Arnold Schwarzenegger has had so many problems of late -- his poll numbers are tanking, ethical questions have forced him to end a lucrative deal with a magazine publisher, and a California appeals court tossed his redistricting plan off the ballot this week -- that the more salacious details of his past have fallen pretty much off the radar.
In a story that neatly links allegations of the governor's womanizing with questions about his integrity, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that, just a few days after he announced that he was running for office, a tabloid publisher that eventually entered into a multimillion-dollar deal with Schwarzenegger effectively bought the silence of a woman who allegedly had an affair with him.
According to the Times, American Media Inc., which publishes the National Enquirer, paid Gigi Goyette of Malibu $20,000 in exchange for her promise that she wouldn't tell anyone other than AMI about "her conversations with Schwarzenegger, her interactions with Schwarzenegger or anything else relating in any way to any relationship [she] ever had with Schwarzenegger." That arrangement kept Goyette from spilling her story elsewhere, the Times says, and AMI never asked her for any information itself. The paper says that AMI entered into a similar confidentiality arrangement with a friend of Goyette's. AMI never sought information from her, either.
At the time AMI entered into its agreements with the two women, it was negotiating a consulting deal with Schwarzenegger. That deal, which finally came together just after Schwarzenegger took office, was to pay Schwarzenegger between $5 million and $8 million over five years, the Times says. Schwarzenegger was forced to abandon the deal last month amid concerns that it amounted to a conflict of interest. Under the deal, Schwarzenegger was to receive a percentage of the advertising revenue received by fitness magazines AMI owns. Much of that advertising comes from sellers of nutritional supplements. Last year, Schwarzenegger vetoed legislation that would have imposed restrictions on such supplements in California.
The governor's spokesman told the Times that he believes Schwarzenegger was unaware of AMI's deal with Goyette and her friend, and he insisted that there is "no connection" between Schwarzenegger's deal with the publisher and its deal with the women. A former AMI employee is skeptical. Why would AMI buy the women's rights and then not run stories on them? "That's the obvious question," the employee tells the Times, charging that "AMI systematically bought the silence" of the two women to protect Schwarzenegger and its own future profits from the deal it hoped to strike with him.
AMI did not respond to the Times' requests for a response.