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Chapter 19. Exposed

 
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Joined: 13 Sep 2002
Posts: 9218
Location: Jacksonville, FL

PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 8:42 am    Post subject: Chapter 19. Exposed Reply with quote



available from Amazon.com:
http://www.amazon.com


Murder On A Horse Trail: The Disappearance of Chandra Levy
by Ralph Daugherty
iUniverse
ISBN: 0-595-31847-9


Murder on a Horse Trail: The Disappearance of Chandra Levy also available free to read online here on www.justiceforchandra.com




OC Thomas and daughter Jennifer's apartment. Gary Condit would drive past the apartment to get out to Highway 99 using Richard Way.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Exposed


OC Thomas had been questioned by the FBI shortly after Chandra disappeared, when Susan Levy asked him specific questions about the relationship he had told her about between his daughter Jennifer and their congressman, Gary Condit. She then called the FBI, who approached OC to talk to him.

Special Agent Todd Irinaga conducted the interview and also wanted to talk to Jennifer, but OC told them she was afraid. She refused to talk to the FBI for weeks despite him trying to convince her that she would be safer by telling her story. Jennifer was still at home with her parents and her now six year old son, but the FBI didn't press her about talking for two months.

At the same time, as Linda Zamsky told the FBI and Washington Post what she knew about Chandra and Condit, she told of the role that OC Thomas and Susan Levy talking in the Levys' garden and calling Chandra may have played in her disappearance. The Levys were at a minimum disturbed at her sudden disappearance after warning her about Condit. The Washington Post followed up by approaching OC to interview him. Allan Lengel and Petula Dvorak of the Washington Post describe it:

Thomas, 54, was approached by the FBI in May, after
Levy's parents told investigators that Thomas had
told them in mid-April that his daughter had had a
relationship with Condit. In six lengthy interviews,
Thomas, a part-time gardener at the Levys'
California home, told the Post that his daughter had
broken off the relationship with Condit and that
Condit had warned her at the time not to tell anyone
of the affair. [1]

Thomas said he did not think about his story until
Levy disappeared and her family encouraged him to
come forward. When the FBI approached Thomas, the
minister described an affair that he said had taken
place in the mid-1990s, after his daughter met
Condit at a political rally on a college campus.
Agents tried to meet with the daughter, who is now
26, but Thomas told them she was in hiding. [2]


OC was also interviewed by Jeff Jardine of his hometown newspaper, the Modesto Bee, and told them the same story, a fairly detailed history of his daughter's relationship and breakup with Condit. But as he was being interviewed by reporters, he told them and the Levys, even calling Paul Katz and Linda Zamsky in Maryland, that he had just received an anonymous threatening phone call, a "very intimidating" experience he told them, since they knew things about his family. "Shut up and listen,", he was told. "Don't talk to anyone about Condit". [3]

It was too late. Word was out to the press, and they were staking out his apartment complex. A few days before July 12, after weeks of interviews with the Washington Post and Modesto Bee, as well as an interview with the FBI, he agreed to go public to help find Chandra. They published his story on July 12.

But in trying to get Jennifer's confirmation for the story, she would have none of it. "I don't want to talk about that," she told the Washington Post when she answered the phone, and she told them she didn't want her picture in the paper.

OC said his daughter was scared. Anne Marie Smith understood why. She told Helen Kennedy of the New York Daily News:

"She's very scared and I totally understand where
she's coming from," Smith said after being grilled
for 12 hours over two days by investigators probing
Condit.

"I don't need to be afraid anymore - they reassured
me. I feel much better. But now I'm worried about
[Thomas]." [4]


The story came out, and this note was posted on the Thomas' door:

My name is Jennifer Thomas. This letter is to anyone
with an interest in me or my father. We are not
interested in an interview, we do not want to be on
TV for any reason. I will tell you that I never knew
Mrs. Levy's daughter. I never met that congressman
who's involved in all this.

