Anchorage mayor resigns after admitting to relationship

Anchoarge Mayor Berkowitz
Anchorage, Alaska Mayor Ethan Berkowitz addresses the Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday, April 21, 2020. Berkowitz on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020 admitted to having an inappropriate relationship with a female reporter, three days after she made online allegations against the married official. (Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News via AP)



ANCHROAGE, Alaska (AP) — Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has submitted his resignation, a day after admitting he had an inappropriate texting relationship with a local television anchorwoman.

Berkowitz’s chief of staff, Jason Bockenstedt, announced Berkowitz’s resignation Tuesday night at the Anchorage Assembly meeting. Berkowitz did not attend. It is effective Oct. 23.

“It is with profound sadness and humility I resign as mayor of Anchorage,” Berkowitz said, according to the statement read by Bockenstedt.

Berkowtiz said it was unacceptable personal conduct on his part that compromised his ability to perform his duties as mayor.

A small but vocal crowd, including one man waving two flags, stood and cheered after the announcement was made.

“There is a God,” one man yelled.

Berkowitz’s resignation came four days after the anchor for a combined Fox/ABC station posted a story on Facebook saying Berkowitz posted nude photos to a website and she would air the story later that night.

However, Maria Athens was later arrested after getting into a physical altercation with her station manager, whom charging documents described as her boyfriend. The story never aired.

She had also posted what she claimed were naked photos of the mayor’s back side on her Facebook account.

Berkowitz on Friday adamantly denied Athens’ allegations, and Anchorage police and FBI investigated, finding no criminal conduct on Berkowitz’s part.

However, late Monday afternoon Berkowitz, who is married, released another statement, in which he admitted to having the relationship with Athens.

“I apologize to the people of Anchorage for a major lapse in judgment I made several years ago when I had a consensual, inappropriate messaging relationship with reporter Maria Athens,” Berkowitz said.

©The Associated Press 2020

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