By Steven T. Jones
New information is still coming in on the breaking news that Ruby Rippey-Tourk got an extended paid leave from the city. I just spoke with Sam Singer, a spokesperson for the Tourks, who said that it was Alex Tourk who asked the city about getting paid compensation for his wife while she was in an alcohol and drug rehab center from May through July. At the time, he didn't know that his wife had been having sexual relations with the mayor. "Several of her co-workers donated their sick time to Ruby during this time of personal crisis," Singer said. According to the Controller's Office, Rippey-Tourk's final official day of employment was Sept. 1 and it was in September that she received a check for the leave that begun in May, initially as unpaid leave. Payroll records also show that Rippey-Tourk had 7.5 weeks of unpaid leave in 2005 -- when her affair with Newsom reportedly took place -- and that also appears to be more than she was entitled to. She received $80,195 in compensation in 2005, up from $63,522 the previous year, which was her first in the Newsom Administration.
Asked why Rippey-Tourk didn't return to her good city job after leaving rehab in July, Singer said, "She just felt it was a chapter in her life that was over and she wanted to move on." Asked whether Rippey-Tourk may have felt uncomfortable returning to work for a boss who had bedded her during a time when she was having problems with alcohol, Singer refused to comment. But Sup. Jake McGoldrick, who has called for Newsom's resignation, called the entire episode unseemly and showing poor judgment by someone in a position of authority that Rippey-Tourk trusted. "I think he took advantage of someone who was in a very vulnerable position," McGoldrick said.
Newsom has refused to answer questions about anything related to the affair. I've posed questions about this latest revelation to Newsom press secretary Peter Ragone and I'm awaiting a response.