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Chapter 4. Friendships

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 11:16 am    Post subject: Chapter 4. Friendships Reply with quote

available from Amazon.com:

Murder On A Horse Trail: The Disappearance of Chandra Levy
by Ralph Daugherty
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

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


"Yeah, it's great," Linda Zamsky recalls Chandra saying. Chandra was talking about her boyfriend's motorcycle when she and Linda walked past husband Paul's bike in the garage during the Thanksgiving visit. The Washington Post quotes the exchange between them:

As they walked past a motorcycle in Zamsky's garage,
Levy commented, "Oh, my guy drives a bike, too."

"He does? Is it a Harley?" her aunt asked.

"Yeah, it's great," Zamsky recalled the young woman
saying. [1]

This from a picture, or what? Having only been dating Condit four or six weeks, as Linda recalled later, with Condit's Harley back home in Modesto, Chandra would seemingly not have seen his bike.

It's possible she thought it looked great in a picture, but it's odd that Condit described someone resembling her to Flammini the previous summer, that she had one of the most prestigious paid intern jobs which the Modesto Bee reported Condit helped her get, and that she started a relationship with him as soon as she met him with Jennifer Baker. That visit was in October, four to six weeks before Thanksgiving, the same amount of time that Chandra had a new congressman boyfriend.

Chandra had arrived in Washington in September and got an apartment in Arlington. Her parents came to visit in October and were concerned about her security in Arlington and the noise of the airport, and she moved to the nicer Newport apartments off Dupont Circle, only ten blocks from the Capitol.

Coincidentally, the move to the Newport put her within walking distance of Condit's residence in Adams Morgan, about a dozen blocks away. The move close to Condit's condo was just before starting her internship but also just before her visit to Condit's office and a relationship with him. If the visit with Jennifer Baker was arranged, the move to another apartment close to him may have been suggested as well.

Denis Edeline was the co-owner of Chandra's Newport condo. The landlord recalled to the Modesto Bee: "She really wanted the apartment, but she first wanted her parents to see it, because they were concerned for her safety." She had found the apartment and was ready to move before her parents visited from California, so it may not be just a coincidence that she moved close to Condit before she was supposed to have even met him.

Chandra and Jennifer Baker continued getting their political feet wet in Washington during their internships. They attended the vice presidential debate at Georgetown University, and Jennifer was in the spotlight to ask a question. Chandra went to a breakfast for Senator Barbara Boxer of her home state of California. In November they watched election 2000 results at the Hawk and Dove on Pennsylvania Avenue where capitol hill staffers gather. Then they moved on to a Xando coffee bar to talk more election night politics.

At night Chandra stayed home and researched on the internet, according to Jennifer. [2] Her Newport neighbors rarely saw her, and never with anyone else. Chandra worked out regularly at the Washington Sports Club just a few blocks away on Connecticut Avenue. She was always friendly and pleasant, but kept to herself.

Chandra, Jennifer, and the other USC graduate students in Washington for the semester worked hard with classes and internship jobs. Finals for the semester were back in California before Christmas, and the students returned to Sacramento to take their tests. Chandra passed hers and in December completed requirements for her master's degree in public administration from USC.

But Chandra had a round trip ticket back to Washington, provided by Condit. In an e-mail to a friend:

My short trip to California wasn't much fun, I was
sick when I was in Sacramento, and I only got to go
home for one night before I flew back to D.C. The
nice thing is that the man I'm seeing took care of
my plane ticket for me! [3]

On her visit home during the trip, she also talked to her parents about the man she was seeing, and told them he was a congressman. Her father, Bob, is captured on videotape, joking that "Chandra told us all about her adventures in D.C., the Bureau of Prisons, and her congressman friend". [4] As far as they knew, the congressman was a divorced congressman in his "late forties" from southern California. [5] Susan recalls: "She kept telling me she had to keep it secret, that in five years she could make it public, that I would understand." [6]

Her mother also was puzzled by Chandra making a tape of Frank Sinatra's 'Fly Me to the Moon' even though she normally listened to classical rock. She says "Chandra said he listened to it". [7]

Jennifer Baker and her other USC classmates were home to stay, but USC friend Michelle Yanez said Chandra wanted to stay in Washington and extend her stay beyond her internship because of her relationship, but her parents wanted her to come home. [8] Despite that, Chandra visited one night and was on her way back to D.C.

