In the know

Kucinich aide wants to keep the past in the past

What was all in good fun during a quirky presidential race has now become a touchy subject as Democrats may soon take control over the House.

Last week, Doug Gordon, spokesman for Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), in response to a recent characterization of his boss’s presidential run in The Hill, denied that his boss had ever suggested a national contest to land him a first lady. He also insisted the race was “principled and issue-driven.” That it was. Kucinich announced during his run that he would create a Department of Peace.

During a 2003 candidates forum in New Hampshire, the twice-divorced Kucinich said, “As a bachelor, I get a chance to fantasize about my first lady. And you know, maybe Fox will want to sponsor it as a national contest or something.  … If you are out there, call me.”

Well, Fox never called, but a website called PoliticsNH.com launched a contest to find Kucinich a first lady. The contest was a huge hit — 80 women sent love notes and David Letterman and Jay Leno had a field day. The site went from an average of 10,000 daily hits to 160,000. Kucinich had breakfast with a woman at a Holiday Inn in Concord, N.H., but there were no sparks.

“He didn’t have anything to do with the creation of the contest,” said Gordon. “Congressman Kucinich made a joke in a debate and someone took the joke and did whatever they did with that. That’s the past. He ran the presidential race to challenge the president on the war in Iraq. Diminishing his presidential campaign as a dating contest was a factual misrepresentation.”

Kucinich last year married Elizabeth Harper, a British citizen, so he now has a first lady should the need arise. The panel that he could chair, the National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations Subcommittee of the Government Reform panel, is not his until would-be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says it is. “I didn’t say he was going to chair that committee,” said Gordon. “He will discuss committee assignments on Nov. 8.”


 
‘Tancrazy’ Tancredo wants Bush to pardon agents who shot man in buttocks

Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) and his aides don’t run a normal press shop. They relish all things outrageous, and on most days, the congressman gets downright giddy over being criticized and insulted.

Recently dubbed “Tancrazy” by Esquire, Tancredo was also named one of the top 10 worst lawmakers by Rolling Stone — a distinction pointed out rather jubilantly by his press secretary, Carlos Espinoza.

In line with his usual stunts, the nervy congressman, with 11 other GOP lawmakers, recently called for the presidential pardon of two border patrol agents who shot a Mexican drug dealer in the buttocks. The agents were sentenced to a combined 23 years in prison.

“The only thing these folks may have been guilty of is picking up the shells and not making a report,” said Tancredo in a phone interview from his Denver office last week. Tancredo, who chairs the Immigration Reform Caucus, added, “In doing that, there are administrative penalties that they should have to pay, but in no way 11 to 12 years in prison.”

The agents were convicted of shooting the drug dealer as they attempted to stop him from smuggling more than 750 pounds of marijuana into El Paso, Texas from Mexico.

The Colorado congressman has sent a letter to President Bush asking the president to grant pardons to the border patrol agents. “We’re asking for that because there aren’t that many options left; legislatively I can think of none,” remarked Tancredo, who said that he doesn’t believe he has a great shot at getting the pardons.

As for being called “Tancrazy,” the congressman has “absolutely no feeling about it one way or another. It’s flattering to be identified. If you’ve been in this business as long as I have you get used to this stuff. It’s kind of cute, kind of interesting.”

The dubious honor conjures memories from when Tancredo was among 10 members in the Colorado Legislature who were called the “House Crazies,” for being hell-bent on wanting to cut taxes. “I was a charter member,” said Tancredo.


 
Weldon’s nephew says his uncle isn’t guilty

Somehow, hearing a trusted, loving family member defend a relative’s innocence rings a bit hollow.

In a recent interview with The Hill, Rick Weldon, nephew to Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) and a Maryland state lawmaker, said his uncle’s brewing scandal is not jeopardizing Rick’s career or his reputation.

Federal authorities are looking into whether Curt Weldon used his influence to help his daughter, Karen Weldon, land lucrative lobbying contracts.

At a recent forum, a Democratic official shouted out, “Tough week for your uncle.” Other than that, fallout for Weldon the nephew has been minimal. “Nothing that Curt has or has not done has anything to do with me,” he said. “I am my own person.”

