Ron Radosh

A Tale of the Two Mezvinskys

The “wedding of the century,” as some of the press has called the Chelsea Clinton-Marc Mezvinsky event, has finally taken place. Chris Wilson and Jacob Bernstein give an account of it in the Daily Beast. The New York Times reported on the festivities and about sightings of  Vernon Jordan, Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, and other celebrities. There was a 20 piece orchestra, a huge white gluten-free wedding cake, and Chelsea’s beautiful wedding gown designed by Vera Wang who was also in attendance.  And of course, there was speculation that the event cost anywhere from $900,000.00 to $5 million, an over-the-top cost in these hard times, especially when Jenna Bush’s wedding supposedly cost a rather modest $100,000.00.

The Beast report noted the following: “A few hours after the sun came up, Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, mother of the groom, was spotted in the parking lot of the Delamater Inn,” but no mention or photos were released of the groom’s father, Ed Mezvinsky, or of Ed’s brother, Norton Mezvinsky. From the press reports, it was all about the Clintons — and although Chelsea did marry Marc Mezvinsky, he almost seemed not to have parents or family.

And the above is the subject of this blog. As it turns out, I knew both Ed and Norton. I met Norton when we were both graduate students at the University of Wisconsin.  Norton went on to teach at the City College of New York and then became a  Distinguished Professor at Central Connecticut State College. He became most well know, however, as a very strong opponent of Israel.

As various articles on Dan Pipes’ website have pointed out, Norton Mezvinsky founded a new group, The International Council for Middle East Studies, which Asaf Romirowsky calls a “radical anti-Zionist,” organization which maintains that Israel is responsible for all the problems in the region. Norton endorsed the 1975 UN resolution declaring that Zionism is racism and his strong anti-Israel views are well known in the Jewish community.

Now, writing in the American Thinker, Romirowsky and Winfeld Meyers reveal that Mezvinsky also has close ties to Lyndon LaRouche, the conspiracy minded opponent of the Rockefellers, the Queen of England, and of Israel. According to their research, Mezvinsky brought LaRouche to speak at his college and touted his increasing influence in Washington.

Norton Mezvinsky has acknowledged that he was not invited to the wedding, and is extremely hurt. He told the New York Daily News that a family dispute, and not politics, was the reason he was told that he could not attend his nephew’s wedding.  According to Mezvinsky, he supported his brother Ed’s plan to write a book about  his experiences in prison (more of this in a moment) but that Marc opposed this.

But if one is familiar with the style of LaRouche supporters, they always use their connection to players in government to prove their importance, and it is more than possible that his presence with the Clintons and others could have proved to be embarrassing.  Roger, Bill’s brother, once too was an embarrassment, but I guess he now looks like a straight arrow compared to Norton.

The groom’s father Ed was in attendance, but clearly his problems were ones that the wedding party preferred to hide. His early career would not have predicted this outcome. I met Ed in 1959-60 at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, where Sol Stern and I recruited him into the Iowa Socialist Club. I recall him as a serious and cordial young man, who joined us in the picket lines we set up at the Woolworth chain in the city, to protest their segregated policies during the period of the first black sit-ins in the South.

Later, as his biography notes, after getting a law degree from the University of California, he began a political career. The culmination of it was his election to Congress in 1972, where as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, he made a name for himself as one of the liberal members of Congress who went after Richard Nixon, and who voted for impeachment.

Like the Clintons, his marriage to Marjorie Margolies was very much a political one. She left her job as a local New York newscaster and ran for Congress herself, serving one term from 1993 to 1995. She was going to try and get the Democratic nomination for the Senate, but her husband’s business problems forced them to file for bankruptcy, and she abruptly withdrew from the campaign. A few years later, they got divorced.

After failing to proceed further in a political career, Ed turned to business, and became involved in fraudulent activities. A local Iowa newspaper told the story. Talking about Nixon, he once wrote that he was choked up at the “spectacle of a man brought to a wretched end.”  He might have been writing about himself.

He turned out to have stolen over $10 million from clients, and as the paper reported, “‘Fast Talkin’ Eddie wants to talk publicly for the first time since the day three years ago when 10 FBI agents stormed his mansion in a Philadelphia suburb and hauled out more than 80 boxes of incriminating documents.” Like Bernie Madoff, he cheated friends, friends of friends, and his own mother-in-law in his Ponzi schemes. Some called him a “one man crime-wave.”

He once met a best-selling author, convinced him to become his representative, and then — receiving the money for the author’s profits from the publisher — spent the entire amount himself. The author, Jason Theodaskis, thinks he lost over $1 million from Mezvinsky’s machinations.  When later asked what happened, Ed attributed his actions to bi-polar disorder.  Easily convicted by jurors, he served a term in prison from 2001 till April of 2008.

It is quite amazing that with all the press attention the wedding received, there was a blackout where the groom’s family was concerned.  Maybe the press was being kind to the bride and groom or perhaps intimidated by the Clintons. Chelsea knew Marc from high school, and also attended Stanford with him.  One can imagine that they gave one another solace in dealing with their embarrassing fathers: Ed in jail and Bill facing impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

The Clintons have made peace, and still stand together as a family. The Mezvinsky family, it seems, followed a different course. One can only hope that Chelsea and Marc will face calmer waters and a happy life together.