An incident involving Alaska reporter-anchor Maria Athens continues to get stranger.
Athens, an anchor and reporter for Alaska’s KTBY and KYUR stations, posted a video on Facebook late last week full of salacious, unsubstantiated and debunked allegations that Anchorage mayor Ethan Berkowitz had posted nude photos online before being arrested in an altercation at her station’s parking lot.
Now, the mayor says that he and Athens had previously been in a relationship.
“I apologize to the people of Anchorage for a major lapse in judgment I made several years ago when I had a consensual, inappropriate messaging relationship with reporter Maria Athens,” Berkowitz said in a statement on Monday. “I’m embarrassed and ashamed for the hurt I’ve caused my family and our community. I take responsibility for my actions.”
The admission of a relationship comes as more troubling details about Berkowitz and Athens emerge. In a voicemail obtained by the Alaska Landmine, a voice that sounds like Athens’ can be heard threatening Berkowitz and his wife.
“I’m so fucking exposing you,” the caller says on the tape. “I’m gonna get an Emmy. So you either turn yourself in, kill yourself or do what you need to do. I will personally kill you and Mara Kimmel my goddamn self, you Jewish piece of living fucking shit. You have met your match, motherfucker. You have met your motherfucking match.”
It’s a bizarre turn in a story that began last week with the video Athens published, in which she suggested she had uncovered damning and illegal information about the mayor. The video was shared thousands of times and remains on her Facebook page, and after the video was posted, Berkowitz emphatically denied the claims and made a public statement saying Athens was “hostile and unwell.” Anchorage police also said that a joint investigation with the FBI has found no evidence of criminal misconduct; some local reporting has suggested that the incident was a case of mistaken identity.
Following the release of Berkowitz’s statement, Athens posted a nude photo of a man whose face was not visible but who she claimed was the mayor, with the caption, “Nice try damage control.” Athens was later arrested and charged Friday with fourth-degree assault and disorderly conduct after getting into a fight with her station manager, Scott Centers.
Police say Athens punched Centers in the face and then followed him into the station, where she hit him again. When police arrived, Athens allegedly attempted to kick a police cruiser and hit an officer. The Anchorage Daily News reported that Centers and Athens were in a romantic relationship but that the dispute was work-related.
Athens posted $100 bail on Sunday. Her status at Your Link Alaska is unclear.