Statement of Linda Zamsky
This statement was released on behalf of Linda Zamsky, Chandra Levy's aunt, by Porter Novelli Public Relations, a Washington firm hired by Billy Martin, attorney for the Levy family.
The Levy family is frustrated and outraged that Congressman Gary Condit and his associates have mischaracterized Chandra Levy's relationship with the congressman. From my many conversations with her, it was clear, without a doubt, that they were involved in an intimate relationship. She described, in detail, some of their bedroom encounters. It was also clear that when Chandra left a message on my answering machine on April 29, she was upbeat and full of life. There was absolutely no indication that she was upset. No one in her family believes that she committed suicide.
I am issuing the following statement, which was first made to the Washington Post on Thursday, July 5, to clear up any misconceptions about Chandra's relationship with the Congressman. Chandra's family feels strongly that everyone, including Rep. Condit, who was close to Chandra must cooperate fully with the investigation so that she can be found. We believe that Rep. Condit's lack of candor is hindering efforts to find Chandra. We call on him to do what he would want others to do if one of his children were missing -- give a complete account of his relationship with Chandra, what he knows about her whereabouts on the days leading up to her disappearance and any information he may have that can help investigators.
Here is my account of their relationship, based on my conversations with Chandra: I've known Chandra's uncle for eight years. I've known her for eight years. We were rather close from the very beginning, actually. She would talk about her boy friends and school and just what was going on in her life. The few times that we would chat, most of the time it was through family affairs, bar mitzvah -- her brother was bar mitzvahed, I was there. We had a family reunion down at our condo that we used to own in Florida, we had a big family reunion there, and she spoke to me there about a boy friend that she was dating, a guy that was about 10 years older than she, and they were in love and whatever, and -- so she started confiding in me from almost the very beginning of having this girl talk.
Then she came to Washington, I think in September or October, and she gave me a call and she said, "Hey, Lynn, I'm out on the East Coast, let's get together, you know, when can we get together?" I said you can come up any time you want, I'll pick you up at the train station … you can spend the weekend at my house, whatever you want to do, she said, "Okay, I'll let you know," and we chitchatted on the phone, nothing significant that I can remember, just girl talk. She was excited about her job, being here in Washington was something she'd dreamed about for quite a while, working in a government position was something she wanted to do. So she felt that she was on her way to where she wanted her career to take her.
She came in on Thanksgiving. I invited her to Thanksgiving dinner … she wasn't going back West, and her grandmother, Paul's mother, was going to be in for Thanksgiving. So she came in Wednesday night, the 22nd of November, and she told me -- I think on the 20th or the 21st of November, she said, "Oh, I can't wait to see you, I have a lot to tell you about, a lot has happened here in Washington, my job, yada yada," and so I said great … she said, "I can't talk" -- it's not like I was trying to say, well, what's going on -- she said, "No, I'll talk to you when I get there."
So I picked her up at the train station on Wednesday night, and we came back to the house and her grandmother was up for the first hour or two so it was idle chitchat, and then we had our girl talk and that's where she first mentioned that she was dating a man that was married and quite a few years older than her. And I said, "Well, how old?" and she said he was in his 50s, he was "fiftyish." And I said, that's interesting. And I said, "Well, who is he?" She said, "He's married ... Well, he's here in Washington and he goes home occasionally."
She said, "He's in the government." She didn't say he was in the FBI or this -- Congress or Senate, or she didn't say that that particular evening. She mentioned he had two kids ...
And she was just, you know, it was a new relationship, she had met him a couple weeks prior. She kind of referenced like either four or six weeks, and I don't remember exactly, but she'd been dating him for four to six weeks prior to Thanksgiving. And -- Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving Day came. That night happened. I don't think we did a lot of speaking Thanksgiving.
The next day was Friday. We went to the mall with the grandmother, we talked about -- she did talk about the boy friend then, how, you know, she wanted to spend time with him, how they'd spent time with each other.
I asked her, "How do you get in touch with him if it's so secretive, this relationship?" And she said, "Well" -- and this is when she came and accidentally said his name to me, okay? That she would dial a number, it would play music, and she would leave a message. And she said she would also call his [office]. She said, "And I would also call the office and he would -- you know, they'd answer, "Gary Condit," and that's how his name came out, "Congressman Condit's office." "Congressman Gary Condit's office," that's how the name came out.
