2007_05_corzinekatz.jpgThe past few weeks, we've learned a lot about NJ Governor Jon Corzine. He doesn't wear a seatbelt, he wears track suits, and he paid his ex-girlfriend, who happened to be NJ's top union chief, a $6 million settlement after they broke up. Oh, yes: The NY Times has an extensive article about Corzine's relationship with Carla Katz, a union president.

Though their relationship began and ended while Corzine was a senator, questions about conflicts of interest were raised when he became governor, especially news that he had loaned Katz almost a half million dollars. And now the Times reveals that when they broke up in 2004, Corzine gave Katz a settlement worth $6 million, based on information from Katz's union colleagues and lawyers:

The package was said to include a trust to pay for Ms. Katz’s two children, now 12 and 15, to attend college and a 2005 Volvo sport utility vehicle that cost about $30,000, neither of which had previously been reported. Mr. Corzine also gave — and then forgave — Ms. Katz a $470,000 loan, the value of a mortgage, so she could buy her ex-husband out of their Hunterdon County home. She also received a lump sum of cash that she used to buy a $1.1 million condominium in November, among other things.

...[In the summer of 2004] when Gov. James E. McGreevey announced his resignation, Mr. Corzine instantly became the favorite to succeed him. The couple was in the midst of breaking up, one former confidante and colleague said, and Ms. Katz threatened to stage a news conference designed to embarrass Mr. Corzine, but soon calmed down.

After several months of detailed discussion by their lawyers, the parties agreed on the financial package in November 2004. It remains unclear what, if anything, Ms. Katz provided in exchange.

Corzine and Katz had lived together for two years in his Hoboken apartment, though there were plans to "transform her historic house in Hunterdon County into a manor home of more than 10,000 square feet (post-breakup, it was scaled back to 3,200 square feet)." Seriously, NJ governors are the best!

The Times article also includes a quote from former U.S. Senator Robert Torricelli, who says, "As two bright people who have active minds, I think there was a real expectation on the part of the both of them that it would lead to a permanent relationship." What's funny is that a NY magazine article from 2005 offered this, "A few people close to Corzine believe that Torricelli engineered the coupling" as a way for Torricelli to control Corzine.

The Star-Ledger says that Corzine "dropped a bomb" of his own by saying the military practice range in Warren Grove, whose soldiers caused the massive fire earlier this week, would be shut down because it's a threat to safety.