An odd place for a Ted Cruz stopover
Presidential politics can put candidates in some pretty odd situations. Just ask Ted Cruz.
The Texas senator and 2016 Republican candidate was in New York this week. One of his stops was a reception Monday night at a grand apartment owned by Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass, two gay hotel tycoons.
The purpose of the gathering was to discuss Cruz's position on Israel, according to Cruz national campaign spokesman Rick Tyler. "It was all things Israel," says Tyler. "They were in a discussion about something they all agreed about" — meaning their strong support of Israel.
Tyler says that at one point in the conversation, the topic of gay marriage came up — an issue about which Cruz, who opposes gay marriage, and his hosts, who support it, definitely did not agree.
According to a report by the New York Times' Maggie Haberman, Cruz adopted a "different tone" that night than he has taken at other times when discussing marriage.
Speaking to evangelical pastors, for example, Cruz has described traditional marriage as "ordained by God." Before the wealthy gay New Yorkers, the Times reported, Cruz "did not mention his opposition to same-sex marriage, saying only that marriage is an issue that should be left to the states."
Was it a flip-flop? Garden-variety political flexibility? Or perhaps, as Cruz's supporters maintain, was it consistent with the senator's oft-stated support of traditional marriage? Cruz will undoubtedly be asked about it sometime.
Besides that, what was oddly notable about Cruz's evening was the setting. Reisner's apartment was in the news last October, when a 23-year-old bartender was found dead of a drug overdose in a bathtub in one of the home's six opulently-appointed bathrooms. According to press reports, this is what happened:
The bartender, Sean Verdi of Brooklyn, was working at an establishment known as Bar-Tini Ultra Lounge in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood. The New York Daily News reported that on Oct. 28 Verdi met up with Reisner, age 45, an acquaintance from the city's club scene. Sometime late in the night, Verdi and Reisner, along with two other men, left Bar-Tini to go to Reisner's apartment.
It wasn't just any apartment. According to the real estate blog TheRealDeal.com, Reisner's 4,000 square foot home, which he owns with Weiderpass, was created by combining five separate apartments. Occupying two floors with a view of Central Park, the place is meticulously decorated and the scene of Reisner's frequent socializing.
"Give me an excuse and I'll throw a party," Reisner told the blog....................