Given his in-laws’ criminal history and the volume of money going into the account overseen by his wife, the congressman was asked point-blank yesterday if he, like his wife, was “willfully blind” to the source of that money. Tierney said, “No.”
“Yes, I was aware that both of Patrice’s brothers had a checkered legal history and were involved in the gambling business in some capacity,” Tierney said. “But clearly, the court and the authorities who oversaw his legal situation thought Robert had turned his life around.”
The money Patrice oversaw went out as quickly as it came in, he said, and never carried a high balance.
During Daniel Eremian’s trial, prosecutors alleged that Patrice Tierney received $223,000 in gifts from her brother, a figure she and her husband dispute.
“I understand that that amount is very much inflated. It was a much lesser amount over a period of a number of years,” Tierney said, though he could not say yesterday how much money his wife received.
Tierney, who said he never received any gifts from Eremian, knew from the get-go about the gifts to his wife and characterized them as payments from Eremian for attending to her brother’s children and property in Massachusetts.
During his wife’s trial, it was revealed that Tierney had visited Robert Eremian’s house in Antigua twice, but he told press yesterday that both occasions were quick visits and described Eremian’s residence as “a modest house, no casino with lights on it.”
“It seemed legal, everything we saw,” Tierney said. “There wasn’t a question of, ‘Oh, my God, is this legal or not?’”
Tierney is facing Republican challenger Richard Tisei in the general election in November. In an interview yesterday, Tisei said answers were long overdue, but that they “probably just raise more questions at this point.”