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Gary Adrian Condit (born April 21, 1948) is a former Americanmarker 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 Valleymarker (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.

Early life and career

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

Condit came with his wife and young son to the San Joaquin Valleymarker 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 Franciscomarker.

Condit graduated from California State University, Stanislausmarker, in Turlockmarker in 1972. After a brief time with a public relations business, Condit was elected to the Ceresmarker City Council.

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

In 1982, Condit was elected to the California State Assembly. His campaign theme was "A Good Example." 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. (see "Gang of Five" below)

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 Citymarker and Washington, D.C.marker

According to Salon, Condit voted against President Bill Clinton most frequently of all Congressional Democrats. 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.

Chandra Levy scandal

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.marker 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. 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.

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.

Condit disappeared from the news after 9/11.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. 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".

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 Parkmarker 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 Parkmarker. He was subsequently indicted for Levy's murder.

Brothers in public eye

Investigations uncovered details relating to the activities of Condit's two brothers. His brother Burl, a police sergeant in Modesto, California, had shot himself in the buttocks during a frivolous firing episode and was the focus of a 1999 gun-buying scandal. Burl claimed to have taken one gun from the police department's surplus property, though records showed he took nine; there was confusion about how many, if any, of the guns he paid for.

Burl Condit twice ran unsuccessfully for the office of Stanislaus County Sheriff. His opponent, Jim Trevena, complained that Burl was illegally using his brother Gary's campaign funds in the race for sheriff. Gary was a state assemblyman at the time and had not yet won his Congressional seat. By 2006, Burl Condit had left the police force and was working as part-time civilian city employee assigned to the police department's weapons training range.

In 2001, Condit's other brother, Darrell Wayne, was wanted on outstanding warrants from Modestomarker (drug possession) and from Darrell's then-current residence, Floridamarker (DUI). In 1998, Darrell had resisted a ticket in Ceres for riding a bicycle on the wrong side of the road, telling the arresting officer that his Congressman and police sergeant brothers would get the Ceres officer "in big trouble."

Darrell's arrest record at the time of the Levy scandal extended from 1968 through 1996. Florida wanted him for probation violation with a bond set at $50,000. He had been charged by Monroe County, Floridamarker in November 1996 with driving with a suspended license, driving under the influence of alcohol and possession of marijuana. The probation violation arose from the DUI charge.

In the uproar over Gary Condit's possible connection to Levy, his brother Darrell was tracked down and arrested July 21. Reporters uncovered Darrell's history of federal and state convictions for drug possession, check forging, and vehicle theft. The Los Angeles Times made references to Darrell's methamphetamine addiction and "needle-scarred body" that were quoted by other news outlets. Although Gary and Darrell were not close, there was rampant (and unfounded) speculation that Condit might have involved his "criminal brother" in arranging Levy's disappearance, so much so that Darrell was put into solitary confinement for his own protection when Florida picked him up.

By 2005, Darrell Condit was using the name Hop Condit, and trying to raise money for a fireworks display in Cave Creek, Arizonamarker. A local newspaper cast aspersions on his actual purpose and qualifications, and reported extensive details of his criminal history and incarcerations and stated that Hop Condit was not his only alias, asserting that he also uses the name of a former cellmate, Stanley Johnnie Buchanan. Gary Condit would later unsuccessfully sue the newspaper for their passing reference to him in this article about Darrell. (see "Sonoran News" below)

Post-congressional litigation

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. 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.

Sonoran News defamation of character

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.'"

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 Arizonamarker. In February 2005, he started two Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop franchise with his wife and children in Glendalemarker. 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.

Son and daughter prosecuted for PAC fraud

On January 10, 2006, the California Fair Political Practices Commission filed a $2 million suit against Condit's son Chad and daughter Cadee, alleging violations of the Political Reform Act in relation to Justice PAC.

The FPPC enforcement actions against both Condit children were dropped quietly in 2007.

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. 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. Eaves was able to "strike a deal" that kept him out of prison, but cost him the Supervisor's seat.

Another "Gang of Five" member, Rusty Areias, had gone into personal bankruptcy, 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.

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. Peace moved up from the State Assembly to the State Senate, but was implicated in a utility deregulation scandal in the early 2000s.

See also



Notes

  1. "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. CNN Programs - People in the News
  4. "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. "Are Condit’s Brothers Off Limits?" by Roger Friedman, July 18, 2001. Fox News. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  15. "One dies in fiery two-car collision" by Daryl Farnsworth, January 24, 2004. Modesto Bee. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  16. "Larry King Live: Jon Sale" July 25, 2001 Larry King Live interview with Darrell Condit's attorney, Jon Sale. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  17. "Conservatives stage rally demanding Condit’s recall" Associated Press Report July 18, 2001, published in the Berkeley Daily Planet. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  18. "Does Gary Condit's Character Count?" July 23, 2001. Larry King Live interview with Darrell Condit's attorney, Jon Sale. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  19. "Hop-along Condit comes to town" by Linda Bentley, July 27, 2005. Sonoran News. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  20. "Condit elusive, persistent in federal court battles" June 4, 2007.
  21. "Condit's slander suit against writer dismissed" July 8, 2008. CNN. Accessed July 8, 2008.
  22. "Condit: Plaintiff and defendant" by Michael Doyle, July 26, 2006. Modesto Bee. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  23. "Press Release: FPPC Civil Enforcement Action Posted on Website Due To Public Requests" January 13, 2006. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  24. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2007/06/21/state/n153244D74.DTL&type=politics
  25. "Willie Brown: The Members' Speaker" by James D. Richardson, 1994. APF Reporter Vol. 16 No. 2. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  26. "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.
  27. "Chad Condit launches bid for Senate" by Brian Melley, November 9, 2001 Associated Press report in Berkeley Daily Planet. Accessed December 19, 2006.
  28. "Archive: Condit 1" Undated, 2001. The Smoking Gun archives. Accessed December 19, 2006.


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