NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- After more than a week of dissembling and stonewalling, Westchester County Executive Candidate Senator George Latimer came as close as he has to admitting what many know and he had up until recently denied — a long-running affair with New Rochelle City Court Judge Susan Kettner.
The statement came during a taping of a News12 debate against his opponent incumbent Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. The debate is expected to air on the cable channel on November 1st.
“I’m Not a Perfect Man,” said Latimer, when Astorino raised the issue of his skipping an important budget vote in the Senate last April to go on vacation in London. Talk of the Sound has since reported that Latimer told Senate leadership he was taking his wife on the trip but took his girlfriend instead.
Was Latimer admitting to the affair with Kettner? Misleading Senate leadership as to why he asked to be excused from the April 9th budget vote? His car crash over the summer? Not paying taxes on a house in Rye listed under his wife’s name? Not paying his parking tickets in Yonkers? The three months suspension of the registration on his Jeep? Some of it? All of it?
While there is plenty of wiggle room for Latimer to play off the remark as something other than an admission of the affair, sources who were in the room tell Talk of the Sound it was a breathless moment during the debate when Latimer appeared to be admitting to the affair. Perhaps News12 will release this clip of video from the debate on an upcoming news broadcast so voters can see for themselves.
The statement came as Talk of the Sound was preparing to publish numerous social media postings, including photographs, that provide further evidence of what has long been known among Westchester’s political and media elite.
While there may still be a few “bitter-enders” among die-hard supporters of George Latimer who still want to believe that their candidate meant it when he told the Daily Voice, that he and his wife have been “happily married” for 30 years but his statement and the social media posts and photographs in this article should put an end to most of the claims that the Latimer-Kettner affair was a made-up smear fabricated by his opponent.
In New Rochelle, it has never even been a question of whether Senator George Latimer and Judge Susan Kettner have been in a relationship over the past decade. Speaking with Democrats over the past week many said they understood from Latimer that he was “separated” from his wife, many said they believed he was “divorced”, some believed he just never had a family. All said that Latimer and Kettner have been understood to be a “couple” for many years. And most voters in New Rochelle did not care — electing Latimer to the State Senate and, before that to the State Assembly ,and electing Kettner as New Rochelle City Court Judge.
For most voters a relationship between the married Latimer and his girlfriend Susan Kettner was a private matter. That was no longer the case when Latimer himself, inexplicably, given the reality, made the issue of his marital fidelity a campaign issue (see, Hart, Gary). Latimer claimed without foundation that the Astorino campaign was attempting to use the “rumor” of his relationship with Kettner as part of a smear campaign while the opposite was the case, the part about the affair was true and the part about Astorino using it against him was false. About as poorly executed a pre-emptive political strike as voters are going to see.
The reality is that a news tip from a New Rochelle resident and reader led to the Talk of the Story about Latimer’s car crash over the summer which opened up Pandora’s box — that he was going to Kettner’s house when he crashed, that he was not driving his own car because his car had a suspended registration due to nonpayment of parking violations in Yonkers. His denials of the Kettner relationship and his numerous attacks on this writer opened up the issue of his affair with Kettner for which, readers now know, there is ample evidence.
Latimer continued to try to use the issue he raised about his own marital fidelity (or lack thereof) to attack Astorino in the press and during the recent Fios1News/Journal News debate at Iona College, where Latimer accused Astorino of “attacking his personal life”, a charge Astorino dismissed with a bemused shake of the head, “no”.
Without specifically denying the relationship or that he went with Kettner for a week vacation to London after telling Senate leadership and his fellow Democrats that he had to skip three major budget votes on April 9th because he was taking his wife to London, Latimer grew increasingly combative over the issue after the debate when Talk of the Sound asked Latimer why he was excused by leadership from voting on the budget bills on April 9th and where he was when the vote took place.
