A fellow candidate for Big Apple mayor charged Friday that embattled city Comptroller Scott Stringer is running a “smear campaign” against his sexual harassment accuser.
The accusation against Stringer came as the mayoral hopeful alleged Friday that the woman accusing him is working for front-runner rival Andrew Yang.
Stringer’s team made the allegations about Jean Kim after she publicly spoke out against Stringer this week, claiming he groped her multiple times in 2001, when she says she was working as an unpaid intern on his failed campaign for public advocate.
“Ms. Kim’s attorney was asked if Ms. Kim worked for any other campaigns against Scott Stringer. The attorney’s response was false,” Stringer spokesman Tryone Stevens said in a statement.
Stevens added, “Ms. Kim worked for Eliot Spitzer in 2013 and now we learn that she was working for Andrew Yang this year. There is a pattern here of inaccurate statements made by Ms. Kim’s attorney.”
Kim on Friday denied ever having worked for Yang’s mayoral campaign even though she has gathered petition signatures for a slate of Democratic candidates for public office, including Yang, whose name as a candidate for mayor appears prominently in the second spot on the petitions.
“I do not work and have never worked for the Andrew Yang campaign,” said Kim, 49. “I’ve never met him, and I have not decided who my choice is for mayor of New York City.”
Mayoral candidate Maya Wiley ripped Stringer Friday in a tweet, saying, “The smear campaign Scott Stringer is running against Jean Kim is obvious, disgusting, & a clear effort to intimidate someone who bravely came forward to tell a credible story of her sexual assault.”
Kim, a lobbyist who has previously worked as a political consultant, including for scandal-scarred former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, has claimed that Stringer “inappropriately and relentlessly pursued a sexual relationship” with her and asked her more than once, “Why won’t you f—k me?”
In her statement Friday, Kim said, “We have an impressive list of women candidates — Maya Wiley, Diane Morales and Kathryn Garcia. Maybe it’s time for a woman to become mayor. But I have not worked for any of their campaigns either. And as I have said, I have not given anyone my endorsement.”
“Regardless of who gets my vote, my decision to disclose my experience with Scott Stringer arose out of the gnawing feeling in my gut every time I saw him touting his support for women,” Kim explained.
She continued, “I am not interested in pushing anyone into the mayor’s office. My purpose is to speak the truth and for Stringer to be held accountable for his actions. I am disheartened but not at all surprised by his attacks and efforts to discredit me. It is exactly what I expected him to do. Lie, attack and retaliate.”
Kim said that she has “collected ballot signatures for multiple political candidates in different races.”
“And while I am focused on new and very different career options at this time, I am still quite active in my community,” she said.
Board of Elections ballot petitions obtained by The Post show that Kim last month collected signatures for Yang, Esther Yang, who is not related to Andrew Yang, Brad Holyman and Julie Menin.
Esther Yang – who Kim called her “neighbor and friend” — is running for a district leader position on the Upper East Side.
“I was happy to do my part to help her get her name on the ballot,” Kim said of Esther Yang. “I have also collected signatures for Tricia Shimamura, another neighbor. I still care about issues that are important to me and I will continue to contribute what time and effort I can to support my community.”
Kim’s attorney Patricia Pastor said that her client collected “about 30 signatures” for Esther Yang.
“The fact that Andrew Yang’s name appears, along with Brad Hoylman and Julie Menin, on a ballot petition circulated by Jean, does not reflect a working relationship of any kind between Jean and the Andrew Yang campaign,” Pastor said, railing, “This is nothing more than typical gaslighting, blaming the victim and seeking to discredit her. It is unacceptable.”
Andrew Yang spokeswoman Alyssa Kass said the campaign “first learned that Ms. Kim had carried a few petition sheets for several candidates, including Andrew” on Thursday night.
“We fully support Jean Kim and commend the courageous step she took sharing her story this week,” Kass said.
Stringer, who turned 61 on Thursday, has completely denied the sexual assault allegations made by Kim, but did say the two had an “on-and-off” months-long “consensual” relationship when Kim was 30 and he was 41.
He also denied that Kim has worked as an intern on his campaign.
Kim, who sometimes does stand-up comedy, appeared on a Zoom comedy show Thursday night, and said she “had to MeToo one of the politicians I used to work with because he couldn’t keep his thing in his pants,” in a reference to Stringer.
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