Gary Condit: Wikis

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Gary Adrian Condit


Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 15th district
In office
1989–1993
Preceded by Tony Coelho
Succeeded by Norman Y. Mineta

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 18th district
In office
1993–2003
Preceded by Richard H. Lehman
Succeeded by Dennis Cardoza

Born April 21, 1948 (1948-04-21) (age 61)
Salina, Oklahoma
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Carolyn Berry
Profession businessman

Gary Adrian Condit (born April 21, 1948) is a former American politician, a Democrat who served in the House of Representatives from 1989 to 2003. Condit represented California's 18th congressional district which includes much of the northern San Joaquin Valley (when he was first elected, this district was the 15th District; it became the 18th district after redistricting following the 1990 census). He is most noted for his affair with Chandra Levy, which was exposed after Levy's disappearance.

Contents

Early life and career

Condit was born in Woodland Junction, Oklahoma, to Jean and Adrian Condit.[1] His father was a Free Will Baptist minister. He has two brothers, Burl and Darrell, and a sister, Dovie Condit Wilson.[1][2] When Condit was 14 his family moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma. He attended Nathan Hale High School where he met pep squad member Carolyn Berry; they married on January 18, 1967.[1] Carolyn is a Roman Catholic. Their son, Chad, was born in July 1967.[3 ] Daughter Cadee P. Condit was born in 1975[3 ] in California.

Condit came with his wife and young son to the San Joaquin Valley in the late 1960s, following his father. Rev. Condit had moved to California in search of a new congregation, eventually becoming pastor of the Village Chapel Free Will Baptist Church, about 100 miles from San Francisco.[1]

Condit graduated from California State University, Stanislaus, in Turlock in 1972. After a brief time with a public relations business, Condit was elected to the Ceres City Council.[1]

In 1974, Condit was elected mayor of Ceres, and from 1976 to 1982 was a member of the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors.

In 1982, Condit was elected to the California State Assembly. His campaign theme was "A Good Example."[4] While a member of the assembly, Condit was a member of the "Gang of Five," a small caucus of Blue Dog Democrats. At the time, the Democrats (led by Assembly Speaker Willie Brown) held a 44-36 majority in the Assembly. The Gang of Five threatened to ally with the Republicans, thereby setting up a 41-39 majority, and elect one of themselves as speaker, but this effort failed when Republican Assemblyman Richard Longshore died, making it impossible to get an immediate Republican total over 40 in the 80-seat Assembly.[5] (see "Gang of Five" below) [6]

Congressional career

Condit was elected to Congress in a 1989 special election, after House Democratic Whip Tony Coelho resigned. His most important committee assignment was as a senior member on the House Intelligence Committee in the months and years prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.

According to Salon, Condit voted against President Bill Clinton most frequently of all Congressional Democrats.[4] In 1998, during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Condit publicly demanded that Clinton "come clean" on his relationship with the young woman; this demand would become part of a film clip aired often during Condit's own sex scandal.[7]

Chandra Levy affair

In May 2001, Condit became the subject of national news coverage after the May 1 disappearance of Chandra Levy, a young woman working as a Washington, D.C. intern originally from Condit's district. Police questioned him twice, and Condit denied having an affair with her; however, after Levy's aunt went public with conversations she had had with her missing niece about the adulterous liaison, police questioned him a third time, and Condit confessed to the relationship.[1][8] When the affair began, Condit was 53 and Levy was 23.

While Condit was not named as an official suspect in the disappearance, Levy's family (and subsequently the national media) suspected that Condit was withholding important information about the intern's disappearance. Public interest was very high, and Condit's reputation suffered not just from the contrast between his "pro-family" politics versus his adultery with a woman two years younger than his daughter, and his attempts to mislead the police, but in particular, from an incident in July, two months after Levy vanished, in which Condit was caught trying to hide a gift box in a dumpster in one of Washington's Virginia suburbs.[1]

Suspicion deepened when Condit tried to avoid answering direct questions during a televised interview with news anchor Connie Chung on August 23. This followed news reports that Condit had an affair with flight attendant Anne Marie Smith.[9]

Condit disappeared from the news after 9/11.[10] Despite the allegations against him, Condit was allowed to keep his seat on the Intelligence Committee, and he did not lose his security clearance. Condit was one of just a handful of members of Congress who were cleared to see the most sensitive information on the 9/11 attacks.

