Breaking: Mayor apologizes over Maria Athens sexting relationship - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, October 25, 2020
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Breaking: Mayor apologizes over Maria Athens sexting relationship

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Mayor Ethan Berkowitz today issued the following statement:

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. I’m embarrassed and ashamed for the hurt I’ve caused my family and our community. I take responsibility for my actions. A joint investigation into the recent allegations made by Ms. Athens was completed by the Anchorage Police Department and FBI and found no evidence of criminal conduct. 

It takes time to rebuild trust and I hope you afford me the opportunity to do so. During the remaining months of my term, I will continue working on the important issues we face.

Please consider my family’s privacy during this difficult time.

The statement came out at 4:30 pm on Monday. At the same time, Assembly Chairman Felix Rivera issued the following statement:

We were informed today of improper and distasteful actions taken by our Mayor. While an investigation by APD and the FBI found no illegal activity based on the allegations made against the Mayor last Friday, we now understand that the Mayor engaged in a consensual yet inappropriate relationship with an adult. We are disappointed and disheartened by this news and send our heartfelt support to First Lady Dr. Mara Kimmel and the rest of the Mayor’s family, who we know are going through a very difficult time.

Despite today’s news, there remains much work to do to improve the lives of local residents and the Assembly is dedicated to continuing its important work.

The Assembly meets on Tuesday to vote on extending the mayor’s emergency powers in the midst of a surge in COVID-19 cases in Alaska.

On Oct. 14, the mayor and his wife were expected to be honored at the Congregation Beth Shalom’s Shining Light Awards, which was to be held online for the first time. The Synagogue announced today that the entire event has been cancelled, or “unavoidably postponed.”

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Whoa!

  • Sic semper tyrannis

  • Didn’t the AG of Alaska resign over something much less egregious than this? But then liberal democrats can do almost anything and it’s OK. Talk about a double standard.

    • You just don’t care about facts do you. The AG had to resign because his texts were unwelcomed sexual harassment in the work place. From what we know so far, the Mayor and Athens were adults involved in consensual sexting, that was not at all workplace related.

    • No. The AG of Alaska resigned because he repeatedly propositioned someone that was a state employee of a lower rank despite her repeated appeals to him to leave her alone. That’s definitive workplace sexual harassment and arguably a violation of the woman’s civil protections against workplace harassment. What Mayor B did was just creepy and slimy, but was not workplace harassment and as far as current info provides, not at all criminal. I’m pretty sure even MRAP would back me up on this.

  • Oh snap.

  • It ain’t over until Maria says it’s over. I wonder now if he isn’t trying to go with a consenting adult so he doesn’t wind up with underage woman? I wonder if the escort was under 18 when she was escorting? This isn’t passing the logical progression test by any measure. Maria ends up in jail for 2 1/2 days, no visitors because, you know “covid”. Then, she gets bonded out and the mayor goes all contrite about a “consensual texting ” event with an adult. This is a bullshit story, people. And I wonder, if the AG gets the door for saying ‘come over for some wine” what does the mayor get for ” look at my junk”?

    • The underaged women said she it never happened.

  • The Mayor needs to resign ASAP.

  • Trust? Long gone. Resign and move on.

  • Why is the reporter still held without bail, at a prison and not Anchorage pre trial? Has she been given access to legal aide? Things are gonna get quite interesting once her side of said story is given. True Anchorage Soap Opera

    • Because apparently the Dear Mayor has suspended Habeas Corpus and not bothered to tell anyone….

  • We have MustReadAK to thank for the outing of this inappropriate behavior perpetrated by this long-time politician. We would never expect the Daily News, Channel 5, Public Broadcasting nor any of the other news sources to have begun the sequence of reliable reporting that led to this revelation! Wherever it goes from here, whatever happens next we can and must thank one and only one media person that we know anything of this. I can only wonder what inappropriate behavior, what crimes against people big and small committed by powerful people happened that were known by the media and governmental officials yet never revealed prior to MustReadAK coming on the scene. Nothing save the persistence of MustReadAK brings every day Alaskans this information and brings to powerful people the need to come clean and tell the truth.

