NEW YORK (AP) – Scandal-tarnished ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer is digging into his pockets to finance his bid to become city comptroller, and information released Tuesday shows those pockets are deep.
While rival and fellow Democrat Scott Stringer released five years of his tax returns Tuesday, Spitzer declined to do likewise. But his campaign said he and his wife made about $3.8 million in 2011 and $4.3 million in taxable income last year.
Spitzer, who resigned as governor in 2008 after being identified as an escort service client, is involved in his family’s real estate business and hosted TV programs in recent years.
Stringer and his wife made about $223,000 in 2011 and $217,800 in 2012, according to his tax return. Their income comes mostly from his $160,000-a-year salary as Manhattan’s borough president.
City politicians aren’t required to make their tax returns public, but many do in the name of openness.
Stringer disclosed his because he “believes that integrity, transparency and public trust are the most important qualities for any candidate for comptroller,” spokeswoman Audrey Gelman said. The comptroller conducts audits and invests the city’s nearly $140 billion pension funds, among other responsibilities.
Republican candidate John Burnett, a former Wall Street executive, has no immediate plans to disclose his returns, his campaign said. Representatives for Libertarian contender Kristin Davis, a former madam, and Green Party hopeful Julia Willebrand, a former teacher, didn’t immediately respond to inquiries Tuesday.
Spitzer’s campaign says he won’t release his returns because they include private income information about business partnerships.
“The information he released provided the relevant data: (adjusted gross income) and taxes paid,” spokeswoman Lisa Linden said in a statement, adding that some more information would emerge in required campaign filings.
Spitzer did, however, disclose his returns when he was attorney general and governor, and they showed his state salary, his interest and dividends on securities investments and his income from commercial properties he owned with family members.
Spitzer also criticized Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney last year for not releasing his tax returns, in light of Romney’s remark that 47 percent of Americans don’t pay income tax and “are dependent on government.”
The Spitzer family’s business was built by his father, Bernard Spitzer. Its properties include several high-end apartment buildings.
Almost half of Spitzer’s income went to federal, city and state taxes last year, according to his campaign. Stringer, meanwhile, paid about 23 percent of his income in taxes, according to his return.
Stringer’s wife worked at a museum from April 2011 through this May. Spitzer’s wife founded a children’s organization but never took a salary from it.
Spitzer’s financial picture may become clearer when he files a required financial disclosure report. He missed the deadline last Thursday, days after he launched his campaign, The Wall Street Journal reported. His lawyer said the report would be filed soon.
Spitzer has said he’ll cover the cost of his campaign, which filed a finance report due Monday. The report shows no contributions, and the only outlay is $15,000 due to his spokeswoman’s public relations firm.
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