Leonhardt: "Ted knew about Neil"
[B]y 2001 when Ted was gearing up to run for governor, he told me that the hardest part of that job would be "keeping Neil at arms length because he asks me to do unethical things."Leonhardt also says he told The Oregonian about Neil's misconduct five months before Willamette Week outed him, but the O sat on the story.
To read the whole thing, click here and scroll down past the money pitch.
UPDATE, 3:07 p.m.: In response to some questions I asked him earlier today, Fred Leonhardt has written:
Bernie Giusto and I became friends when he was Neil's bodyguard (of course it was Neil's wife's body he was guarding, but I was too stupid to figure that out) and I was Neil's speechwriter. In late summer 1989, Bernie told me about Neil and the girl, the details of which he had learned from Margie. I convinced myself it wasn't true, especially when we found out about the affair. Although, the fact that a lieutenant in the state police was implicating the governor in a sex crime and nothing was done about it, should have been a red flag. But I was part of the team, a true believer.
In late 1991, I was freelance speechwriting and taking care of our new baby. Ted was a frequent visitor, keeping me company, watching ball games, going for walks, etc. (We lived on NE 18th, by the way, between Klickitat and Siskyou, a half block from Imeson.) When Ted told me he was going to run for attorney general, I knew that Neil would be involved, and that Ted should be aware of the rumor about Neil in case it came up during the campaign. So, in late 1991, in my living room, I told him what Bernie had told me in '89, which included the victim's name and age. Ted's response was that he himself had warned Neil in 1988 that Margie and Bernie were having an affair. Bernie was not only not fired or disciplined, he was promoted. Ted's conclusion? Bernie must have had something on Neil; maybe the child rape story was true.
In 1994, Ted and his wife, and I and my wife, were invited to a party at Margie Goldschmidt's, co-hosted by Giusto. Ted and Mary actually rode to the party with my wife and me. I asked Bernie about Neil and the girl. He told me that she was threatening a lawsuit; he told me the names of Neil's lawyers; and he told me that Diana Goldschmidt was heavily involved in the negotiations. He knew this because Neil had asked Margie for permission to open their sealed divorce papers to show [victim's name deleted]'s lawyers that his alimony and child support payments were so onerous he couldn't meet their demands.
I immediately found Ted, parked him on the floor behind a sofa for privacy, and told him everything Bernie had told me moments before. Ted and I talked about Neil's crime many times over the years. In January 2001, Ted gave me his copy of Neil's 2000 holiday letter which referred to vacations in Tuscany and Provence and the purchase of a vineyard. Ted and I talked about how a man who had raped a child was now a contented millionaire. Ted's explanation? "Sh*t floats."
When he appointed Neil to the state board of higher ed, I called my old friend, Jeff Mapes, at the Oregonian. I asked him to meet me for a confidential lunch at Sam's Hollywood Billiards, where for two hours I told him the whole story. This lunch was later described by the Oregonian's public editor as "an anonymous tip" and by their managing editor as an old, cold trail...nothing new.
For going on the record, I was attacked by Ted and his minions as "troubled, angry and disgruntled." They said I was angry because I was fired from a job on the campaign, and I was angry because I never got a job on the campaign. The truth is, more than anyone else I created a public image of Neil Goldschmidt as a child protector and advocate. And I have two daughters. The fact that my best friend, whom I had warned about Neil, would then bring him into state government, was and is appalling. He needs to tell the truth and apologize to the people of Oregon.
Ted once told me that Neil didn't know what to think of me "because you never kissed his a*s like the rest of us." I would like those words carved on my tombstone.