With her friends back home and Condit home in Ceres as well, Chandra spent Christmas in Washington alone. She did get a gold bracelet from Condit for Christmas, but unknown to each other identical to Anne Marie's Christmas gift. First the promise of Palm Spring vacations, then gold bracelets. Identical gifts certainly made the logistics of handling two mistresses easier, one may presume.

Condit had a campaign expenditure disbursement on January 18, 2001 for $830 to Neiman Marcus in Washington, D.C. that probably would have covered the pair of very nice double clasp bracelets he got Chandra and Anne Marie for Christmas. [9] But then again, maybe not. The Neiman Marcus purchase was described as gifts to contributors, and Chandra Levy and Anne Marie Smith weren't listed as contributors to Condit's campaign. Still, he paid for them somehow.

Chandra was even more disappointed to find out Linda was ill for the New Year's visit she was going to make to Paul and Linda's. Linda says "she was kind of sad because she had spent Christmas by herself, and she hadn't gone home to the West Coast. So I could see -- I could hear that she was disappointed, but I was feeling lousy...". [10] Chandra recovered well, going to a black-tie affair on New Year's Eve with a friend.

But she was waiting for her man to come back to Washington. She e-mailed one friend: "Everything else here is going good. My man will be coming back here when Congress starts up again. I'm looking forward to seeing him." [11] And in January, Chandra was in the VIP section for the Bush inauguration.

According to Linda, Chandra was organizng her evenings to be available for Condit, avoiding making plans because she was waiting to hear from him and never knowing what he was doing. She frequently went to Condit's apartment straight from work, although Condit says that she didn't have a key and he always admitted her with the security system. [12] This is hard to believe based on a Washington Post interview with Linda Zamsky. Linda describes one phone call she had with Chandra who was whiling away a Saturday alone at Condit's apartment:

But over the winter, Levy lamented that she was
having trouble filling her long hours alone at
Condit's apartment, Zamsky said.

Her aunt asked what the apartment was like.

"Well, he grows cactus. . . . " Levy said, according
to the aunt.

"Well, get a terrarium, you know. Go to a craft
shop, get some colored sand . . . get him little
cactus and plant them in the terrarium," the aunt
said she offered.

The aunt suggested that the young woman, a
vegetarian, try "The Moosewood Cookbook." Make
dinner for him. Be helpful.

"Organize his closet," she suggested.

"It's pretty clean," Levy said.

"Well, color-coordinate everything, you know, put
all the long sleeves by color . . ." [13]
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

With her classes ending in December and no more ten hour classes on Thursday through Saturday when she returned from taking finals, the change for her after Christmas must have been dramatic. In January, Chandra told Linda she had discussed moving in with Condit. She said she could save money on rent, keep up his apartment and be there for him. She even checked with her landlord on breaking the lease to move in with her boyfriend. He offered to let the boyfriend live with her, but she paused and said that was not an option.

By February however, she told her landlord that "it didn't work out". [14] She did get Godiva chocolates and a card for Valentine's Day though.

By now Anne Marie was ironically getting suspicious about another woman. She "poked around" once in his condo to look for signs of someone else to see if he was two, make that three, timing her, but she didn't find anything.

Still, she found him very caring, thoughtful, and concerned as a boyfriend. He called her nearly everyday and wanted her to call him on layovers, or when her trips were over, and let him know she was ok. Occasionally on visits to Washington he would drive her around in an older red Ford he borrowed from his aide Mike Dayton, the rest of the time they would take cabs.