"I was excused as one of five members who indicated to leadership that I would be unable to be in Albany after April 7th. The due date of the budget is March 31st. I was there midnight, overnight, the 31st, I was there the first. They said we would go back to our districts, we went back to our districts, we were called back, we were released on Wednesday of that week whatever date that was (April 5th). When we were released we were told at the time we probably wouldn’t finalize the budget until the end of the month. I read a blog post that said ‘Oh my God, they’re going to renegotiate after all’. I called leadership and said you told me that uh I told you I would not exactly be available for that vote on that date and they said ‘you’re excused’. Five members in total were excused. All of this highlighted this well in advance."
Asked again by Talk of the Sound, “And where were you?”
Latimer tersely replied, “That’s not your business. That’s personal business.”
According to a report in the Albany Times-Union, the five excused members were Republicans Phil Boyle of the 4th Senate District who was on a planned trip to Israel, Robert G. Ortt of the 62nd Senate District who was facing felony charges related to a no-show job for his wife, and Thomas D. Croci of the 3rd Senate District who was on Naval Reserve duty and Democrats Liz Krueger of the 28th Senate District who had a family emergency and George Latimer of the 37th Senate District who told Senate leadership he was taking his wife on a planned trip to London.
As first reported by Talk of the Sound, Latimer did not take Robin Phelps Latimer, his wife, to London but rather Judge Susan Kettner, his girlfriend. Democrats in New York State government and the Westchester County Board of Legislators are said to be furious with Latimer for misrepresenting the purpose of the trip to them.
In the press conference after the debate on Tuesday, Latimer was asked a follow up question on skipping the Senate budget vote to go to London. He seemed to take Senate leadership to task for scheduling the vote on the first day of Holy Week.
“It was not a singular vote that Palm Sunday because that is when the meeting was held organized 30 hours, 30 hours, 24 hours, before it, and it was organized and set for Palm Sunday and you can have a discussion whether that’s the right thing to do or not."
Some may find it a bit hypocritical for Latimer, a Roman Catholic as is his wife and girlfriend, to raise concerns that Senate leadership did something wrong by scheduling a budget vote on one of the most important days in the Roman Catholic calendar when he left his wife back in New York to attend mass by herself while he was on vacation in Europe with another woman.
For those who were apparently unaware of Latimer’s affair with Kettner, this may put the matter to rest. If not, the photos and social media posts in this article may.
Most of the evidence has now been scrubbed from Susan Kettner’s Facebook page but it was there until recently and we have the “screen grabs” to prove it. One we missed was one of Kettner’s earliest posts on Facebook from a camping trip she took with Latimer a number of years ago, which we are told he made her remove. Hence the sobriquet on one of her London Facebook posts, “he who will be neither tagged nor photographed.”
For a County Executive race, dogs have played a prominent role in this campaign and they do so again here.
Latimer and Kettner “share” a dog which Kettner named “Junior” but Latimer calls “Chewbacca”. Kettner’s Twitter background and profile both feature Junior, what appears to be a black poodle or similar. The dog has a number of tags on his collar including a prominent yellow tag. The dog often appears in Kettner’s social media posts and makes two appearances as “Chewbacca” in Latimer’s social media posts.
In one Facebook post, Kettner posts a photo of a sleeping Junior with the comment, “He’s been out all weekend. George and I took him to Ward Acres earlier and he’s all pooped out.” Ward Acres is a municipal dog park in New Rochelle.
Almost of all Kettner’s “favorites” on Twitter are Latimer social media posts.
Elsewhere on Facebook, there are numerous photos of Kettner with “he who will be neither tagged nor photographed.” While Kettner did not “tag” Latimer in photos, others did, along with Kettner. Those photos are, as of the moment of publication, still readily available online. The photos of Latimer with Kettner go as far back as 2011.
The photos show Latimer and Kettner sitting on a blanket together, sitting in folding chairs in a park together, attending an art show together, attending a dinner event together and more.
George Latimer declined to comment for this article.