After Death Threat From News Anchor, Mayor Admits 'Major Lapse'

What a wild weekend in Anchorage
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2020 8:13 AM CDT
News Anchor Threatens to Kill Mayor, Who Makes Admission
Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz addresses reporters at a news conference in Anchorage, Alaska, on Nov. 12, 2016.   (AP Photos/Mark Thiessen, File)

The mayor of Anchorage, Alaska, has apologized for a "consensual, inappropriate messaging relationship" with a reporter who shared what she claimed was a nude photo of him before getting arrested. Maureen "Maria" Athens—the main anchor for KTBY and KYUR, which operate together as Your Alaska Link—had left a voicemail for Mayor Ethan Berkowitz early Friday in which she threatened to kill him and his wife, per Alaska Landmine. She then posted a video to her Facebook account in which she claimed the mayor had posted an inappropriate photo on an"underage girl's website," following that up with a nude photo that she said showed the mayor, per the Anchorage Daily News. Both posts quickly spread beyond her 2,000 followers. Anchorage Police later said the FBI had investigated and "found no evidence of criminal conduct." Berkowitz's office said the claims were "categorically false" and suggested Athens was "hostile and unwell."

The mayor's office also said station general manager Scott Centers had "emphatically disavowed" Athens' comments. Later Friday, Athens twice punched Centers, with whom she was in a romantic relationship, including once in the TV station, according to a charging document. The document also claims she hit an arresting officer. Charged with misdemeanor assault, criminal mischief, and disorderly conduct, Athens posted $100 bail on Sunday following a Saturday court appearance in which she repeatedly interjected and claimed she needed to get back to work, per the Daily News. It's unclear if she still has a job. The prosecutor said she'd trespassed on station property. On Monday, Berkowitz, 58, said he'd suffered "a major lapse in judgment" in entering the relationship "several years ago." "I'm embarrassed and ashamed for the hurt I've caused my family and our community," he added. His third and final term as mayor ends in the spring. (More Anchorage stories.)

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