I don't even have an interest in politics as it is.
Mrs. Levy's daughter and I were never friends in
school or anywhere else, I don't even know if we
went to the same school or something together. I
don't know this family personally. I never met Mrs.
Levy until she showed up at my father's house
looking for me. I don't even know how both me and my
father got mixed up in this, we don't know anything
so stop calling us and showing up at our door.
Jennifer Thomas. [5]


OC Thomas wasn't around to see the note though. He had told his downstairs neighbor, Betty Hoffman, three days earlier that the FBI suggested he leave town to avoid the media, and she hadn't seen him since. She also said that Jennifer Thomas had a mixed-race son, who Jennifer told her was Mexican. She said of OC's story, to Timothy Burger and Helen Kennedy of the New York Daily News:

"I would never have thought it," said Hoffman, 47,
of her neighbor's reported liaison with Condit. "She
don't seem like the type. Very, very, very quiet.
Very, very, very shy."

But Hoffman said Rev. Thomas wouldn't lie. [6]


Vince Flammini didn't believe it for a second, and he was Condit's driver in Modesto in 1994. He told Jeff Jardine of the Modesto Bee:

"That's a bull---- story," Flammini said. "I worked
for him all through that time. I was his driver.
I've never seen that girl in my life."

Flammini also disputed that Condit took Thomas to
his home in Ceres, as her father contends.

"Gary would never do that," said Flammini, who
earlier confirmed Condit's relationship with Smith,
the flight attendant. "There's no way I ever took
girls to Gary's house. I don't know how it could
have gotten by me." [7]


OC Thomas, his wife, and Jennifer lived in a Ceres apartment complex about a mile down Richard Way from Condit's Acorn Lane home, but did they live there in 1993? That would be within walking distance for the college freshman who her father said was helping with Condit's campaign, and Flammini wouldn't necessarily need to be involved. But if Jennifer told her father she went to Condit's house and didn't, was any part of her story true?

Jeff Jardine of the Modesto Bee reports on what others thought of OC Thomas:

Others affiliated with his church, the Prayer
Mission Church of God in Christ in Modesto, said
they do not believe he would fabricate a story such
as the one he has told regarding his daughter and
Condit.

"I just can't see him doing that," said Ester Ard,
wife of the church's pastor. "He's a very caring
person. There's nothing he won't do for a person."

Thomas was described as compassionate, honest and
upstanding. He served as a pastor at another church
until heart trouble forced him to retire. Thomas
does volunteer maintenance at Prayer Mission Church.

Pamela Niblett, who occasionally attends the church,
described Thomas and his wife as giving.

"They're good people," said Niblett, 34, of Modesto.

Thomas' daughter does not attend the church, Ard
said. [8]


The pastor's wife of OC Thomas' church doesn't mention another daughter, a twin daughter. On Wednesday July 11, when reporters were getting the story for the next day's release of this story, neighbor Betty Hoffman thought Jennifer was home:

Thomas told the Post his daughter is afraid to talk
with the FBI and has gone into hiding, but Hoffman
said Jennifer Thomas works at a local fast food
restaurant and was home Wednesday. [9]
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The next day reporters learn that Jennifer has a twin sister, Janet:

Meanwhile, the FBI tried to find Jennifer Thomas,
the California woman whose father claims she went
into hiding for fear a previous relationship with
Condit would be discovered. [10]

A neighbor in the complex said Jennifer Thomas has a
twin sister named Janet. The neighbor, Betty
Hoffman, said media who went to the apartment
Wednesday night probably spoke with Janet and not
Jennifer, who is believed to still be out of the
area. [11]

Her twin sister, Janet, has refused to talk to the
media. [12]

Did Jennifer and her little boy leave with her dad three days earlier to avoid reporters? CNN reports the note signed by Jennifer Thomas was found on the door on Thursday. The previous evening reporters had been banging on their door and Betty Hoffman said Jennifer was home. The next day a note is up signed by Jennifer Thomas but the neighbor says they were probably talking to Jennifer's twin sister, Janet.

