Clinton library benefactor helped get pardon for perjurer

March 04, 2001|By NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

NEW YORK - A major fund-raiser for the Clinton library helped get the White House to pardon convicted perjurer William Fugazy after the Justice Department shot down the request, the New York Daily News has learned.

New York supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis is a member of an elite advisory board to the Clinton library and has pledged to raise $1 million for the sprawling complex in Little Rock, Ark.

Catsimatidis says his access helped overcome Justice Department opposition. "In the last 50 years, I don't know of anyone who's gotten a pardon who hadn't paid a lot of money to a lawyer or hasn't known somebody," he said Friday. "How do you create a pardon other than talking to people?"

Clinton granted Fugazy's pardon in his last hours in office, one of more than 40 that ran contrary to the Justice Department's clemency rules.

Fugazy said Friday that he deserved the pardon. Calls to Clinton's office and Clinton's former chief of staff, John Podesta, were not returned.

Former White House counsel Bernard Nussbaum said Friday that he called the White House counsel's office to press the pardon.

In late 1986, Fugazy's consulting company, Fugazy International, owed $10 million to banks and tax collectors, records show. He filed for personal bankruptcy. During a deposition in the bankruptcy case, he lied about who owned the company, prosecutors said. Under a deal, he pleaded guilty to perjury.

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