Corzine gave $15,000 to his ex-girlfriend's brother-in-law Gov. Jon Corzine gave $15,000 this year to the brother-in-law of his former girlfriend, Carla Katz, a gift that appears to contradict the governor's claims that he ended all financial entanglements with the union leader and her family before taking office. Rocco Riccio, who is married to Katz's sister, received the money after the governor forced him in January to quit a Turnpike Authority job. At the time, reporters had been pressing Corzine's office for answers about Riccio's work record and how he got hired. In an interview Thursday, Corzine acknowledged that he gave Riccio $10,000 this spring and that his personal business manager, acting on his behalf, paid Riccio another $5,000 this summer. Corzine also said he and his aides told Riccio they would try to find him a private-sector job. The governor, a multimillionaire, said he was acting out of a "sense of human responsibility" to a friend who had lost his job and was teetering on bankruptcy. He said he did not believe that helping Riccio reflected an ongoing commitment to Katz or her family. "I did not think of this as a tie to Carla - period," Corzine said. "The guy is on the edge of losing his house. I know it. And I feel like he helped me. And I have the ability to help him." Riccio confirmed the receipts, which he said he used to pay the mortgage on the Burlington County house where he lives with Katz's sister and mother. A 44-year-old accountant, Riccio denied that he had done anything wrong while working in state government, but said he knew that his resignation could spare the governor more questions about Katz. He also said he quit because Corzine and his aides promised to help him get a job, but hadn't. "I was made promises to step down; they were never kept," Riccio said during an interview. "I fell on the sword for the guy." The disclosure is likely to stir a new round of questions about how the Democratic governor's love life and fortune have influenced his actions, and about the romantic relationship with Katz that has haunted him as much as any legislative issue or political stance during his short tenure.