(CNSNews.com) - For a period of time in 2000-2001, when Rudy Giuliani was mayor of New York City and married to another woman, his "very good friend" Judith Nathan received police protection 12 hours a day, seven days a week, which cost the city about $200,000 per year - in addition to the security provided for his wife and children at the mayor's mansion.
That practice was called "bizarre" by another former New York mayor on Friday, and a political analyst said the revelation might endanger Giuliani's frontrunner status for the GOP's 2008 presidential nomination because it could remind voters of the candidate's "very messy private life."
Giuliani served as the top official in the nation's largest city from 1994 through 2001. During that time, he was married to former TV personality Donna Hanover, who is the mother of their son Andrew and daughter Caroline.
Giuliani reportedly met Judith Nathan - an executive for a pharmaceutical company - in May 1999, and their "friendship" grew. At the same time, the mayor was still married and living with his second wife, Hanover.
On Jan. 13, 2000, the New York Daily News reported that Nathan was receiving police protection because she had been threatened by an unidentified man. The mayor's office and the Intelligence Division of the police department were informed about the incident, according to the Daily News .
Bernard Kerik, the police commissioner at the time, said: "They deemed her story credible. They deemed that it was in fact, or could be, a possible threat and recommended an investigation to try and locate the person."
Giuliani at the time, according to the Daily News , criticized reporters for asking about the taxpayer-funded protection given to Nathan. "I would really urge some decency, some restraint, some respect for people's privacy," said Giuliani. "I think you should all be ashamed of yourselves."
Four months later and soon after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, Giuliani called a press conference to state that he intended to separate from Hanover, who was not told in advance about the announcement. The mayor then moved out of Gracie Mansion and into an apartment belonging to two homosexual friends before filing for divorce that October.
On Jan. 12, 2001, the New York Post reported that the detail guarding Nathan was increased from one to two detectives after a passer-by saw her on the street, walked up to her and said, "Hey, I know you. You're the mayor's girlfriend."
The encounter was perceived as a potential security breach, and a second detective was assigned to protect Nathan.
The two officers - who received base annual salaries of about $80,000 each - accompanied Nathan from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., a 12-hour shift with built-in overtime that brought each detective's pay to at least $100,000, or a total of more than $200,000 for the year.
"It was unclear why Nathan doesn't have security overnight," the Post reported, but "she presumably spends some of that time with Giuliani, who has his own large security contingent."
That situation ended when Giuliani's second term as mayor expired at the start of 2002. He and Hanover settled their divorce the following July, when he paid her a $6.8 million settlement and granted her custody of their children.
The former mayor then married Nathan on May 24, 2003, in a ceremony officiated by his successor, Republican Michael Bloomberg.
'Debate day dirty trick'
Although Giuliani has been running for president for the past year, the issue of security for Nathan did not emerge on a national level until Wednesday, when Politico.com ran a story reporting that obscure city agencies had been billed for thousands of dollars in security expenses for 11 trips the mayor had made outside the city in the summer of 2001 to visit her.
During the GOP debate in St. Petersburg, Fla., that night, the party frontrunner said that the story is "not true," and he had nothing to do with the way security officers handled their record keeping during his eight years as mayor. "And they were handled, as far as I know, perfectly appropriately."
Then, in an interview with CBS News anchor Katie Couric, Giuliani said the story was "a debate day dirty trick" that didn't take into consideration the fact that "the police department would sometimes be slow in payment. City Hall would pay it first, then the police department would reimburse every single penny of it."
"It's a typical political hit job with only half the story told," he added.
Nevertheless, calls to the Giuliani campaign by Cybercast News Service seeking an explanation as to why taxpayers were required to pay for a security detail for Judith Nathan when she was not married to the mayor and the mayor was married to someone else were not returned by press time.
But that didn't prevent other politicians and analysts from commenting on the issue.
Ed Koch, who served as mayor of New York City from 1978 to 1989, told the Huffington Post that the situation gave the appearance that Giuliani was trying to hide an affair with his future wife and that arranging personal protection when she was not a member of the family constituted an even more flagrant misuse of taxpayer money.
"That was bizarre," he said. "She's not the city's responsibility. Rudy is the city's responsibility. Your wife and children get protection, and that's understood - but certainly not your lady friend."
Koch admitted that he's not a fan of Giuliani even though he supported the GOP frontrunner's campaign for mayor in 1993. "I'm just amazed that Giuliani is doing as well as he's doing," the Democrat said. "He doesn't deserve it."
However, Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, told Cybercast News Service on Friday that the issue could have a serious impact on how well Giuliani does in the future.
"It's coming out at the worst possible time for Rudy Giuliani, just as voters in Iowa and New Hampshire are beginning to make up their minds finally," Sabato said. "It reinforces his biggest problem, which is not just his liberal positions on social issues, but also the fact that he's had a very messy private life."
Make media inquiries or request an interview with Randy Hall.
Subscribe to the free CNSNews.com daily E-brief.
E-mail a comment or news tip to Randy Hall.
Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.