Just because Mary Kincaid-Chauncey says it, doesn’t make it true.
The former county commissioner convicted of taking $19,000 in bribes from the owner of a topless club has finished her 30-month sentence and is giving self-serving, factually incorrect interviews.
While portraying herself as a wrongfully convicted, sweet God-loving granny, she has repeatedly insisted that she never took a bribe, and God knows she didn’t take a bribe, yet she understands why most people won’t believe her.
Time and again, she has told television and newspaper reporters she believes she was convicted because she was tried alongside another ex-commissioner, Dario Herrera, whose sexual exploits, combined with his overt demands for bribes, made him appear as the more venal of the two. Her pitch essentially is that his sleaze slimed her.
She might believe what she’s saying, but she’s telling easily disproved whoppers.
On “Face to Face with Jon Ralston” she stated that U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks instructed the jury “that if one was guilty, both were guilty.”
Of course, that’s not only absolutely false, it’s provably false. The jury instructions said no such thing. I double-checked. Such an instruction would be ridiculous. Yet she stated it as fact.
She stated as fact that initially she thought the money was coming from Lance Malone, the former commissioner then working as Galardi’s bagman/lobbyist. Yet on the stand, she said she knew the money was from Galardi.
In her “free at last, free at last” interview with the Review-Journal, Kincaid-Chauncey said that on the tape when she thanked Galardi for money, she was thanking him for donating money to Opportunity Village. Oddly, she didn’t say that during the trial. And in her taped thank-you calls to Galardi, she never mentioned Opportunity Village. (One ludicrous moment during her testimony occurred when she told prosecutor Dan Schiess she didn’t know what she was thanking Galardi for.)
The news story continued: “She scoffed at prosecutors’ argument that when Malone called the flower shop and ordered 10 dozen roses, it meant he was going to give her $10,000.”
One problem: Federal prosecutors never argued that.
She is 70, so perhaps her memory is playing tricks.
But even if it means picking on a seemingly sweet little old lady who is beloved by her family and her church, I can’t let her creative revisionist history go unchallenged.
The jurors who convicted her of conspiracy, nine counts of wire fraud and three counts of extortion heard the recorded conversations where her own words showed she was an active participant, not just a pawn of Malone and Galardi.
Jurors heard Kincaid-Chauncey suggest that she ask for a reconsideration of a crucial vote on the commission in order to help Galardi. They heard her agree to lie and say it was Malone’s suggestion so the credit for the great idea would go to him.
Jurors heard Kincaid-Chauncey propose the idea of a vote-swap to get one commissioner to vote to allow totally nude dancing where alcohol was served by offering to support that commissioner’s choice for a justice of the peace.
She told Channel 3 when she was on trial in 2006 “there was so many discrepancies and things that were said and done. And I thought, surely the jurors can see this.”
Actually, they did see the discrepancies — her discrepancies. They watched her struggle to explain that the $4,000 she received to pay for her grandson’s ski school and the $5,000 to help her son Mark pay off his campaign debt and the free lap dances and drinks she sought for another son were not bribes. They watched her deny other payments Malone told Galardi he gave her.
Mary Kincaid-Chauncey is free to say anything she likes, but the tapes of her own voice are the evidence that her memory is spotty at best. Those of us who listened to those tapes in court and read the transcripts know that Kincaid-Chauncey flirted with Malone, conspired with Malone and took bribes from Malone — all to help one topless club owner make more money.
Kincaid-Chauncey’s version today of what happened in 2001 and 2002 is simply not the truth and the court records show she is trying to rewrite history in her image-building interviews with reporters.
She might succeed in deluding herself, but she should stop trying to delude the public.
Jane Ann Morrison’s column appears Monday, Thursday and Saturday. E-mail her at Jane@reviewjournal.com or call (702) 383-0275. She also blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/morrison/.