Opiate for the Mrs.

When laws are broken, somebody's got to be punished. In the case of Cindy McCain, that somebody is Tom Gosinski

Some prescriptions were for quantities of 400 and 500 pills. Sometimes, Cindy McCain would go to Johnson's home to pick up the prescription. Sometimes, she would send an underling, Johnson said.

Johnson told investigators that he never dispensed any painkillers during overseas missions, and that Cindy McCain carried the drugs in her personal luggage. Gosinski says he knew of no doctors who prescribed them on an overseas mission. Dr. Dennis Everton, however, tells New Times that on his sole AVMT mission--to Kuwait in 1991--he did prescribe pain medication.

Johnson told investigators that he wrote prescriptions in employees' names even though he knew it was improper. Johnson said he also wrote two prescriptions for painkillers for Cindy McCain, although he was unaware that she was addicted to them. Johnson is being investigated by the Arizona Board of Medical Examiners, which has the power to revoke or suspend his license.

The report raises questions about Walker's veracity. Orrick told investigators that after Gosinski was fired, she received four or five inquiries from prospective employers. She says he forwarded the calls to Walker after specifically informing her of their nature. When Walker was interviewed separately, however, she denied receiving inquiries from prospective employers. Instead, she stated that unidentified people had called, asking where Gosinski could be located.

"Ms. Walker seemed somewhat confused on this issue but stated that no prospective employers had called her," the investigative report states. "It should be noted that Tracy Orrick previously stated that four or five prospective employers did call AVMT requesting to speak with the personnel manager. Tracy said she turned these calls over to Kathy Walker."
The discrepancy may be significant, because although he has yet to offer solid proof, Gosinski believes that AVMT sabotaged his job prospects elsewhere.

It also seems noteworthy that throughout the wide-ranging county extortion probe, nobody from AVMT was asked to verify the condition of the organization's finances at the time Gosinski was fired because of a funding shortfall. AVMT appears to be intertwined with Hensley & Company, the beer distributorship owned by Cindy McCain's father. In fact, when Gosinski was hired at AVMT, he filled out an employment form from Hensley & Company.

In letters urging county investigators onward, Dowd asserts that Stan Lubin, who initially represented Gosinski in his lawsuit against AVMT and Cindy McCain, was persuaded to quit the case after meeting with Dowd and fellow AVMT attorney Gary Stuart in February and March of 1994. "We informed Mr. Lubin that Mr. Gosinski's allegations were false and presented facts refuting the allegations," Dowd wrote. "As a result of the meetings, Mr. Lubin decided to terminate his representation of Mr. Gosinski."

Not so, says Lubin.
"For him to say that I withdrew because of so-called irrefutable evidence is an absolute lie. I never said that," Lubin tells New Times.

In his February 4 demand letter to McCain's lawyers, Lubin wrote, "Due to the sensitive nature of the circumstances surrounding her actions, Mr. Gosinski has kept the allegations in the complaint very general. . . . I am sure you recognize what he has done to keep the sensitive matters from exposure."

He also stated that Gosinski was willing to settle the suit for $250,000.
What John Dowd views as extortion, Gosinski and Lubin view as compassion.
"Based upon what I knew at the time, and what I think today, he [Gosinski] was wronged," Lubin says. "He was treated badly. And I think he has some legal remedies.

"What's wrong, then, with writing a demand letter and saying in it, 'Hey, nobody needs publicity. Let's resolve this. We have a legitimate claim. Let's resolve this quietly.' . . . And so I said what I said with that in mind. And I'm not going to retract one word of it.

"Dowd is trying to make a lot of noise with it, but, good God, look at what he's doing. He's threatening someone with criminal action if he files a lawsuit. . . . There's a lot of things that get done that you try to keep quiet, not because of any evil motive but because you have some compassion. And this is what's happened to Gosinski, who said to me, 'Good idea, yes, let's keep it quiet. I don't need any ink. They don't need any ink. This woman is ill. We don't need ink. I just want to be remedied.'

"That is not extortion. To claim that it is is bullshit."

John Dowd may have unleashed the media hounds on Cindy McCain, and he might never get an extortion charge filed against Gosinski. But local defense attorneys who have monitored the case say there is little doubt that he has secured a highly favorable deal for his client with federal prosecutors. First and foremost, the case has remained a federal one. That's unusual.

"Federal prosecutors routinely throw this stuff to state prosecutors," says one Phoenix attorney. "The DEA and the U.S. Attorney's Office are not in the habit of popping penny-ante drug offenders."
Second, the federal pretrial diversion program requires complete confidentiality, which is required at this stage of the investigation in any case. Moreover, although it is not clear what laws the feds believe Cindy McCain has broken, it seems likely that her offenses would be treated as misdemeanors.

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