Ethan Berkowitz is the mayor of Anchorage, Alaska who recently resigned after confessing to an “inappropriate messaging relationship” with a local news anchor.
The mayor on October 13 announced his resignation in an online release, apologizing for “unacceptable personal conduct.”
“It is with profound sadness and humility that I resign as Mayor of the Municipality of Anchorage,” Berkowitz expressed.
The 58-year-old admitted a day earlier to engaging in a “consensual” relationship — calling it a “major lapse in judgment” — several years ago with 41-year-old Alaska Link anchor Maria Athens, according to a statement obtained by The Hill.
“My resignation results from unacceptable personal conduct that has compromised my ability to perform my duties with the focus and trust that is required,” Berkowitz continued in his parting remarks.
“I know my conduct has done great injury to my family, my staff, to Municipal employees, and to the people of our community, and for that, I am deeply sorry. ”
Athens interviewed Berkowitz more than 20 times between 2016 and 2018, according to posts on her official Twitter page.
His resignation is effective Friday, October 23, at the end of the business day, he disclosed.
Berkowitz , who lives in Anchorage with his wife and two children, had been in office since 2015, according to his government biography.
Here’s what you need to know about Ethan Berkowitz:
1. Athens Accused Berkowitz of Posting Nude Photos to an ‘Underage Girls Website’
On October 9, Athens took to Facebook to accuse Berkowitz of posting nude photos to an “underage girls website.” She then posted a nude photo of what she claimed to be the mayor’s backside.
Athens expressed that her story had the potential to become national news.
Meanwhile, her boss, who the The Anchorage Daily News identified as her boyfriend, disavowed the story, while the Federal Bureau of Investigation also cleared Berkowitz’s name, The Hill reported.
“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,” Berkowitz said in a statement cited by the outlet. “It takes time to rebuild trust and I hope you afford me the opportunity to do so.”
Athens has since been arrested on charges of fourth-degree criminal assault, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct stemming from an incident in which police say she got into an altercation at her news station, The Hill continued.
The outlet reported that she is now out on bail.
2. Berkowitz Has Lived in Anchorage Since 1990
Berkowitz has lived in Anchorage since 1990, according to his biography on the city’s website.
He received an undergraduate degree from Harvard University, “where he graduated with honors,” in Government and Economics, the site continues. The mayor then pursued a master’s degree from the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University, followed by a law degree from Hastings College of the Law.
Berkowitz and his family enjoy skiing, hiking, fishing and berry-picking, “keeping busy all year, all over the state,” his official biography says.
3. Berkowitz Was Re-Elected to Office in April 2018
Berkowitz, a Democrat, won re-election for his mayoral seat during the general election in April 2018, according to Ballotpedia.
His political background includes a 10-year stint in the state’s legislature, beginning in 1996, the organization adds.
“As a state legislator, he won national recognition for his distinguished service to Alaska, and championed many issues, including fiscal responsibility and energy policy,” his campaign website claims, noting that he then ran for Lieutenant Governor followed by U.S. Congress in 2008.
4. Berkowitz Lived in Antarctica for 3 Seasons Before Beginning His Elected Service
Berkowitz lived in Antarctica for three seasons before tackling elected service, according to his campaign website.
He spent his time “doing everything from operating a ‘D-1’ (also known as a ‘shovel’), to guiding, to working as an enforcement officer for the U.S. Antarctic Program,” the website continues .
Berkowitz also spent “several seasons” commercial fishing in Bristol Bay, his campaign page says.
5. Kimmel Recently Completed Her PhD Focused on Research on ‘Local Governance & Community Wellbeing’
According to her First Lady page on the city’s website, Kimmel recently completed her PhD which involved research surrounding “local governance and community wellbeing.”
Kimmel, the deputy director for strategy, research and scholarship at the Anchorage Museum, has also practiced Alaskan law since 1996, her page continues.
“She is motivated by the many people she has met and worked with over the years who have stood in the face of trauma, violence and persecution, yet who maintain their strength and resilience,” the First Lady biography reads.