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Nancy Silberkleit, the colorful co-CEO of Archie Comics, has entered the race for mayor of Rye, New York, a city of about 16,000 in Westchester County. News of her candidacy follows a report that she has filed a sexual-harassment against her longtime friend Sam Levitin, who served as her liaison following her bizarre yearlong legal feud with the publisher and Co-CEO Jon Goldwater.
A 22-year resident of Rye, Silberkleit is running as an independent against city councilmen Joe Sack and Peter Jovanovich after securing 1,000 signatures to be placed on the ballot for the November election; just 377 were required.
Silberkleit, who has no political experience, was an art teacher in New Jersey before the death in 2008 of her husband Michael Silberkleit, son of Archie co-founder Louis Silberkleit. She and Goldwater were the subjects of flattering media profiles when they assumed the roles of co-CEOs in 2009 (Goldwater’s half-brother Richard Goldwater had passed away in 2007), but it was what happened afterward that drew the most attention.
Archie Comics sued Silberkleit in July 2011, accusing her of “offensive” behavior, including the bullying and sexual harassment of employees, that dated back to her arrival at the company. She countered that Goldwater was a chauvinist who had orchestrated a “smear campaign” to seize complete control of Archie, and sought $100 million in damages for defamation. From there, the dispute became only more heated and bizarre, with a bid in January 2012 to have Silberkleit removed as a director and CEO and an order barring her from entering the company’s headquarters or doing any work for the publisher.
The feud was settled in June 2012, with Silberkleit permitted to return to the offices and resume her duties overseeing the company’s scholastic and live theatrical endeavors. However, the confidential agreement was opposed by the granddaughters of Archie co-founder John L. Goldwater, who accused both Silberkleit and Jon Goldwater of wrongdoing.
Addressing the legal battle, Silberkleit told Hometown Media Group last week, “That was just wild, bizarre, over the top. I think it shows I’m not a person who will fold. I’m a person of character.”
As mayor, she said her primary goals would be to generate more money for Rye and to encourage more communication and collaboration among city council members, and between the city council and the public. She would also focus on flood mitigation.
Silberkleit promised that her duties as mayor wouldn’t affect her job at Archie Comics. “I don’t have my husband anymore,” she said, “so I can take care of a city.”