New York Governor Eliot G. Spitzer, known for cleaning up Wall Street as the state's attorney general, apologized to the public and his family amid charges that he had dealings with a prostitution ring.
This morning, he informed his senior administration officials that he has been involved in a prostitution ring, an administration official told The New York Times.
In a hastily arranged press conference at 3:10 p.m. EST, Mr. Spitzer, with his wife at his side, apologized to the public and to his family without mentioning any specific charges.
"I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself. I must now dedicate some time to gain the trust of my family," he said.
"I will report back to you in short order," he concluded.
Mr. Spitzer, a Democrat, did not take any questions.
As New York's attorney general from 1999 to 2006, Mr. Spitzer went after individuals and companies for violations ranging from insider trading to securities fraud.
Last week, federal prosecutors arrested four people in connection with an high-end prostitution operation.
According to the Times, the governor's travel records show that he was in Washington in mid-February.
One of the clients described in court papers arranged to meet with a prostitute who was part of the operation, the Emperors Club VIP, on Feb. 13, said the Times.
An unnamed source told the Times that Mr. Spitzer is identified as one of the Emperors Club VIP's clients in the court papers.
According to the Emperors Club website, which has since been taken down:
"Choosing from only the most impressive model companion candidates, you'll personally find that Emperors Club is, by far, the most selective social introduction service. Beauty, elegance, erudition, and educational standing / career accomplishments are preliminary decisive factors in hiring."
"It is obviously sad that [Mr. Spitzer] has gotten himself into this quandary and it goes to show that everybody is human and obviously he is no different," said John M. Nowicki, president, a money management firm LCM Capital Management in Chicago.
"This is a sad day for him and it is pretty amazing what is going on here."
"He has done wonders for the average investor," he added.
Not everyone took such a charitable stance.
"Mr. Spitzer was a very aggressive attorney general and caught a lot of people with their hand in the cookie jar when they shouldn't have been there," said Thomas Grzymala, principal, Forensic Analytics LLC in Kenswick, Wash.
"Now the tide as turned and Eliot Spitzer, by his own admission, has not lived up to the standards that he established.
"It is a reinforcement of the saying 'people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones' and the house is crashing down on him now.
"He did a lot as an investigative attorney but an unknown side of him got out of hand," he added.
It is unclear whether Mr. Spitzer will resign.
Should he do so, however, the position will pass to Lieutenant Governor David Paterson.
Mr. Paterson, 53, is the first African American to hold the post of lieutenant governor, and would be the first African American to hold the office of Governor of New York state.
Mr. Paterson began his tenure in the District Attorney’s office after law school and served on the campaign staff of David Dinkins for Manhattan Borough President in 1985. Since 1985 he has held the office of New York state senator, and served as minority leader in the New York state senate from 2002-2006.
Mr. Paterson is the son of former New York Secretary of State Basil Paterson, the first African American New York City Deputy Mayor.
Additional reporting by Matt Jacobs and Andrew Coen.