  • MINOR, key word in Marias first statement…

  • We should really support Ms. Athens through this whole event as we all know how difficult it was for her to share this “news” with the public.
    I can only say that Jack Herer’s book: “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” has new meaning for me.
    Thanks to Suzanne for covering this story as we all know where ADN’s allegiance now lies!

    • Ha! Well said!

  • Didn’t another public servant recently resign over a similar incident…..who was it, who was it….?

  • He needs to resign, RIGHT NOW. Not tomorrow nor next week. Now.

    • Amen. Get him and his ilk outta here!

    • Be careful what you wish for. Look who is standing in the wings !!

  • Absolute political non-sense. The Mayor knows he’s non trustworthy as does his wife and family now along with all of his supporters that quickly jumped to discredit this girl.

    Mayor – resign now. Your a pathetic expression of sorry is hollow and you know it, you also know that you will NEVER be re-elected with what you have done to Anchorage, the people, the business you have destroyed while your business received preferential treatment.

  • So does anyone remember when
    Alaska’s Attorney General had to resign due to inappropriate “consensual” texts exchanged with another adult individual and what a “scandal” it was and how much coverageit got in the local “media”…??? Let’s see if the same standards hold true here… I doubt it will… definitely not holding my breath 😱… Spendowitz will get a free pass from the liberal media and his cronies on the assembly.

    • Get your facts straight! The AG’s behavior was sexual harassment at the workplace, which violates the Civil Rights Act. What the mayor did was cheat on his wife but that is nothing illegal in his behavior, according to the facts we know so far. This was not workplace sexual harassment.

  • Once a Perv, always a Perv!

  • Sounds like mayor is toast…

  • He wasn’t too concerned with his privacy when he sent those pictures. Now he can get back to squatting over the Constitutional Liberties he believes he personally has ownership of.

  • Yeah… this can’t be all about texting. Five bucks says he was doing to Ms. Athens what he’s been doing to Anchorage. Perhaps there’s a well known radio show host that would like to offer her voice? Hell hath no fury like a woman denied further sexts? Yeah, no.

    This guy is such a slimeball. Even his comments confirm that “I take responsibility for my actions” means that when he’s undeniably caught with his zipper down he’ll pretend he was only minimally involved. What kind of idiot would try to convince his wife or anyone else that he sexted someone repeatedly but it just sort of happened and there was never any skin on skin.

    I completely understand that all of us are human and that chemical attraction happens however, this guy is an abhorrent little wretch and the only service he’s done for our town is to remind us that our previous voting ambivalence introduced us to such excreta as Mr. Berkowitz.

    My guess is that Mara is firing up the car and the cops need to be in the house, not outside.

    • Oh my. This morning a voicemail has surfaced from Ms. Athens to the Stub and it’s not the kind best left to a recording. That gal gets pretty bent.

      Crazy in the head, crazy in the bed. Major downstream cost though.

  • Resign and return to San Fransicko………………

  • When will the diminutive dictator, Tiny Ethan, resign.

    He should, do he can focus on repairing the emotional damage he’s done to his family, by being a lying, cheating, POS.

    That would be the honorable thing to do, so it won’t happen.

  • As Paul Harvey would say “and now the rest of the story”.

    • Yes ! Let’s hear Maria’s side of this.

  • Leftists have whining, apologizing, begging for sympathy, and promising everlasting ‘purity’ honed to a fine art, for when they get caught. Next will come denial and shifting the blame. Accuse the accuser. Having the police strongarm your old flame and put her in jail, for her fixing to tell, does not speak well for “He Who Rules”. If you can’t shut them up one way, there is always another. With the police? That is not very nice, little guy. Isn’t that grounds for recall?

  • Did Felix just throw the Mayor under the bus?? “Improper, Distastful, Inappropriate”… Wow.. It’s like watching reruns of Game of Thrones.. I guess the sharks can smell when there’s blood in the water..

  • Will this sorry excuse for a mayor reimburse the city for that bogus security detail he had at his house?

    I hope this Anthony Weiner wanna-be resigns. I have never been so ashamed of my city.

    • The police protection was due to a credible threat on the Mayor’s life and his wife’s.

  • Somebody throw the switch on Berkowitz’ shining light. Do not as I do but do as I say. Just sad.

  • What goes around comes around, Ethan smeared Amy Demboski during his first run for mayor.

