ELIZABETH, N.J. - When it comes to finding work, Jim McGreevey is "radioactive," an employment expert testified yesterday during the former New Jersey governor's divorce trial.
The witness, Donna Kolsky, said the gay sex scandal that toppled McGreevey's administration in 2004 and his messy divorce had made him so toxic that potential employers gasped when his name was mentioned.
The testimony in state Superior Court in Union County came during the second phase of McGreevey's divorce trial, when the judge will decide on alimony, child support, and how the former governor and Dina Matos McGreevey should divide their assets and liabilities. The couple have agreed on custody of their only child, 6-year-old Jacqueline.
McGreevey, who is taking classes at an Episcopal seminary, is trying to convince Judge Karen M. Cassidy he is too poor to pay alimony. His estranged wife says the payments should be based in part on his "marital conduct," including an alleged gay affair.
The McGreeveys, who married in 2000, split months after he announced his resignation on national TV in a speech in which he declared himself "a gay American" and said he'd had an affair with a male staff member. The employee, Golan Cipel, denies the affair and says the governor sexually harassed him.
Matos McGreevey, 41, wants McGreevey, 50, to pay for the lifestyle she would have enjoyed had he not resigned 13 months before the end of his first term.
McGreevey yesterday detailed that lifestyle, which included the use of state police helicopters, household staff, personal security, and two beach homes.
His lawyer Stephen Haller rejected Matos McGreevey's contention that she should receive compensation for loss of those perks.
"She is no more entitled today to have a state trooper drive her to work and her child to day care than I am," Haller said.
Earlier in the day, McGreevey said that his wife had paid for their wedding in Washington, but that he couldn't recall who paid for their honeymoon in Rome.
"Dina handled the wedding arrangements and the wedding trip, and to a large extent she handled the honeymoon," McGreevey said.
He testified the couple's lifestyle while he was governor was paid for mostly by others, chiefly taxpayers.
Kolsky was called to bolster McGreevey's contention that his spectacular political fall and extensive media coverage of his divorce have left him unable to find work except through friends. She estimated his earning potential at $118,000 a year.
Kolsky said McGreevey was no longer qualified to practice law or work in the pharmaceutical industry because it had been years since he had done either.
"The ability of Mr. McGreevey to find a job without contacts is greatly diminished," said Kolsky, who conducted job searches for him last year.
John Post, who represents Matos McGreevey, said income tax returns show solid earnings in McGreevey's post-gubernatorial years. McGreevey earned $185,000 last year, according to his tax returns.
Matos McGreevey is asking the court to award her additional money based on the contention that McGreevey committed marriage fraud. She says she was duped into marrying 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.
Since their split, McGreevey and his wife have each written tell-all books about their life together and fallout from the sex scandal.
Although book proceeds boosted his income to $429,000 in 2006, McGreevey said he owed a prior divorce lawyer at least $116,000 and had not paid his first wife any child support this year.
He said he relied on boyfriend Mark O'Donnell to pay legal bills and lifestyle expenses, lived in O'Donnell's house in Plainfield, and owed O'Donnell money.