Speaker Silver's male staffer defended boss with online posts from 'female' supporter
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has a strong female voice defending him against allegations he improperly funneled hush money to two of Assemblyman Vito Lopez’s sex-harassment accusers.
The thing is, Silver’s “female’’ supporter is a man — and he’s one of the powerful Democrat’s own staffers.
Bill Eggler, 48, a longtime legislative writer for Silver, is behind a Web alter ego, “Sophia Walker,” who lashes out at anyone who dares suggest his boss did anything wrong in orchestrating a secret $103,080 payout to the former Brooklyn Democratic Party leader’s accusers, The Post has learned.
A friend of Eggler’s innocently let the cat out of the bag by publicly identifying him as blogger Sophia Walker in a recent posting.
One comment that “Sophia’’ posted on Sept. 5 to the Albany Times Union’s Capitol Confidential blog defends Silver’s handling of the payout.
“This entire affair is nothing more than election-year scandal-mongering, all of which will fade away after the taxpayers foot the bill for a costly, perfunctory and pointless investigation that will find no significant wrongdoing on Silver’s part,” it reads.
“Sophia” even targeted The Post.
“Kudos to The Post for attempting to keep this faux scandal alive by any means necessary,” The Last Goddess Magazine, which lists “Sophia Walker” as its editor, said on its Web page Thursday.
In wishing Eggler a happy birthday, Charles Apple of the American Copy Editors Society recently posted a note saying, “Bill Eggler is a writer of legislation, speech and whatnot for the speaker of the New York state Assembly in Albany . . . In addition, Bill writes a deliciously snarky, naughty and somewhat R-rated science fiction-heavy blog. Find that blog here and his Facebook page here.”
The links connect readers to goddesssophiawalker.com, The Last Goddess Magazine and a related Facebook page.
Apple last night confirmed to The Post that his pal, Eggler, is the creator of the Sophia Walker blog.
“He’s the guy behind the site,” Apple said. “I’ve known him for 15 years. He’s a science-fiction fan. I am, too.”
Confronted by The Post yesterday at his Albany apartment — where his mailbox reads both “W. Eggler” and “S. Walker” — the bathrobe-clad Eggler basically confirmed some involvement in the Sophia Walker and Last Goddess social-media Web sites.
But the Silver staffer, who has worked out of Albany since 1997 and earns $42,822 a year, declined to comment on whether he wrote the online posts.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” Eggler said. “The blog has a number of people who work on it. This is not something best left to me.”
Eggler referred to the other contributors as “my people.”
Asked about Sophia Walker, Eggler said, “She’s a woman who lives in London. She’s a strange and reclusive character. It’s really her idea. She’s the one who started it and brought people in.”
Silver’s office, saying it had been unaware of the situation, vowed to investigate. “We think it’s inappropriate, and we’ll look into it,” said Silver rep Michael Whyland.
Insiders sought to downplay Eggler’s position, describing him as a “junior level” employee.“Shelly Silver’s actions in dealing with these sexual assaults have been appalling,’’ said GOPer Kim Izzarelli, who is running for Assembly in the Hudson Valley. “The fact that he now has staff members using pseudonyms defending him on news sites borders on the diabolical. One has to wonder if he knows this has been going on.”
Meanwhile, Republicans slammed the deceptive advocacy campaign by the staffer.