On December 7, he announced he would run for re-election. He lost the primary election in March 2002 to his former aide, then-Assemblyman Dennis Cardoza, and left Congress at the end of his term in January 2003. It was the first election Condit ever lost.[11] Condit's most notable vote in his last months in office was the House of Representatives resolution to expel Congressman James Traficant after his conviction on corruption charges. In the 420-1 vote on July 24, 2002, Gary Condit was the sole "nay".[12]

Levy's remains did not turn up during the extensive search that followed her disappearance, but were discovered by accident on May 22, 2002, by a man hunting for turtles with his dog in a secluded area of Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C. That month, a medical examiner officially declared that Levy's death was the result of homicide.

The case remained unsolved until March 2009, when police issued a warrant naming Ingmar Guandique as the murderer of Chandra Levy. Guandique is a prison inmate who had confessed to two other attacks on women in Rock Creek Park. He was subsequently indicted for Levy's murder.[13]

Post-congressional litigation

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Dominick Dunne slander suit

Condit initiated a lawsuit against Vanity Fair writer Dominick Dunne in a New York federal court in late 2002 for $11 million, claiming that statements made by Dunne about Condit libeled him. The comments indicated that Condit ordered the death of missing Modesto intern Chandra Levy in 2001. Condit's attorney said the defamation lawsuit was based on comments Dunne repeated on national radio and television programs in December 2001 where he suggested Condit frequented Middle Eastern embassies for sexual activity with prostitutes, and during those times, he made it clear that he wanted someone to get rid of Levy. Wood said that Dunne's comments "conveyed that Gary Condit was involved in her kidnapping and in her murder, that friends of Gary Condit had her kidnapped, put in an airplane and dropped in the Atlantic Ocean." Dunne paid an undisclosed amount to settle that lawsuit in March 2005.[14] Dunne said he had been "completely hoodwinked" by an unreliable informant. Subsequently Condit sued Dunne again, charging him with "revivifying" the slander in an appearance on Larry King Live in November 2005. In July 2008 a federal judge dismissed the second lawsuit filed against Dunne.[15]

Sonoran News defamation of character suit

In July 2006, Condit sued the Sonoran News, a free weekly circular, for defamation of character, after the publication wrote "that Condit was the 'main focus in the Chandra Levy case in 2001, after lying to investigators about his affair with Levy.'"[16]

The case was dismissed in July 2007 when the judge ruled that Condit had not proved the statement was false, or that the paper had published it with actual malice.

Baskin Robbins franchises revoked

Following his congressional career, Condit moved to Arizona.[16] In February 2005, he started two Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop franchises with his wife and children in Glendale. In March 2006, Baskin-Robbins revoked the franchising agreement, claiming the Condits owed them $14,221.29. Among the corporation's complaints was that the Condits continued to use the Baskin-Robbins name after the franchises were revoked.[16]

Gang of Five

The 1988 membership of the "Gang of Five" consisted of co-founders Gary Condit and Charles Calderon of Whittier; Jerry Eaves of Rialto; Rusty Areias of Los Banos; and Steve Peace of Chula Vista.[17] Most maintained some contact with Condit through the years.

Charles M. Calderon left the State Assembly in 1990 for a seat in the California State Senate. Calderon returned to the State Assembly in 2006.

