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Congressman Says Home Purchase Was 'Pretty Much Aboveboard'

President Bush implied the elder stateswoman Queen Elizabeth II was over 200. But what was her response?
President Bush implied the elder stateswoman Queen Elizabeth II was over 200. But what was her response? (By J. Scott Applewhite -- Associated Press)

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By Al Kamen
Friday, May 11, 2007

Rep. Paul Gillmor (R-Ohio) has a nifty new 3,751-square-foot, four-bedroom house in suburban Columbus, Ohio, next to a golf course designed by the great Arnold Palmer.

The $1 million house has some unusual characteristics. It's not in his congressional district, but sits about 90 minutes away from the condo that he uses as his official residence.

Even more curious is that Gillmor's name appears nowhere on the property records. The Toledo Blade, after some fine digging by reporter Joshua Boak, found that the owner is Zenith Holding & Trading Corp.

That, in turn, is a subsidiary of a Columbus law and lobbying firm -- Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease -- whose PAC has contributed $6,500 to Gillmor's campaigns since 1997.

The firm sent the paper a letter saying that Zenith has the property in trust "at the request of, and for the benefit of" Gillmor, who paid the mortgage and taxes.

Gillmor's office initially declined to confirm the address, saying Capitol Police suggested for security that lawmakers not give out such information, the paper reported.

But Gillmor acknowledged that he retained Zenith to buy the property on his behalf.

"There's nothing unethical or unusual," he told the paper. "It's all pretty much aboveboard." He said the deal was transparent because the Blade was able to trace it back to him, the paper said.

In a follow-up letter to the newspaper, Gillmor said he considers the properties outside his district to be "only real estate investments." Why this purchase? "I just felt like it," he told the Blade. "I don't have to explain why I moved to a different house."

"Pretty much"?

Toss a Helmet in Your Carry-On for That Iraq Jaunt

Has the surging euro crimped your Paris summer vacation plans? How about Baghdad? There are bargains to be had, and everyone's talking about how the security situation is improving there after four years of war.

Even so, it pays to be cautious, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad tells us, even in the hyper-guarded Green Zone. "All American citizens are urged to consider this information carefully when making plans to travel to U.S. government facilities, especially in the International Zone," a May 3 advisory to government personnel says.


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