Did Jennifer write the note before she left? Did Janet write it and sign it Jennifer? Does Jennifer even have a twin sister Janet? Jeff Jardine and Michael Mooney wrote this in the Modesto Bee:

The Stanislaus County Library has received numerous
requests from the media to take photographs of Levy
from Davis High School yearbooks. So the library
staff simply listed on the cover of each book where
her photos could be found inside.

Likewise, there have been requests to take pictures
of a photo of Jennifer Thomas, and there is a
Jennifer Thomas in the 1993 Modesto High School
yearbook. [13]


And that 1993 Modesto High School picture of Jennifer Thomas was displayed in news articles, labeled as an undated high school photo. The problem is that it is a 1993 junior picture of a Jennifer Thomas who went to Modesto High School, and there is no Janet Thomas picture along with it.

For Jennifer Thomas to be going to the California State Stanislaus campus in nearby Turlock in 1994 as her father described she would have to have been a 1993 high school graduate, requiring a senior picture in the 1993 yearbook. And where was her twin sister?

Was this the wrong Jennifer Thomas displayed in the newspapers? Maybe Jennifer got her wish and her picture wasn't in the paper. On the other hand, they currently lived in Ceres. Did the 1993 yearbook in the Ceres High School library have senior pictures of Jennifer and Janet Thomas?

If not, what does it mean for the Thomas' to have moved from Modesto to Ceres close to Condit's house after going through something which made OC Thomas cry telling Susan Levy about it? Susan told the Modesto Bee: "I had him in my living room and he was full of tears," she said. "...I've never seen a man broken up like that."

Also not mentioned in OC's story as reported by the Washington Post and Modesto Bee is any reference to Jennifer having a child during the relationship. The New York Post reported finding a birth certificate with father's name as "withheld" and noted it was during the alleged two year relationship, but no quotes from OC or Susan Levy concerning it.

The New York Daily News referred to the possibility of Condit "siring the son of a minister's daughter in Modesto, Calif." because the minister "told the FBI she was seeing Condit when her son was born in 1994."

In fact, what he did tell the Washington Post is the opposite of any long term link to Condit such as a child:

He said he advised her to end the liaison
immediately. She did so, and the father and daughter
never spoke of it again, he said. "I didn't really
think much about it since then, until Mrs. Levy
asked me about him," Thomas said. [14]

For OC to have been shocked for Jennifer to tell him she was seeing Condit and wanted advice with the problems she was having with him, he would have to have known or thought someone else was the father of his grandchild.

Was the name of the father withheld from her parents as well as on the birth certificate? What father would demand such secrecy? Why was the child not mentioned by the Levys or the Washington Post? Was this to protect the child?

Susan Levy did not specifically say that she mentioned the child when she called Chandra to warn her about Condit, nor is it clear what if anything OC told her, the FBI, and the Washington Post about Jennifer's child in his story. But whatever he told them, when OC returned to Modesto he stood by it. He told the Washington Post:

"Why would she lie about that? Why would I lie about
that? I have nothing to profit from this," Thomas
said. Of his daughter, he said: "She's so angry with
me, she doesn't even want to talk to me. She's
scared. She's a very quiet and shy person to begin
with, so she doesn't want all this attention." [15]

He would answer his own question a few days later. The FBI now wanted to talk to Jennifer, and OC "backed off" his story, according to the FBI. [16] OC Thomas told Allan Lengel and Petula Dvorak of the Washington Post why he told Susan Levy the story in the garden:

"I just figured I would try to comfort her a bit,"
Thomas said. "I just dug a hole I could not get out
of. I can't really explain something like that."

Thomas said that every time he shared his story --
with the Levys, the FBI and The Post -- he was
"hoping it would go away." Instead, the media
descended on the apartment complex after his story
was published, straining relations with his
relatives. "They were hurt," he said of his family,
adding that he and his wife have spent many days
crying.

