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

AVMT employee Tracy Orrick told investigators Gosinski "would make comments like, 'I wonder how much Cindy's father would pay to keep this quiet,' referring to gossip around the office."

Kathy Walker--who is identified in the report as being "employed by Hensley & Company as Cindy McCain's Administrative Assistant and Director of Operations" of AVMT--told investigators that Gosinski told her in November 1992 that "I'm going to get her [McCain], I'm going to blackmail her if she ever fires me."

Gosinski denies ever threatening to blackmail McCain, and says he's saddened by Orrick's and Walker's statements. Gosinski claims that Walker and Orrick often joined in speculation about their job security, based on their observations of Cindy McCain.

"I truly don't understand that," he says. "I think it's noteworthy, though, that Kathy Walker is still employed by Mrs. McCain, as is Tracy [Orrick], and that Kathy Walker, in fact, picked up prescriptions written in [Walker's] name by a doctor and had them filled even though she had no need for them."
Indeed, both Orrick and Walker told investigators that they became aware that prescriptions for controlled substances were being written in their names, and Dr. John Max Johnson, AVMT's medical director, admitted writing prescriptions in the names of Orrick, Walker and Gosinski.

Orrick told investigators that when Gosinski learned that prescriptions had been written in Orrick's and Walker's names, he declared, "They'd better not be doing that in my name."

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.

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