In turnabout, ex-NY Gov. Spitzer releases returns

In turnabout, ex-NY Gov. Spitzer releases tax returns; he'd been pressured by NYC opponent

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Scandal-lashed former Gov. Eliot Spitzer released some of his tax returns Wednesday, after taking heat for declining to disclose them as he runs for the city's top financial office.

The tax forms, plus a required financial disclosure form he filed Wednesday, flesh out a picture of the lucrative careers Spitzer has nurtured in television and real estate since he resigned the governorship amid a prostitution scandal in 2008.

The Democrat's campaign had disclosed two years of his multimillion-dollar income and tax totals on Tuesday, showing he and his wife made more than $8 million in the last two years.

But the campaign had said the tax forms were off-limits because they had private information about business partnerships. Spitzer works for the real estate business his father founded, and the former governor owns part of family holdings that include Fifth Avenue apartment buildings.

City politicians don't have to show the public their tax returns, but many do in the name of transparency.

Spitzer released his while he was governor and attorney general, showing his considerable income from family properties at the time. And he blasted Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for not releasing his tax returns last year, in light of Romney's remark that 47 percent of Americans don't pay income tax and "are dependent on government."

His current Democratic rival, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, released his returns Tuesday and urged Spitzer to do so. Two Stringer supporters, city Councilman Brad Lander and State Sen. Gustavo Rivera, convened a conference call with reporters Wednesday to press the issue, noting that Spitzer had trumpeted ethics and accountability while in state government.

Spitzer's campaign said only that it was releasing the tax returns because of media inquiries.

The documents include only his federal 1040 forms for 2011 and last year, not any attachments detailing interest, deductions and so on.

The tax forms show about 60 percent of his income comes from real estate rentals and partnerships. He has stepped up his involvement in the family business in recent years, acquiring stakes in four of its Manhattan buildings in 2010, according to the financial disclosure form he filed with the city Conflicts of Interest Board on Wednesday, after missing a deadline days into his campaign last week.

But Spitzer also made at least $500,000 last year from a contract with CNN for his former TV show there, and at least $66,000 more from other broadcasting, writing and speaking gigs, according to the disclosure form, which uses number ranges instead of exact figures. The highest range is simply "$500,000 or over."

His wife, Silda Wall Spitzer, works for an investment firm.

Stringer released more detailed tax forms covering five years. Spokeswoman Audrey Gelman said he would keep pressing Spitzer to do the same, calling Spitzer's release "a non-disclosure disclosure."

Stringer and his wife made about $218,000 last year, mainly from his government salary, according to his tax return.

Republican candidate John Burnett, a former Wall Street executive who got the Conservative Party's endorsement Wednesday, has decided to release his tax forms, a spokesman said.

Representatives for Libertarian contender Kristin Davis, a former madam, and Green Party hopeful Julia Willebrand, a former teacher, haven't immediately responded to inquiries about their tax form plans.

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