Monday, October 1, 2007

ConVicted Felon Tricked His Cousin

In her job as an income tax preparer, Reimonenq said she is always dispensing advice. It's a talent that she said could be put to good use on the council.

"I'm in touch with a lot of people," she said. "When Oliver Thomas resigned, something inside of me said, 'Gail, go for it!' "

Reimonenq's only previous brush with politics came in 2002 when she assisted a then-secret group of political operatives who bankrolled TV attack ads that helped sink former state Sen. Paulette Irons' mayoral campaign. Reimonenq was listed as chairwoman of a political action committee that bought air time for the TV spots.

The participants finally were revealed in 2005, after an investigation by the state Board of Ethics approved a settlement with the PAC's members that revealed their names.

Reimonenq said she got involved after being "tricked" by the scheme's architect, Stan "Pampy" Barré, her cousin. Barré is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to federal charges of skimming money from a City Hall contract.

At Barré's request, Reimonenq said, she opened four bank accounts where the group deposited the money used to pay for the Irons attack ads.

"I signed blank checks," she said. "I didn't know where the money was going. They were hiding behind me. I was the fall guy."

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