The pure duplicity of having two mistresses and a wife, none of whom know of each other, is illustrated aptly here. Condit was controlling and would get upset if Anne Marie wasn't available to him, even when he had no intention of showing up. He would tell her not to go somewhere she was thinking of going, such as Seattle, saying that he would be in San Francisco that weekend, and then not show up. One weekend Anne Marie went to Telluride and Condit got upset. He said "you know, if you want to have an open relationship, if that's how you're going to be about it..." [15]

Meanwhile, Chandra's dreams of a career with the FBI were getting closer as her work continued at the Bureau of Prisons. She was doing Internet searches and preparing daily news summaries, answering phones and mail, and working on special projects such as working with the media for the execution of Timothy McVeigh.

Jennifer Baker talked with her quite a bit about becoming an FBI agent. "That's her goal, her dream," she said. [16]

Her mother says "she thought maybe down the road, go into law school, but her dream, I think, was to go into FBI work. She wanted to go to the FBI Training Academy in Quantico..." [17] Chandra applied to the FBI in March for an analyst job.

At work, Chandra became friends with a fellow Californian, Sven Jones, 37, who had just started in public affairs at the BOP in February, sharing the same subway ride and talking. They would talk politics at Starbucks and he would walk her home at night. It is reported that he was also a member of the Washington Sports Club, but they did not work out together as she was always seen working out alone in the gym. She soon tapped into all of Sven's knowledge acquired from two degrees in psychology to share her thoughts and plans with her man in politics, without breaking the rules of secrecy and naming him.

Susan was wondering who that man in politics was that her daughter was so secretive about. When she saw a newspaper article that said their own local congressman, Gary Condit, was a teetotaler, she remembered that Chandra said her boyfriend didn't drink. But Chandra also said her boyfriend in Congress was divorced and in southern California, and Condit was very much married and local.

The Levys were soon to be making a trip east to visit Chandra, Susan's brother Paul and Linda, and Chandra's godparents, Fran Iseman and her husband, also in the Washington area. The trip was for getting together at Paul and Linda's for the Jewish Passover holiday, on April 7 in 2001, and then to stay and visit a week with the Iseman's and celebrate Chandra's 24th birthday on April 14.

Her daughter continued to worry her, and one day in late March to early April she sat in her backyard talking to her gardener, a Pentecostal minister, part-time gardener, and friend of four years, Otis "OC" Thomas. The conversation would prove to be pivotal in their lives and the lives of those they loved. It is a conversation that defies belief, yet created its own reality once it occurred.

Susan and her gardener friend the minister were discussing their daughters and, concerned about Chandra secretly dating a congressman, Condit's name came up, although Susan tells Newsweek she didn't say he was dating Chandra because she didn't know. OC recalls the remarkable conversation to the Washington Post:

Thomas, who has parlayed his weekend groundskeeping
at his Modesto, Calif., church into a weekday
freelance gardening business, has done work at the
Levy home for about four years. He had a
conversation with Chandra's mother, Susan Levy, in
April while he was tending roses in the back yard.
The conversation continued by the pool, where Susan
Levy brought him a cold drink. The two often talked
about their children, and Thomas said he asked Susan
Levy how Chandra was doing in Washington.

Susan Levy replied that Chandra was doing well and
that she had befriended a congressman, Gary Condit.

"Mrs. Levy asked me if I know Gary Condit and asked
me what I think about him," Thomas said. "She said
she was asking about him because her daughter was
friends with him in Washington."

Thomas said he remembered that his daughter had
asked him for advice about seven years ago, when she
wanted to break off a bad relationship. He said he
had been shocked when she told him the man she was
seeing was Condit, whom she said she met at a
political rally.

"Lord have mercy, I told her she has to be around
men her own age," Thomas said.

He said he advised her to end the liaison
immediately. She did so, and the two 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.