And she goes, "Oops." She says, "Oh, you didn't hear that, did you?" And I said, "No." And of course I did, but I didn't -- I always wanted to make -- well, anybody, I like to make them feel comfortable when they talk to me. As I expect them to do with me, speak with me. So she said his name, and then she continued with how she would get in touch with him.
He would call her back after she would leave a message on the number she would dial, she would leave a message and he would call her back, 'cause she would say, "My cell phone will be on between this time and this time, you can reach me, call me if you can." She was very patient. That was something he liked about her ... He said that, "It's nice to see someone that's willing to be flexible with my schedule and my lifestyle. You know, I haven't had that in a relationship before."
So Chandra was aware … that he had had previous relationships. She didn't say that there were relationships, just that's how she knew of them. Because she was being very flexible. She was being easygoing. She didn't make demands on him.
I said, "Well, what do you guys do, if it's such a secret, what do you guys do?" And she said, "Well, most of the time, because he's so busy in his job and his political career, that he -- you know, he goes to a lot of dinners, a lot of luncheons, a lot of benefits, he just -- when we're together, we just like to hang out at his place and be together, and we can cook in or we'll go get a bite to eat and we go out." I said, "Well, how do you go out if it's such a secret?" and she said they would take a taxi … she would come out the door, grab the taxi, and then he would come out, baseball cap, jacket, kind of a little incognito, and he would get in the cab with her.
I said, "Well, wasn't he afraid that the cabby was going to, you know, know who he was?" And she said no, she said they didn't do a lot of talking in the cab, they kept everything very, you know, quiet.
And these were the rules, these were rules that she had to follow for this relationship to be flow and to be all right. He wanted, you know -- no one could know about this.
She -- I mean, when she told me his name, she was really -- I mean, I made real light of it and I kind of dummied up because I wanted her to feel comfortable, I didn't want her to be a nervous wreck talking about her boy friend. Obviously, I was one of the few people that she - one or maybe a few people that she could talk to about this, so I wanted her to feel comfortable.
… [W]hen she would go to his apartment -- she also told me this at Thanksgiving -- she would go in, go into the elevator, and if someone was in the elevator or got in the elevator with her she was to push another floor. She could not get off that floor. If someone asked her, "Oh, you look new in the building," or, "Did you just move in?" she would say, "No, I'm not new here, I'm visiting a sick friend."
So these are all little details that she had worked out with him, that kind of, you know, really shows how serious this relationship was and how serious it was that it had to remain a secret.
We also watched -- and I guess this was Friday night we watched C-Span or C-Span II, Bloomberg, wherever the Senate and the Congress go on, and she was, like, watching it -- and I know very little about politics, well, then I knew very little about politics, and she was explaining the Senator's role and the [Congressman's] role and who has more power and, you know, what kind of guy this was -- and then she described him then, when we were watching TV. I don't know, I don't remember if he ever came up on TV. I really -- I don't believe he did, because I think she would have gotten a little bit more excited and then I would have seen what he looked like, because she did describe him as looking a little bit like Harrison Ford. And she said he was lean, good shape, worked out, very conscientious about his body for 53 years old, and that's when she told me his age … I knew he was fiftyish, but she said 53.
… My husband has a Harley Davidson. And we go in and out of my house most of the time through the garage into the mud room, and our Harley's parked there, and she didn't -- she's never seen Paul's Harley. So she saw the bike and she said, "Oh, my guy drives a bike too." And I said, "He does?" I said, "Is it a Harley?" and she said, "Yeah, it's great." I said, "You know, maybe in the spring we'll get together, you guys can come out here, I don't know who he is, it wouldn't matter, you could tell me his name was Tom Jones, I wouldn't know who he is, and we can go for a bike ride together. You know? You can come out on a bike or he can rent one, whatever."
And she said, "Yeah, because his bike's not here, it's at home in California." And I said, oh, okay. And she said, "But he would never do that because he wouldn't want to be seen, you know, Paul might know him or you might -- you know, it's just that's not something he would do." I said okay, well, you know, the offer's there. If you want to come out here and spend the weekend, you're more than welcome. I mean, I said you two can go upstairs and have your privacy, it'll be your little bed and breakfast, and you don't have to see me at all, you know, if you just want to get away and be together.
Then we spoke at Christmas. She was supposed to come over for New Year's Eve, spend New Year's Eve with me. And I got sick a couple days after Christmas, so I don't know if I spoke to her once or twice, but basically I told her not to come because I was feeling terrible and there was no sense her coming to my house and possibly get sick, so she said okay and -- 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 so it didn't matter to me. I mean, I was just -- when I'm sick, I'm sick.