Asked why he believed in the congressman’s innocence without knowing more about the case than the general public, he replied, “Because I know the man. That’s the answer.”

Next up: More Weldon relatives will declare his innocence.


 
Ex-Chreky stylist files sexual harassment suit 

Jennifer Thong, a former stylist at Andre Chreky Salon, has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Andre Chreky in D.C. Superior Court.

Until earlier this year, Chreky was the longtime stylist to first lady Laura Bush.

The suit comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed by Chreky against Thong earlier this year. When a stylist goes to work for Chreky, he or she must agree to a non-competitive clause that he or she can’t work for a direct competitor within a five-mile vicinity for six months. He claims she did just that.

In a 22-page court document, Thong, who worked at the salon from 1998 to February of this year, details a sequence of sexual harassment that she claims sometimes took violent twists and turns. 

Some of Thong’s claims:

•In the fall of 2000, Mr. Chreky made daily comments to her about the way she looked and her attire. Such statements included that she looked “sexy,” had “sexy legs,” and that he liked the way she looked in that shirt or with that lipstick.

•By the fall of 2003, Chreky repeatedly required her to come to his office at the end of the day. During the visits, he would proposition her for sex. He also promised her better work, such as assigning her to the president’s family or offering to let her travel with the president’s family in an attempt to entice her to have sex with him.

•In the summer of 2004, she accuses Chreky of sexually attacking her on a car ride home.

In response to Thong’s suit, Chreky filed a response with the court yesterday, denying any sexual harassment. The document said Thong’s departure from the salon was voluntary and that she “left in order to open a competing salon using trade secrets she misappropriated.” These “trade secrets” include her allegedly taking clientele lists for the purpose of competing with Chreky.

“We steadfastly deny the allegations in the complaint,” said Chreky’s attorney, David Sullivan, who works for the law firm of Kaufman and Canoles.

A trial date has not been set.

Thong is now a stylist at One80 Salon, 1275 K St. NW, which is less than five blocks away from the Chreky salon. Her bio states that “her talents have attracted the likes of high-profile executives, senators, congressmen and TV personalities in the metropolitan area.”

ABC News’s Karen Travers reported yesterday that Bush left Chreky for Toka Salon in Georgetown.


 
Announcements

High-roller treatment at the city tavern club

The City Tavern Club and the Indian King Society cordially invite you to Monte Carlo Night. It’s an evening of high spirits, gambling and swing dancing. Try your hand at blackjack, roulette or craps for a chance to win such prizes as golf and bird-hunting packages, jewelry and weekend getaways to Virginia bed-and-breakfasts.

Dress: black tie. Date: Nov. 11 at 9 p.m. Cost: members pay $55, non-members pay $70 (women) or $80 (men) at the door. RSVP to 202-337-8770 or RSVP@CityTavernClubDC.org. The City Tavern Club is located at 3206 M St., N.W.


 
Worst President Ever Election-night party

The Worst President Ever, an ongoing biting satire of President Bush’s presidency from actor/activist Rick Fiori, will be performed Nov. 5, 6, and 7 culminating with an election-night post-performance party at the Warehouse bar.

The Warehouse Theater is located at 1021 7th St. NW. Tickets may be purchased for $15 by visiting www.theworstpresidentever.us/ or by phoning 202-438-2970.


 
Aide and wife give baby presidential name

Kurt Heath, spokesman for Rep. Dave Weldon (R-Fla.), and his wife, Jayna, recently welcomed the birth of their baby boy, Jackson Dean. Heath insists they did not name the baby after the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. or Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

This is the couple’s second child. He was born 21 1/4 inches long and 8 pounds, 4 ounces. Their firstborn is 2-year-old Madeline, who, by the way, is not named for former Secretary of State under President Clinton, Madeleine Albright.

“He started sleeping through the night, so it’s good for everybody involved,” said Heath.


 

Tips, complaints, sightings and separated at birth: betsyr@thehill.com or (202) 628-8516.

Announcements, which include births,
engagements, deaths or any significant life event, can be sent to the above address or phone number.
 
Sean Barry contributed to this report .