In a bizarre plot twist in the Maria Athens scandal, Andy Kriner is now part of the story. Not long after Athens posted her insane video on Facebook, in which she made wildly unsubstantiated claims against Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, a Twitter thread appeared that shed more light into what happened. In the thread, the daughter of Molly Blakeley explains that two years ago her mom discovered she was working as a non-sexual escort. When questioned about it she told her mom that her favorite client was a short man that worked for the State of Alaska, and provided no further details.
Okay alaska, there’s a huge story about the Mayor Ethan Berkowitz going around today and I need to tell you what actually happened.
— redhead rae ✨ (@angelbbx2) October 10, 2020
Here is where it gets real weird. According to the daughter, who asked that I not use her name, Athens was doing a story on her mom’s booze-infused cookie business on Friday. At one point Athens had voiced her disgust with Ethan Berkowitz. This is when Blakeley told Athens her crazy and untrue conspiracy theories about Berkowitz. And this is where Andy Kriner comes in. Kriner is the half-brother of Blakeley. They have the same mother, Sally Blakeley, who was previously married to Kriner’s dad. Recall that in August Andy Kriner defied Berkowitz’s order that shut down restaurants to dine-in service for one month. Kriner became a symbol of opposition to Berkowitz.
Athens’ dislike for Berkowitz is evidenced in interviews she has done. In a video Athens posted on October 8, she started off asking Anchorage mayoral candidate Mike Robbins, “As Alaska is primarily a conservative state, how did our biggest city of Anchorage, Alaska end up with a liberal mayor from San Francisco?”
The situation continued to get weirder. After Athens posted her crazy video on Friday, she was arrested for assault. She was arraigned on Saturday.
I spoke with the daughter of Blakeley, who now lives in Oregon, today over Zoom. You can listen to our conversation below. The daughter says her mom is an attention seeker who does this kind of thing often. She also said that her mom called her to tell her about what she told Athens, and that she immediately told her mom she had never met Ethan Berkowitz. She asked her mom to call the news station and tell them the truth. She stated that her mom “didn’t want to get involved because it would make her business look bad.” She also said her mom “hates Ethan Berkowitz” and “wants him out of office.” Another interesting tidbit her grandfather is Norm Blakeley, who is a member of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly. Overall a hyper loose situation.
Update: One other part of the interview. According to the daughter, after the interview about the cookie business, they both went to Kriner’s Diner. Athens called Berkowitz and made unsubstantiated claims. Her mother told Athens it was not true but Athens said, “I can make it true and ruin his life.”
A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Molly Blakeley and Andy Kriner had the same father. It has been updated to show they have the same mother.
Update: I messaged Molly Blakely before the story was published. After the story came out she responded by asking for my contact information, and then told me her lawyers would be in touch. She then sent me this statement:
This past weekend there has been numerous rumors and allegations shared on public media. These false allegations are causing harm to my friends and family and as a result I want to clarify this situation: I have not nor ever was a source for any allegations/statements/conspiracies made by Maureen “Maria” Athens. I do not have an association with Ms. Athens and disavow any rumors which attempt to make a veiled connection with her and my family. These are misguided attempts to make connections which simply do not and have never existed. These allegations appear to be the result of inappropriate attention seeking and inaccurate information. They are slanderous to my personal and professional integrity and are categorically false.
But text messages between her and her daughter, provided by the daughter, paint a different picture.
I was also contacted via email by Lucy Kriner Hollenbeck who also told me her lawyers would be contacting me.
Update: The daughter of Molly shared a voice memo that she says is her mom left her on Saturday. In the memo she admits she spoke to the police, said what she told Athens triggered her, and said she made an assumption that was wrong. You can listen to the memo here: