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Correction to This Article
Earlier versions of this story incorrectly identified the watchdog group that Tom Gosinski signed an agreement with as the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Its correct name is Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. This version has been corrected.
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A Tangled Story of Addiction

'I Noticed the Mood Swings'

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Tom Gosinski, then 32, met Cindy McCain while working for America West Airlines and coordinating an AVMT flight to Kuwait. She hired him in 1991.

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He grew close to the McCain family. He knew the domestic staff, as well as Cindy's father, James, and mother, