Scores of angry people rallied Sunday in northern New Jersey to send a message to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi that he's not welcome in their community. But Joan Rivers was ready to come to the Libyan dictator’s rescue, even though she feared “roasted cows in my living room.”
The gossip queen and comedienne said Gadafi’s people offered $200,000 a week to use Rivers’ $25 million Upper East Side apartment for entertaining purposes.
“I thought it was great,” she told the New York Post’s Page Six. “I said I would give half the rent to Lockerbie.”
The other half would go to an exterminator to clean up afterward, she said.
When Rivers found out her services wouldn’t be necessary, she said it “broke my heart.”
If Gadhafi won’t opt for Rivers’ swanky pad, it’s not clear what options he has left.
Gov. Jon Corzine was among those attending the protest in Englewood, where the Libyan government has been renovating an estate ahead of Gadhafi's first U.S. visit, scheduled for next month for the U.N. General Assembly.
Gadhafi had threatened to pitch a ceremonial Bedouin-style tent on the grounds of the Libyan-owned house there, but officials say those plans have been scrapped.
New Jersey lost 38 residents in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The attack, which killed 270 people, is widely believed to be the work of Libyan intelligence.
Gadhafi gave a hero's welcome to Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the only man arrested in that attack, when he was released last week from a Scottish prison and sent home.
Speaking at the rally of some 200 people, Corzine called the Lockerbie bombing a precursor to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, noting New Jersey and New York suffered disproportionately in both incidents.
"This is a community that's still in pain,'' Corzine said. "To not have him here is a victory.''
The rally came just days after U.S. officials assured New Jersey that Gadhafi's visa would limit his travel to only New York. State Department officials have also said that they are seeking to keep Gadhafi's travel plans confined to near the U.N. headquarters in Midtown.