Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz announces resignation

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz addresses the Anchorage Assembly at its regular meeting Tuesday, July...
Mayor Ethan Berkowitz addresses the Anchorage Assembly at its regular meeting Tuesday, July 23. (KTUU) (KTUU)
Published: Oct. 13, 2020 at 5:18 PM AKDT|Updated: Oct. 13, 2020 at 6:00 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz announced his resignation Tuesday evening. It will go into effect Oct. 23 at 6 p.m., according to a release from the mayor’s office.

“It is with profound sadness and humility that I resign as Mayor of the Municipality of Anchorage,” Berkowitz said in a prepared statement. “My resignation results from unacceptable personal conduct that has compromised my ability to perform my duties with the focus and trust that is required. 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.”

The resignation was first announced at Tuesday night’s Anchorage Assembly meeting. Berkowitz was not in attendance, but his chief of staff, Jason Bockenstedt, read it aloud to applause and cheers from those in attendance.

Officials explained that once the resignation goes into effect, the current chair of the assembly will take over as acting mayor until a special election is held. The current chair is Assembly Member Felix Rivera, though members can vote to reorganize and choose a new chair before Berkowitz’s resignation takes effect.

During the meeting, Assembly Member Jamie Allard motioned to reorganize, but it failed 8-3.

Berkowitz’s resignation comes the same week he admitted to having an inappropriate, but consensual relationship with local news anchor Maureen “Maria” Athens years ago. Last Friday, Athens took to social media to post claims of alleged illegal internet activity by Berkowitz, accusing the mayor of inappropriately posting nude photos to a website.

The mayor’s office quickly released a statement calling the claims “slanderous” and “categorically false." The Anchorage Police Department confirmed over the weekend that they were aware of the allegations and a joint investigation with the FBI revealed no evidence of criminal conduct, though the FBI on Tuesday added that the Anchorage field office is continuing to monitor the situation.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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