Thomas said he met the Levys -- the session took
place at the FBI offices in Modesto -- and told them
that he had fabricated the story and apologized. He
said federal authorities had mentioned obstruction
of justice charges but also said this was unlikely
if his current version holds true. [17]

The FBI concurred:

"After what we believe to be a thorough
investigation of allegations previously made by O.C.
Thomas regarding Congressman Gary Condit, we believe
these allegations to be unfounded," Chris Murray,
spokesman for the FBI in Washington, said yesterday.
[18]
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a mighty interesting story, wouldn't you say? Imagine making up a story out of thin air and then retelling that story so consistently and with no obvious validation errors over two months to Susan Levy twice, the FBI, the Modesto Bee, and the Washington Post six times that they all found it credible.

Odd that he could just make up details like his daughter being a campus rally volunteer for Condit when he met her, having a two year affair, and his daughter having to break off the affair out of fear because of strange sexual demands from Condit.

What strange details to sit and make up as you cry and warn Chandra's mother. Odd that a minister would make all this up and sit and listen to her mother call Chandra and hear her be told to mind her own business. How comforting is that?

Isn't later making up his daughter yelling at the tv "that's a lie" and the telephoned threat where he was told to "shut up and listen" and then given a warning he found "very intimidating" to be an extremely imaginative embellishment, to say the least?
Some investigators thought he was backing off his story to protect his daughter. Paul Katz believes his story is true. He tells Larry King:

KING: Do you know Reverend Thomas?

KATZ: Yes, I met him.

KING: And do you believe him?

KATZ: Yes, I believe him.

KING: And why, then, is the daughter -- or was the
daughter denying it?

KATZ: I think that clearly the daughter was
frightened and, therefore, was not willing to come
forward. He sat there in Susan's den and poured his
heart out to the Susan, Bob, and I. And the
sequence, so far as I see it, in the way that it
happened is that he revealed to Susan and the
situation between his daughter and the congressman,
Susan immediately called Chandra on the phone.

Chandra's response was: I'm big enough to take care
of myself. Don't worry about it. And a week later,
she called Susan back. Tells Susan, I talked to him
about it. It's nothing to worry about. A week after
that. Chandra disappears....

The other part about this whole thing is that you
know, when -- when the reverend called and spoke to
Linda and myself, he told us about how he was
physically -- well he was threatened, verbally over
the phone.

KING: By whom? Did he tell you who?

KATZ: Just some male voice. Didn't mention any
names, just a male voice. And he was clearly
frightened. And, you know, just these events.
There's clearly something submerged still to be
discovered about all of this. [19]


Susan Levy believes his story is true. She tells Newsweek:

What did you make of Otis Thomas, your gardener, who
said his daughter had also been involved with Condit
and who took back his story?

MRS. LEVY: Even though he apologized to me because
he lied to me, my intuitive gut feeling was that he
wasn't [lying]. I can't see how someone could have
brought up a story like that in the first place if
it wasn't [true].


When did you and Mr. Thomas have this conversation
about his daughter's alleged involvement with
Condit?

MRS. LEVY: Early April, end of March. We were
talking about daughters in general, and it just kind
of came out about his daughter. I didn't tell him
anything about whom [Chandra] was seeing because I
did not know. But I used a mother's intuitive thing
to put two and two together and that's how I knew,
and I asked my daughter about it directly afterward
on the phone. And told her to be careful, because I
didn't want her to get hurt. [Later] she told me she
had talked to her friend and she said, "Everything's
OK. He knows everything," and then a little bit
later my daughter no longer has her job and a few
days later she disappears. What can I say? Kind of
strange to me. Real strange.


You think that conversation was pivotal?