At the Levy house that day, Thomas said he and Susan
Levy talked about Condit, gingerly at first. "Then
Mrs. Levy asked me if I've ever heard anything about
him and other women," Thomas said. The two
eventually confessed to one another that both their
daughters had relationships with Condit. "I told
Mrs. Levy that with my daughter, it ended badly,
that I think her daughter should end the
relationship with him right away," Thomas said.

He remembers that Susan Levy then got on the phone
and called Chandra in Washington. He said he heard
the mother argue with her daughter. "Mrs. Levy
talked to Chandra about it, but Chandra told her
mother to mind her own business, that she was a
grown woman who could deal with it," Thomas said.

Susan Levy confirmed that she had the conversation
with Thomas and said she had sparred with her
daughter about the relationship with Condit over the
phone. [18]

OC said his daughter Jennifer met Condit at a California State local campus political rally in 1993 or 1994 when she was 18 or 19 years old. But he says she became distraught over his sexual demands and ended the relationship in a tense breakup. OC says it ended badly. Susan was then told by OC that his daughter Jennifer was warned by Condit not to tell anyone about it.

During the two year affair OC told Susan about, in September of 1994, Jennifer had a mixed-race son. It so happens that the minister and his family are African-American, and Jennifer told neighbors that her son was Mexican. No one would know otherwise. The Modesto Doctors Medical Center birth certificate has the word "withheld" written in where the father's name goes.

The emotion of sharing the story of his daughter with Susan was intense. 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." He sat with Susan in her living room as she called Chandra to pass on his warnings to her. For all their emotion and concern, Chandra told her mother to mind her own business.

Surely just as Susan believed her friend, Chandra could not have given it any credence. Her mother was telling her the man she loved, a congressman, had an affair with a black teenaged daughter of a local minister, and that it ended badly. Mind your own business? Could there be any reason to think she believed it?

1994 was a watershed year for congressional politics, with a Newt Gingrich led House running on the conservative morals and economics of the Contract with America platform. Condit supported that agenda with the Blue Dog coalition of conservative Democrats, and even was rumored to be switching to the Republican Party that year, but it didn't happen.

However, the family values that Condit espoused as a congressman were falling apart at home. Carolyn was said by friends to have returned to her parents home in Tulsa in 1994 for awhile, perhaps to help her mother move to Tampa near another sister, but even after returning to Ceres friends say she asked for a divorce as early as 1996. [19] It is during these tumultuous two years that OC told Susan that Condit had an affair with his daughter. Susan would not have known that, and it is doubtful that OC did either. Is it just a coincidence?

What would normally be inconceivable with Carolyn home becomes at least possible with her out of town. The Ceres street Richard Way conveniently runs between OC Thomas' apartment and Condit's house on Acorn Lane about a mile away. Was Condit a name picked up by OC from empathizing too much with Susan or was Condit someone who had an affair with his daughter Jennifer?

Whatever the answer, friendships had unleashed forces that no one would comprehend.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Next chapter - Explanation

Murder on a Horse Trail - Table of Contents

1. St. George, Donna, Allan Lengel and Petula Dvorak. “DC Intern Lived On
Edge of Secrecy.” Washington Post 8 July 2001.

2. Doyle, Michael. “Anxiety deep, answers few in Levy case.” Modesto Bee 12
May 2001.

3. Doyle, Michael. “Condit’s gift giving could be an issue.” Modesto Bee 22 July

4. Lauerman, Kerry. “The congressman, the missing intern and the mother.”
Salon. 22 June 2001. http://www.salon.com .

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

6. Leiby, Richard and Petula Dvorak. “The Wait of Their Lives.” Washington
Post 26 Aug. 2001.

7. Ibid.

8. Thermos, Wendy. “Student Vanishes Without a Word.” New York Times 12
May 2001.

9. “Campaign Finance Reports and Data” at http://www.fec.gov , 5 Sep. 2002.

10. “Chandra’s Aunt’s Statement.” Fox News. 9 July 2001.