She did tell me -- after that I spoke with her sometime in January I spoke with her and I asked her what did she do on New Year's Eve, and she told me she went to some kind of a black-tie affair with someone, I don't know who, it was a girl friend or a guy friend, and that she saw a baseball player, somebody famous was there, David Bowie, I don't know who, I don't remember, she told me there were famous people there and she had a nice evening. I don't remember if she told me her boy friend was there or not, if the guy was there and, you know, if they looked at each other from across the room, I don't remember her telling me that.
She asked me at that time -- I told her I was on my way to go to -- I was going to Africa for the month of February and the first week in March, and I said, you know, I won't be around, so you know, if you need to talk you're going to have to talk to my answering machine, and she was happy that I was going to Africa. Bob and Susie [Chandra's parents] had been there. I think Chandra's gone with her parents there as well. So needless to say, this was my dream vacation, Africa, and I said, yeah, what are your plans, what are you going to do, Valentine's Day is coming up. "Oh," she said, she said, "I don't know," she said, she said, "Do you have any ideas on Valentine's Day?" and I said to her, "Yeah," I said, "You know," I said, "I've done quite a few crazy things for Valentine's Day." One was fill the tub up with bubbles and buy balloons and fill the bathroom with balloons …
Then I went away. And I didn't see her anymore. I didn't talk to her. Until the middle of March, we were making plans, her mother and her father and Chandra, we were all making plans to come to my house for Passover the first week in April. And she told me about -- I said, "How was your Valentine's Day? What'd you do?" and she said -- I don't remember, she might have bought him something, I don't remember what she told me, okay? I know she … said, "Well, what did you get?" and she told me she got a box of Godiva chocolate and a card, and I said oh. And that was the end of that conversation …
I said, "Look, I'm going to be busy getting ready for Passover and that's a major cooking meal," and I said, "You know, you're going to have to be specific as to when you're coming in, you can't -- I can't wait till the last minute to pick you up, you're going to have to be specific," because Chandra didn't like to commit, she wanted to always be available, and she told me this -- she didn't make plans for anything because she wanted to wait to hear from him. Okay, and she never knew where he was going because, I guess, you know, I don't know. This was her -- this is how she ran her life, and I wasn't questioning what she did with her life. She's a very independent, mature person, she knows what to do.
So I picked her up -- she called -- I called -- we played phone tag for a couple of days prior to Passover, because she wasn't in her apartment. I called her a couple of evenings, she wasn't there. And finally she called me from work one day and we made arrangements to pick her up the Friday before Passover, which was April 5th, I believe it was. And I picked her in Perryville at the train station, and we went -- and her grandmother was with us [inaudible]. And her parents weren't arriving till Saturday morning, on a red-eye, and then they were going to -- they were staying at a hotel, and they were going to sleep and then they'd come out to the house Saturday, early evening. So Chandra and I had all Friday night to talk, and part of Saturday to talk before the parents got in.
And we were at the … Pizzeria for dinner, we had pizza, we chitchatted. It was idle chitchat, nothing -- we weren't discussing the boy friend then because the grandmother was there, and she kind of -- she didn't care if she spoke in front of the grandmother, she just preferred not to. She did mention her boy friend, you know, that she had a nice Valentine's Day and that was it, like in front of her, because the grandmother would ask hey, what was going on, you know, "Are you still seeing him, I don't think you should be seeing a married man, you better be care" -- you know, grandmother wisdom words.
And then we spoke -- I don't know if it was Friday night or Saturday morning, but we started to talk about -- just went blank .… She showed me the bracelet ... We were in my living room. And this was Saturday morning. Grandma was still sleeping, the husband was still sleeping. And she showed me the bracelet on her right wrist, a gold bracelet. A chain bracelet, a very nice piece of jewelry, double clasp, and she said that he bought her this. I don't remember whether she said it was for Valentine's Day or Christmas. It was not for her birthday present because her birthday was April 14th, and they hadn't hooked up for that yet.
She had also mentioned -- I said, well, what else -- has he bought you anything else, or some -- I don't know how the conversation came up, but we were talking about plane tickets, if he did buy her a plane ticket back West. Chandra was a very practical young lady, and she didn't need frivolous things … she was going back for her testing in November, she was going back for her testing in December for her term papers, her term test or mid-term ....
Yes. So he supposedly bought her airline tickets for one of those trips or both of those trips back. I'm not sure which trip it was, or if it was both ….
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