updated 5/21/2008 8:16:57 PM ET 2008-05-22T00:16:57

Former New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey on Wednesday said he owes a quarter-million dollars to his boyfriend but wants to pay child support for the daughter he has with his estranged wife, as well as for a child from an earlier marriage.

The nation's first openly gay governor denied, however, that he is financially dependent on boyfriend Mark O'Donnell.

"I want to pay child support. I want to fulfill my obligations," McGreevey told a state judge during his third day of testimony in his divorce trial. "Unfortunately, I have had to bankrupt myself to pay legal fees upon legal fees."

McGreevey said O'Donnell has loaned him much of the legal costs, as well as the $3,000 that McGreevey is charged monthly for residing in O'Donnell's Plainfield mansion.

Yet McGreevey said he could not recall asking O'Donnell to cover child support for a daughter by his first wife and is now $11,000 behind.

McGreevey says he can't afford alimony
The testimony came under questioning by John N. Post, the lawyer for his second wife, Dina Matos McGreevey. She is seeking alimony and child support so she can maintain a lifestyle she would have enjoyed had her husband not resigned in 2004 amid a gay sex scandal. McGreevey has said he can't afford alimony.

McGreevey, 50, on Wednesday asserted he plans to repay O'Donnell, but added, "It's going to take decades."

The former governor now makes about $48,000 a year from two jobs, and his current expenses of nearly $11,000 a month do not include his $12,000 annual tuition at an Episcopal seminary, Post noted.

McGreevey responded, "I have already begun reducing expenses."

Matos McGreevey, 41, a hospital executive who earns about $82,000 a year, is slated to lose her job next month when the hospital closes.

O'Donnell was hired about six months ago as chief investment officer of the Kushner Companies, a private real estate development firm chaired by Charles Kushner, a once-prominent Democratic campaign donor and McGreevey benefactor who served time in federal prison for campaign and tax-law violations.

McGreevey testified that he didn't encourage either Kushner or O'Donnell to get together, but said he thinks they became acquainted during a party McGreevey and O'Donnell had at O'Donnell's mansion.

Post wanted to pursue further Kushner matters, but was halted by Superior Court Judge Karen M. Cassidy. Post noted that Kushner also helped bring an Israeli, Golan Cipel, to the United States.

Sexual harassment allegations
During his 2004 speech in which he declared himself "a gay American," McGreevey said he had an affair with a male staffer. The staffer was later identified as Cipel. Cipel denies the affair and says he was sexually harassed by the governor.

McGreevey and his estranged wife have lived apart nearly as long as the four years they were together. Cassidy had urged them to settle, and did succeed in brokering a private agreement earlier this month on custody of the McGreeveys' only child together, 6-year-old Jacqueline.

The financial issues are the second phase of the divorce, and testimony from McGreevey on them is to continue May 27.

The third and last phase of the divorce proceedings is to address Matos McGreevey's marriage fraud claim. She claims she was duped into marriage by a closeted gay man who needed a wife to advance his political career.

McGreevey contends she should have known he was gay and that the marriage was "a contrivance on both our parts."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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