    What a sleaze.

  • We shall see just what the Mayor did. What does the phrase “ consensual inappropriate messaging relationship “ mean? I suspect there is more to come. It will be interesting to see if the Mayor is treated the same way Atty General Clarkson was by the media. I expect he will not. But who knows what will come out as facts. Please Mr Mayor, tell us. Is that Naked picture of someone who looks a little like you, you?

  • Accusations of sexting with a minor are now seen in a different location light.

  • Accusations of sexting with a minor are now seen in a different light.

    • Was the reporter a minor at the time the sexual misconduct took place? “Several years ago,” she could have been a minor. Or, were other minors involved? This case needs to be checked out thoroughly because the initial story, as I understand, involved a minor website. Also the story of his wife killing a pedestrian in a car accident was buried by the media years ago. If any of this is credible information, should this individual be leading the Municipal Government and essentially holding the well-being of this city in his power? Just asking.

      • Moral virtue ceased being a job requirement for politicians years ago. If he continues turning Anchorage into a communist hive then his immoral conduct is irrelevant to his supporters. Such situational ethics seems to flourish in both political parties. In fact, if the woman consented to the relations, then she is also morally deficient.

        • Well said, Wayne. We really never know at this point in time what we are getting with the car grill grins and phony ads. This politician is a prime example. Wait until the Alaska Legislature convenes in 2021 – watch out!

  • If he had not got caught, does anyone think he would be now apologizing for his duplicitous behavior? If he treats his wife and kids this way ( who will suffer enormous humiliation) should he continue as Mayor?

  • Can you please put up a picture of the mayor naked? I can’t seem to find it anywhere. I bet he has a sweet a– and I would really like to gaze at it for a while.

    • Facebook still had it a couple of hours ago.

    • Quincy, your comment is low-brow and pathetically ridiculous.

  • Resign, Mayor Berkowitz. During a pandemic is a bad time for citizens to lose confidence in you. Please do the honorable thing, please resign.

  • Kevin Clarkson wasn’t found to have done anything “illegal” either. Why did he have to step down?!?!! Berkowitz gets to stay in office after sexual misconduct and cheating on his wife?!?!

    • No kidding. Clarkson essentially just made a coworker uncomfortable. And once he was made aware of how his behavior was perceived he backed off. No unappealing photos have circulated. Yet he was literally drug through the mud. And here we have the mayor, caught ‘red-bottomed’, literally, in appalling behavior and, oh, a simple apology should suffice.
      I would say the FBI needs to remove the protective gloves and dig a tad deeper.

  • He should resign!

  • Maria Athens deserves some apologies.

    Berkowitz was #1.

    Dan Fagan should be #2.

    Must Read Alaska should be #3 (for publishing Dan Fagan’s opinion piece).

    • Moral Turpitude is really the issue. The Greeks said the abuse of vanity is our down fall. Odviously the woman is beautiful with her piercing blue eyes and slim build, but industry women like Jackie Purcell, Connie Chung, Joan Lunden and Kelly Ripa have the same attributes as well as morality in conjuntion with the oath to the free press and to the public to which it serves.

      • *cough*
        uh, no they don’t.

  • Thanks, Suzanne! You’re doing a great job!

    • Suzanne IS the best! She makes ADN look like high school journalists…….
      on their day off.

  • The Mayor says it was “messaging,” implying there was no physical contact and that it was years ago. We’ll see about that.

  • Well alrighty then. Never, send, post or transmit anything over the net (pr any network) that you do not want on the news. Long as humans who are inspired by whatever, and government agents who are also inspired to investigate, it can be discovered.

    Total anonymity on network is a farce.

  • Oh my! I was starting to think that this was all made-up crazy stuff. This will take some time to process. I now suspect there may be some additional layers that may time some time to come out.

    • Ye have little faith. A socialist will always disappoint if you keep your eyes open and look for the signs.

  • What the heck? Sounds like both Mayor Berkowitz and Maria Athens have some issues that need to be addressed. Midlife crisis? Good grief.

  • Looks like he needs more “emergency powers” all right – and not necessarily for COVID-19 lockdowns. Snort! I’m still laughing – sorry.

