Newsom to pay Tourk's salary from own pocket
Mayor Gavin Newsom
Former Deputy Chief of Staff and Newsom campaign manager Alex
By Tamara Barak, Bay City News
February 8, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom
will pay former campaign manager Alex Tourk a $15,000-a-month
salary out of his own pocket until Tourk secures another job,
a spokesman for Tourk's attorney said today.
Newsom decided to personally fund Tourk's financial settlement
Wednesday evening, according to Sam Singer, spokesman for attorney
"The Newsom campaign attorney said the campaign finance
law is unclear whether the campaign could make payments to Alex
Tourk so Newsom decided the most appropriate way to fulfill his
commitment was to personally pay any remaining salary to Mr. Tourk,"
resigned Jan. 31 after confronting the mayor about having
an affair Newsom had with his wife, Ruby Rippey-Tourk. At that
time, Newsom agreed to continue to pay Tourk's salary, according
Since his resignation, there was a question of where to get the
money to pay Tourk. As campaign manager, Tourk's salary had been
paid out of Newsom's re-election budget.
The city attorney's office also investigated whether it was legal
for a candidate to continue to pay a staff member after the employee
resigns and concluded that it may or may not be legal depending
on the circumstances, said Jim Sutton, attorney for the Newsom
But Sutton said input into the payment question from the city's
Ethics Commission and the city attorney was "incomplete and
wrong" and in no way influenced Newsom's decision to pay
Tourk out of his own pocket.
"We didn't see the Ethics Commission or city attorney analysis
until we had already researched the legal issues and figured out
it's not that straightforward," Sutton said.
Sutton said that although there was never a commitment to use
campaign funds to continue to pay Tourk, the mayor had made a
personal promise to continue Tourk's salary.
"It's an unclear legal question and it's such a unique situation,
it doesn't fit neatly into the campaign laws," Sutton said.
"The mayor decided, 'You know what? I don't care what the
law says. The simplest and most appropriate action is to personally
pay Mr. Tourk.'"
Tourk has not yet received any payment since resigning, Singer
The day after Tourk's resignation, the mayor admitted to the
affair with Rippey-Tourk at a news conference at San Francisco
City Hall. On Monday, the mayor announced he would seek treatment
for alcohol abuse.
Newsom reportedly had the brief affair when Rippey-Tourk served
as his appointments secretary, some time between 2004 and last
Singer said Tourk's unemployment period will likely be very short.
He has been on "numerous interviews" this week and has
more scheduled for next week.
"He's a highly-respected and talented young man," Singer
said. "He has a number of offers in hand and is weighing
his next steps."
Tourk has been interviewing for positions with corporations,
non-profit organizations and non-governmental agencies as well
as for political consulting jobs, Singer said.
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