Jerry Eaves became San Bernardino County Supervisor by 2001. In that office, he was indicted four times between February 2000 and April 2002 on corruption charges including bribery, mail fraud and conspiracy. Eaves refused to leave his position as Supervisor after his indictments. Condit's Justice PAC gave $10,000 to Eaves during this time.[18] Eaves was able to "strike a deal" that kept him out of prison, but cost him the Supervisor's seat.[4]

Another "Gang of Five" member, Rusty Areias, had gone into personal bankruptcy,[4] but by 2001 was the head of California's state park system. He was expected to run from that position against Chad Condit in Chad's planned November 2001 race for the state Senate.[19]

Condit appeared in the 1988 film Return of the Killer Tomatoes, as an unbilled, unspeaking pizzeria patron during a fight sequence. "Gang of Five" member Stephen Peace was the co-writer/producer of the film, and he and Condit were both still members of the California State Assembly at the time. Wearing a trucker cap, Condit smashes a bottle on the head of a cowboy.[20] Peace moved up from the State Assembly to the State Senate, but was implicated in a utility deregulation scandal in the early 2000s.[4]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Gary Condit Profile: Levy case opens door on secret life" Undated article published between March 2002 and January 2003. CNN News. Accessed December 19, 2006
  2. ^ " Protege seeking Condit’s seat in Congress" by Brian Melley, October 23, 2001. Associated Press report in Berkeley Daily Planet. Accessed December 18, 2006.
  3. ^ a b CNN Programs - People in the News
  4. ^ a b c d e "Stunned in Sacramento" by Anthony York, July 14, 2001. Salon Magazine (online). Accessed December 19, 2006.
  5. ^ "Capitol Trivia" May 11th, 2006. Capitol Weekly. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  6. ^ "Condit family men are no strangers to criticism" By LISA MILLEGAN, BEE STAFF WRITER (Published: Monday, July 16, 2001) July 16, 2001. Modesto Bee. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  7. ^ "Chandra Levy’s Jewish Angle" by James D. Besser, July 20, 2001. Jewish Journal. Accessed December 18, 2006.
  8. ^ "Police sources: Condit admits to affair with Levy" July 7, 2001. CNN News. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  9. ^ "Transcript of Fox News' Interview With Anne Marie Smith" July 11, 2001. Fox News. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  10. ^ "Who Killed Chandra Levy?" Washington Post. July 23, 2008. Accessed Aug. 2008. [1]
  11. ^ " Condit Loses House Race To Former Aide" by Evelyn Nieves, March 6, 2002. New York Times. Accessed March 24, 2008.
  12. ^ "Gary Condit Gives Himself To The Dark Side" unsigned editorial, August 3, 2002. Modesto Bee. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  13. ^ Keith L. Alexander, "Suspect Pleads Not Guilty; Defense Decries Trial Date" The Washington Post, May 28, 2009, p. B8.
  14. ^ "Condit elusive, persistent in federal court battles" June 4, 2007.
  15. ^ "Condit's slander suit against writer dismissed" July 8, 2008. CNN. Accessed July 8, 2008.
  16. ^ a b c "Condit: Plaintiff and defendant" by Michael Doyle, July 26, 2006. Modesto Bee. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  17. ^ "Willie Brown: The Members' Speaker" by James D. Richardson, 1994. APF Reporter Vol. 16 No. 2. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  18. ^ "Some police didn't pay for guns" By Michael G. Mooney, Bee staff writer, (Published: Wednesday, March 31, 1999) Michael G. Mooney, March 31, 1999. Modesto Bee, archived at mail-archive.com. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  19. ^ "Chad Condit launches bid for Senate" by Brian Melley, November 9, 2001 Associated Press report in Berkeley Daily Planet. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  20. ^ "Archive: Condit 1" Undated, 2001. The Smoking Gun archives. Accessed December 19, 2006.

External links

California Assembly
Preceded by
John E. Thurman
California State Assemblyman, 27th District
1982-1989
Succeeded by
Sal Cannella
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Tony Coelho
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 15th congressional district

1989–1993
Succeeded by
Norman Mineta
Preceded by
Richard H. Lehman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 18th congressional district

1993–2003
Succeeded by
Dennis Cardoza

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