  • I’m sure we won’t get any coverage from the main stream media on this. I don’t care that they are both “consenting adults” this guy is on our payroll. Not impressed by his lack of ethical behavior.

  • Meanwhile, Maria Athens was spotted today picking out a brand new class A motor-home.

    • Our property taxes may be funding one when the lawsuits settle. Snort!

  • RESIGN! Democrats insisted that the Alaska AG resign, and he did. Now, the Anchorage mayor must also resign.

  • Mr. Berkowitz, Please do consider your own family privacy, by resigning your office forthwith, in disgrace. Go bury your face in the dirt. Your wife should kick you hard up your rear end, while you’re upended. She should totally refuse to ever again upend herself for your pleasure. You have set a bad example for the youth of Anchorage. Resign, and get to hell, or out of Alaska.

  • #ResignMayorBerkowitz

  • This ain’t over until Maria says it is over. If I was her I would hire a lawyer and start filing lawsuits against her employer, against the city, against APD,. She has a case at every turn. And I believe the mayor is praying she will go along with his little fairy tale and take a big check to not tell the rest of the story.

    • Probably going to go with a non-disclosure agreement and a tidy sum. That’s usually how trolls handle the situation be it Ben roethlisberger and his rape, to Kobe Bryant’s fiascos and Michael Jackson and his pedophilia.

  • Hahaha really! Fire your political strategist now, Dems are supposed to deny deny deny! With that being said you told half truths, if that… DEFLECTION TRUTHS with a stunning admission that kinda confirms Maria’s story but has nothing to do with the story she was stopped from airing on Friday at 9! Again no one has confirmed if Ethan is in the picture and the originator of this picture and who was recipient with date and timestamp and geolocation! It is 2020 and anyone who can run a iPhone or android or cpu can figure this out! Channel 2 and 11 will wait for AP to wright a story so they can copy and paste, way easier than investigative journalism! So that leaves Suzanne to get us the real story published! Hard Truths can be easily swallowed by the public! Look around…it’s 2020

  • I’ll keep the popcorn warm

  • What a putz. Even his “sordid affair” is just words. Sexting? Really? Such a naughty little boy.

  • Ps get out of public service if you want privacy

  • Fire Him not good for himself and his family biggest thing not good for the City Berko do the the right thing for UR Family and the City Resigns

  • Well Ethan Berkowitz’s answers are totally lacking and unsatisfactory. Who at the FBI investigated? What did they investigate and for how long? The Anchorage Police can not impartially investigate the Mayor. Was the state notified? Why did the Mayor have police protection at his house when Maria Athens was in jail? Was his wife going to kill him? She is deadly with a car. Does he have photos of Maria to substantiate his claim? Has anyone asked Maria if this is true? Who is this escort that chimed in about the mayor in order to claim she did not have a relationship with him?

    So many questions need to be answered.

  • The Metadata was stripped (removed) from the photograph I have access to. Someone needs to pull the Metadata from one of Maria’s original copies. Let’s see when it was actually taken, and go from there!

    • At first is was hilarious. But, why is a adult man’s bum on facebook? His bum is not special. Take it off. Zuckerberg and/or Facebook monitors need to remove it for the sake of decorum. It’s blasphemy and could be any mans’ bum. Also very disturbed to visit AK Starfish on Dimond and see The Alaska Naked Mans’ calendar. Come on people, what happened to modesty? How many young people visit that store and we are normalizing sexuality for the virility of men? Men are appreciated, we don’t need to see their private parts.

  • So tell the truth and get locked up !! Some system we have.

    • If it is verified he exposed himself to a minor online, especially in his powerful position with public trust, he needs to be locked up. That’s all.

      • Isn’t this just the furtherance of truth that Democrats apply the double standard when they get in trouble, and that the mainstream press covers for them? Little Ethan will never quit on his own because the pressure on him comes only from Republicans.

        • Jose, I think you are correct. From the October 13 news, it seems the truth in this case was too much for the Mayor to continue serving the public trust and he resigned. I don’t care if they are Republicans, Democrats, or blue-eyed ocelots, public officials must serve the public trust and be above suspicion of egregious wrongdoing. Only in my dreams – right!

