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A Tale of the Two Mezvinskys

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.