Senate floor on July 18, 2012, and - as a result - The New York Times published multiple stories online and in the paper about Huma Abedin, three of which that wrongly referred to Weiner's wife as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's current deputy chief of staff.

Four more articles about Huma Abedin which unknowingly wrongfully reported she was still Deputy Chief of Staff were published in The New York Times that summer, but apparently no one in the State Department or Weiner and Clinton households informed the paper about the new "working arrangement," even though all have a history of reacting rather quickly to complain about factually incorrect errors.

A few weeks ago I reported that the NY Post apparently misreported Weiner went to a Florida sex addiction clinic in July of 2011, when evidence suggests he actually was on a work trip for a client. Weiner did absolutely nothing to alert the press that the reporting was wrong, and the Post story spread across the media, creating the impression that Weiner was taking his therapy seriously.

Weiner apparently snagged Parabel as a client within two weeks after incorporating his firm, since he appeared to be doing homework on the way back from his reported sex addiction clinic trip. However, the New York Post story - which many media organizations unquestionably reported - assuming Weiner visited Florida in July of 2011 for therapeutic reasons related to the scandal appears to be wrong.

"A Post reporter spotted Weiner on Wednesday night flying first-class from Orlando to La Guardia Airport on a Delta flight, carrying nothing but his iPad and several documents," Josh Margolin, Brigitte Stelzer and Dan Mangan reported for the New York Post on July 22, 2011. "Orlando is near the Winter Park, Fla., offices of the New Leaf Center, which on its Web site says it provides outpatient therapy for sexual addiction and sexual compulsivity issues, including for 'politicians.' Staff there asked a reporter to leave when he asked about Weiner yesterday."

Although part of the headline for the 7/22/11 exclusive New York Post was called "Weiner in Therapy," the tabloid never actually proved that Weiner's trip to Florida was to visit a sex addiction clinic. And there doesn't even seem to be any definitive proof Weiner spent all that much time in therapy, or even saw a doctor after leaving Congress and starting his firm just weeks later.

"It is unclear where Weiner is undergoing therapy -- and whether it's simply as an outpatient on a shrink's couch or involves more intensive therapy at a special clinic," the Post actually reported, about the 7/20/11 flight that photographer Brigitte Stelzer happened to catch Weiner on. The photograph oddly didn't show Weiner's face, as if he was embarrassed being captured on the trip, and it's strange that one showing his face wasn't used instead.

A long, but mostly non-informative ten-page April 14, 2013 story in The New York Times magazine - that read like a P.R. piece - claimed that "Weiner started seeing a therapist almost immediately after the scandal broke." Weiner presumably revealed to Jonathan Van Meter that the only doctor he visited was in New York, since he wouldn't have been able to sneak out-of-state during the height of Weinergate.

"Therapy wasn’t something that came naturally to me," Weiner told Van Meter. "I am this middle-class guy from Brooklyn, the men in our family don’t hug each other, we don’t talk about our feelings. It wasn’t a comfortable place to be. And now I start sentences with, 'My therapist says....'"

Strikingly, Van Meter begins the next paragraph with, "What does your therapist say? I asked the next time we met," but Weiner responds in the past tense: "It’s none of the easy stuff. She didn’t tell me: 'You have a sex addiction! You were abused as a child!' None of that stuff, which in a lot of ways, I’d kind of prefer.' He laughed. "It’s an easy explanation that people intuitively get."

Another sentence uses the present tense to report that Weiner was "in therapy," but there doesn't seem to be any definitive proof that the potential mayoral candidate even saw a doctor after leaving Congress.

The corporate offices for Parabel Inc. are located at 1901 S. Harbor City Blvd. in Melbourne, Florida, so Weiner might have actually been on an all-business trip when Stelzer happened to catch him on an Orlando-to-New York flight. That's only about a 60 mile distance or an hour's drive from the airport in Orlando.

At the New York Post, caustic columnist Andrea Peyser wrote on May 24, 2013, "Weiner told me Wednesday, without hesitation, that he did not attend sex-addict rehab but only met with a therapist in Texas for three or four days. But when a reporter asked him about that assertion, he denied it."

"'First of all, I did go, so I don’t know what you’re talking about,' he said. He identified the rehab facility — which he swore he never attended — as the Gabbard Center in Houston.

"I went there to visit with some doctors at a facility there. Some psychiatrists. To try to get some help."

But he wouldn’t give his diagnosis, or describe his treatment, though he denied taking medication to treat his psycho need to strip and send.

What else is he not telling us? Or flat-out fibbing about?
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The New York Daily News reported on May 23, 2013 that "Weiner gave new details of the frantic, humiliating days when he resigned from Congress in June 2011 with a promise that he would seek 'professional treatment to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person.'"

Jonathan Lemire continued, "At the time, political sources said he would seek an evaluation of his compulsive behavior and sexual urges." But Weiner appears to only be talking about what he did in June before resigning from Congress. These "new details" again seem to suggest that Weiner spent no time in therapy after quitting, and instead spent most of his time building a bankroll so he could live in Manhattan with his wife and newborn.

"Weiner revealed Wednesday that he went to the Gabbard Center in Houston, a psychiatric facility that specializes in intensive “three-day outpatient psychiatric evaluations,” according to its website.

'It wasn’t an addiction thing,' he told The News. 'I mean, it was just a place to get away and to meet people ... who might be able to help.'

He did not reveal the diagnosis he received, but called his clinic stay the beginning of 'a journey' to becoming a 'new man.'
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In her original column on May 23, Peyser wrote, "Weiner now admits he did not attend sex-addict rehab."

"I didn’t go to rehab anywhere," Weiner told Peyser. "A couple of days I worked with a therapist in Texas I was referred to. Two days, twice, for a total of four days. Or, it might have been three."

It's curious that Weiner denies ever needing sex addiction treatment, even though he continued to recklessly sext women he never met in real life, despite the fact that he knew conservative trolls were monitoring his online actions. And Weiner continues to use his wife as a prop for his political ambitions, yet there's no evidence that they ever even spoke to a marriage counselor.

"First, there was the decision to resign," Weiner told The New York Times magazine in April. "Huma didn’t really want me to, frankly. But I just had to cull that part of the conversation out of our lives and focus on my marriage, my family, her family. I just didn’t have any bandwidth. My career seemed the least important of all of those other things. That wasn’t easy for Huma. Her frame was: We’ve gotta get back to normal somehow."

Starting a firm weeks after quitting a job - that he claims his wife didn't want him to quit - and saying nothing while the media incorrectly reported he went to a sex addiction clinic, seems at odds with the official Weiner story so far.

Even New Yorkers who forgive Weiner may wonder why he appears to think that he wasn't in need of more therapy or counseling.

And if Weiner doesn't reveal who the other women he sexted with are, then how can the public allay fears that no one might try to blackmail him?

But as long as critics waste their time cracking sophomoric dick jokes instead of asking deeper questions, Weiner will probably be able to avoid talking directly about anything that happened before, during and after the Weinergate scandal.

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