Longform

Opiate for the Mrs.

Page 5 of 10

October 2, 1992: Well, it is done. Last night Jim and Smitty confronted Cindy regarding her dependency to prescription drugs and she admitted to her addiction. I understand that she told the Hensleys her addiction was rooted in her unhappiness--her marriage--and that she took the pills to mask her depression. The Hensleys told Cindy they knew she had a problem because of her severe mood swings and her change in character. They also said her meanness towards others was not excusable and must stop. . . .

October 6, 1992: All shit hit the fan yesterday!
Jeri Johnson called Dr. Moffo to ask him not to fill anymore prescriptions for Cindy McCain. Dr. Moffo said he had not been filling any prescriptions for Cindy--it seems Cindy has been using Tom's DEA number to obtain her drugs.

Jim Hensley called Cindy this morning and told her not to use Moffo's number again. She denied she had used the number and since then has been trying to contact Moffo. God knows what she will say to Moffo if she reaches him. Also, Cindy was trying to reach Dr. John Johnson. She is either trying to do some quick damage control or she is going to set somebody up for the fall. . . .

October 7, 1992: More of the same.
Yesterday the Tom Moffo issue became more complicated. After Jim Hensley confronted Cindy with information about her using Tom's name to obtain drugs Cindy called Moffo to question him. Moffo told Cindy he would not do any follow-up, i.e., turn her in, but told her to never do it again.

This morning Cindy called me to inform me that she and Max Johnson had contacted the DEA and asked that an investigation be conducted to 'investigate allegations made against her.' She said a 'bogus' phone call had been received which made wild accusations about her and that she believed the phone call was 'political.' Cindy also said she had called the supposed originator of the call and that the individual denied ever making the call. . . .

October 28, 1992: I am still concerned about Cindy McCain's drug problem--it seems her parents are falling into a denial mode and believe that time will heal Cindy's problem. . . .

November 3, 1992: Tonight I am attending an elections return party at the McCains' home. . . . John is expected to win his race by a landslide. . . .

January 11, 1993: Cindy was in the office today--first time in a couple of months. She and I met with John Bircumshaw to discuss an April fund raiser and John's grant-writing efforts. Shortly after the meeting, Cindy, very casually told me that I won't be traveling to Calcutta next week, instead I am to stay in Phoenix to work on the Navajo Nation project. God only knows what all of this means. . . .

January 13, 1993: Chalk up another day at AVMT.
Yesterday was going great until I got a call from Cindy McCain who stated that she heard I was mad because I wasn't going to India.

I explained to Cindy that when she told me I was not going to be traveling to Calcutta I was upset because of the inconvenience that the last-minute change in plans had caused.

. . . It is evident to me that AVMT is in serious need of an organizational change. . . . Our shot gun approach to providing medical care has minimal impact when a focused approach on a specific area or type of care could significantly impact the target constituency. . . .

January 15, 1993: Well yesterday was certainly a bang!
For the first time in my life I was fired from a job. Cindy asked me to come to her office so that we might speak. She immediately handed me a termination letter and began a speech of praise. She thanked me for my contribution to AVMT, for my loyalty and stated she would be 'forever thankful' for what I had done for her newest daughter, Bridget McCain.

End of chapter.

Tom Gosinski knew something was up that day, because Cindy McCain was actually in the office. His co-workers would later tell a county attorney investigator that he took the news well, but Gosinski says his outward appearance was deceiving.

"I don't know that I was that well-composed on the inside," he says. McCain allowed him to stay through January, at his request, and offered a month's severance pay.

Typed on AVMT stationery, McCain's letter read in part: "It is with deep regret and a heavy heart that I must terminate your position with AVMT. Your termination is due to the decline in contributions and our inability to continue to pay you at this time. Your service both to a small nonprofit such as we are and more importantly to the suffering peoples of the world is commendable. . . ." She offered her assistance in finding another job and signed the letter "Respectfully."

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Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at amy-silverman.com.
Jeremy Voas