MRS. LEVY: I have no idea. I know the relationship
was supposed to be very secret. And something
happens and it gets out, and all of a sudden my
daughter's missing. I feel responsible in a way.
Maybe if I hadn't raised that story, things would be
different. I don't know. It makes me wonder. [20]


Consider that the story of the staffer Joleen McKay who gave Condit the watch whose box he threw away in a public park trashcan just before his apartment was searched and the details of this girl's father's story all took place in 1994, a long time ago with all the details of a true story to blurt out to a worried mother as he prunes her roses.

The coincidence of Susan Levy telling a gardener that she's worried about her daughter dating an unnamed Congressman and the gardener's 18 year old daughter also having a relationship with a congressman who later turns out to be the same man defies imagination.

Yet OC Thomas answered questions that made believers of Chandra's father, mother, and uncle, suspended disbelief for six interviews from hard core Washington Post reporters, not naive to the political implications of this, and kept the FBI intrigued for months.

Just out of curiosity, how would Jennifer entering a witness protection program have been handled any differently?
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Next chapter - Rock Creek Park
http://www.justiceforchandra.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2541

Murder on a Horse Trail - Table of Contents
http://www.justiceforchandra.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2562


Exposed
1. Lengel, Allan and Petula Dvorak. “Minister recants story about Condit,
daughter” Washington Post 21 July 2001.

2. Lengel, Allan and Petula Dvorak. “FBI Concludes Minister Invented Tale
About Condit.” Washington Post 31 July 2001.

3. Jardine, Jeff. “Minister: Daughter had affair with Condit.” Modesto Bee 12
July 2001.

4. Burger, Timothy J. and Helen Kennedy. “Police hunt for Chandra’s body;
Condit balking at taking lie test.” New York Daily News 13 July 2001.

5. “Letter denies alleged affair with Condit.” CNN 12 July 2001.

6. Burger, Timothy J. and Helen Kennedy. “Police hunt for Chandra’s body;
Condit balking at taking lie test.” New York Daily News 13 July 2001.

7. Jardine, Jeff. “Condit Denies Affair With Teen.” Modesto Bee 13 July 2001.

8. Ibid.

9. “Feds open criminal inquiry into whether Condit obstructed justice.” Associated
Press 12 July 2001.

10. Burger, Timothy J. and Helen Kennedy. “Police hunt for Chandra’s body;
Condit balking at taking lie test.” New York Daily News 13 July 2001.

11. Jardine, Jeff. “Condit Denies Affair With Teen.” Modesto Bee 13 July 2001.

12. Jardine, Jeff and Michael G. Mooney. “Save Mart: ‘Explicit’ coverage goes
too far.” Modesto Bee 17 July 2001.

13. Ibid.

14. Dvorak, Petula and Allan Lengel. “Minister Says Daughter, at 18, Had an
Affair With Condit.” Washington Post 12 July 2001.

15. Lengel, Allan and Petula Dvorak. “Minister recants story about Condit,
daughter” Washington Post 21 July 2001.

16. Ibid.

17. Lengel, Allan and Petula Dvorak. “FBI Concludes Minister Invented Tale
About Condit.” Washington Post 31 July 2001.

18. Ibid.

19. Olson, Barbara, Mike Geragos, Cynthia Alksne, Julian Epstein, and Lisa
DePaulo. “Will Chandra Levy ever be found?” Interview with Larry King. Larry
King Live. CNN. 30 July 2001. Transcript.

20. Levy, Susan. Interview. Newsweek. 13 Aug. 2001.

Brazinet, Kenneth R. and Helen Kennedy. “D.C. Park Combed For Clues.”
New York Daily News 18 July 2001.

“Condit takes polygraph.” ABC News 13 July 2001.

Jardine, Jeff. “Levys keep their hopes alive.” Modesto Bee 1 Aug. 2001.

Kennedy, Helen. “Condit Evidence Dumping Probed.” New York Daily News
21 July 2001.

Lathem, Niles, Steve Dunleavy, Edmund Newton and Andy Gellar.
" Condit's 'Affair' Teen Had Baby. " New York Post 13 July 2001.
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