Giuliani takes steps to cut official role of his estranged wife


NEW YORK - Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani has stripped his estranged wife, Donna Hanover, of her chief of staff and sliced the number of officers appointed to her security detail, according to sources.

Hacking into Hanover's perks and personnel in the midst of their hostile divorce case, Giuliani ousted Kathleen Madaras, a Hanover loyalist who earns $66,000 a year. Madaras, who once worked in the mayor's office of special projects and events, will be reassigned to another agency, aides said.

Hanover's security detail will be chopped by three detectives, cutting back but not eliminating her taxpayer-paid protection. The detectives, who were reassigned Friday, were part of an advance team that arrived ahead of a visit to inspect the premises.

The move reflects what City Hall sees as Hanover's sidelined status. The message from City Hall was clear - because Giuliani no longer recognizes Hanover as the city's first lady, she no longer needs or should enjoy the benefits of a four-person, $215,000-a-year staff, extensive security or other perks of the position.

"With the reduced responsibilities, why does that office need a full staff?" asked one senior aide, who confirmed Madaras got the boot.

"With the entire change of responsibility, everything is being re-evaluated," the aide said.

While the divorce is tangled in court, Giuliani has moved in recent days to marginalize his wife's involvement in city government.

Last week, he abruptly eliminated her role as official hostess of Gracie Mansion, the East Side home that has become a marital battleground. The mayor also is considering moving Hanover's offices out of the mansion.

She long ago stopped attending most public events featuring her husband, who is now often accompanied by his girlfriend, Judith Nathan. A court has barred Nathan from Gracie Mansion, a decision the mayor is appealing.

Senior aides also said that with her diminished role, Hanover no longer has the authority to participate in her Cool Schools award program, one of her pet projects, in which she brought attention to classroom success stories.

Her supporters have hinted that she might return to court to challenge the mayor's dissection of her office perks and personnel.

Hanover's lawyers, Helene Brezinsky and Victor Kovner, declined to comment yesterday. An aide who answered the phone at Hanover's Gracie Mansion office said Madaras is on vacation. Giuliani, in a Manhattan appearance yesterday, said nothing about Hanover or his divorce case.

Although she has been ousted as Gracie Mansion's official hostess, Hanover is expected to attend and speak at a breakfast there June 13 for breast cancer awareness, given by the Greater New York City Affiliate of the Susan Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. The group sponsors the annual Race for the Cure in Central Park in September. Hanover is the foundation's honorary chairwoman.

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