11. Harnden, Toby. “Fears for missing intern linked to congressman.” Telegraph
U.K. 18 May 2001.

12. “Police Keep Quiet on Levy Investigation.” Washington Times 23 Aug.

13. St. George, Donna, Allan Lengel and Petula Dvorak. “DC Intern Lived On
Edge of Secrecy.” Washington Post 8 July 2001.

14. Lengel, Allan and Petula Dvorak. “Intern Mentioned A ‘Boyfriend’, Landlord
Says: Levy Briefly Considered Move, He Says.” Washington Post 21 June

15. Smith, Anne Marie and Jim Robinson. Interview with Larry King. Larry
King Live. CNN. 13 July 2001. Transcript.

16. Santana, Arthur. “Lack of Information Leaves Family Frustrated.” Washing-ton
Post 16 May 2001.

17. Dvorak, Petula. “Washington Lifestyle Dazzled Intern: Missing Daughter’s
Hopes, Accomplishments Comfort Parents Keeping Vigil.” Washington Post 22
May 2001.

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

19. Lehman, John and Edmund Newton. “Pol’s Teen-Wed Shame.” New York
Post 14 July 2001.

Arax, Mark and Stephen Braun. “Condit: From Success to Scandal.” Los Angeles
Times 16 July 2001.

Arax, Mark and Stephen Braun. “Days of Torment for Interns Parents.” Los
Angeles Times 7 July 2001.

Brazil, Eric. “Relationship with congressman questioned.” San Francisco Chronicle
18 May 2001.

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.

“Condit passes private polygraph, lawyer says.” CNN 13 July 2001.

“Congressman Meets With Police: Police Call Meeting ‘Productive’.” ABC News
23 June 2001.

DePaulo, Lisa. Talk Magazine article on Chandra Levy. Excerpt. London Times
U.K. 12 Aug. 2001.

Drake, John. “California assists D.C. in case.” ABC News. 15 May 2001.

Doyle, Michael. “Levy’s remains to be returned to Modesto, godparents say.”
Modesto Bee 22 May 2003.

Doyle, Michael. “Private dicks search toss intern’s apartment.” Scripps-McClatchy
Western Service 27 June 2001.

Fagan, Kevin and Jim Herron Zamora. “Family and friends call Chandra Levy
the girl least likely to vanish without a trace.” San Francisco Chronicle 1 July

Hosenball, Mark and Michael Isikoff. “A Capital Mystery Heats Up.” Newsweek
2 July 2001.

Jacoby, Mary. “Missing intern; media frenzy.” St. Petersburg Times 23 June

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

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

Kennedy, Helen. “Condit Lawyer: Lie Test OK: If FBI asks, congressman should
do it, he’s advised.” New York Daily News 30 May 2002.

Lathem, Niles. “Fly Gal: Condit Didn’t Want To ‘Pull a Newt’.” New York Post
29 June 2001.

Lathem, Niles, Steve Dunleavy, Edmund Newton and Andy Gellar. “Condit’s
‘Affair’ Teen Had Baby.” New York Post 13 July 2001.

Lengel, Allan and Petula Dvorak. “Aunt Linda Details Chandra’s Affair with
Gary.” Washington Post 6 July 2001.

“Levy case opens door on secret life: The search for missing former intern Chandra
Levy has focused the spotlight on U.S. Rep. Gary Condit.” CNN 1 June

Murray, Frank J. “Who is Chandra Levy?” Washington Times 29 July 2001.

Serrano, Richard A. and Robert L. Jackson.” D.C. Puzzles Over Missing USC
Student.” Los Angeles Times 19 May 2001.

Smith, Anne Marie. Interview with Tony Snow and Rita Cosby. Fox News. 11
July 2001. Transcript.

“Where In The World Is Chandra Levy” at http://www.geocities.com/
redd_herring.geo/chandra/chandralevy_main.html under “Q & A session with
Denis Edeline.”, 3 Aug. 2001.
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