    • Admission of guilt alone does not absolve ones sins in civil society. Actions do have consequences, just look at the lives he’s ruining here, his own, his wife’s and his poor children. Why on earth should someone with such dubious moral character be afforded ANY power over any other lives? #resign

  • What, wait.
    Hybrid Democrate in a sex scandal, take me back two years, name was Mallot. Mainstream Alaska media gave Walker a big pass on what went down. Silence.
    Fast Forward and again nothing makes sense, a leading local newscaster is jailed after wanting to go public with accurate first hand earth shattering news about a setting Democrat Mayor….. oh my. It is just getting interesting.
    One more issue,
    Shame on all who didn’t believe a women when she had everything to lose.

  • Not gonna mention the anti-Semitic death threat?

    • The vitriolic voice mail message to the Mayor from Ms. Athens included in the ADN article this afternoon was abhorrent to me, especially the anti-Jewish (racist) blather in the recording. She sounded like a “woman scorned”. Revenge is best served cold, or however the old saying goes. Looks like she got revenge, but at what price to her and rational folks who hear that message? I agree the Mayor made a huge mistake and should have stepped down, but I’m offended by the anti-Jewish rants in that voice mail message. Jewish or not Jewish, it was a terrible and offensive remark. Let this dishonored Mayor skulk away in shame, but not because of his race or religion. He made a terrible mistake and tried to cover it up. That’s all.

  • The city council should have stripped the Mayor’s ownership stake in his businesses after his abuse of power in creating a monopoly for his businesses in August through the disguise of COVID.

    If I were his (ex)wife, I would do what the city council didn’t do and takes this away from this unethical politician.

    If his August move was not enough to convince people, this should be. Do not eat or support any of his businesses until he resigns from power and from these restaurants: Snow City, South, Crush, and Spenard Roadhouse.

  • I believe Byron Mallott was his mentor?
    And Anthony Weiner protege.
    Anchorage’s own little Carlos Danger.

    Open up Anchorage.

    We’re tired of Driving all the to Wasilla just to eat and relax at a restaurant.

  • Well, it sounds like the Mayor has some explaining to do, but moreover, Ms. Athens really needs to get some help. Listen to the voicemail…

  • They’re all the same…Kennedys, Clinton (his buddy Epstein), and on down the line. May not have Hillary to protect him but again the mainstream media won’t do their job and expose (pun intended) this liberal womanizer. What ever happened to the #MeToo movement? All women to be believed all the time? It’s gone eerily silent after the Kavanaugh hearings.

  • “I take responsibility for my actions. A joint investigation into the recent allegations made by Ms. Athens was completed by the Anchorage Police Department and FBI and found no evidence of criminal conduct.”

    Let’s see: Apology contains an announcement one weekend after accusations, that two not-wholly-to-be-trusted investigative agencies ( one of which has been bought by city hall) and in spite of the capabilities, APD has to find criminal conduct down to your IP address and past server scans: and the infamous ability of the FBI to expeditiously (laugh here) turn over investigative results on a National Level……We are to believe two agencies investigated and reached a conclusion in two days. Don’t make my sides hurt anymore.

    Besides, when does an apology ever fix or repair damage and crimes? Apologies are for whimps and Democrats caught and in a corner. Haven’t you done enough damage to Anchorage?

  • So, he is a lil creep. Poor whittle feller. Probably a shrimp in more ways than one. Lol.

  • His morals are like his politics, in the toilet.

  • An FBI investigation was warranted in a supposedly consensual sexting relationship? Puhleeeze! There is much more to this story folks. Someone stick a fork in Berkowitz – I think he’s done!

    • Please get your facts straight. The FBI investigation was not about the Mayor’s sexting with Maria Athens. Base on the fact that have been reported, the FBI investigation was about sending naked pictures to a minor.

  • This may just be the tip of an iceberg … and since Anchorage isn’t even close to being a Titanic, it may scuttle only our “Boaty-Mc-Boatface” of a city.

  • The grass wasn’t greener on the other side. It was astro turf.

  • What was the level of FBI involvement. I have heard joint investigation from the Mayor. I’ve heard ‘worked with’ from the APD. Need we forget when the city referred a criminal complaint to the state against two officers who were the victims of racial discrimination for no other purpose than to slander the officers.

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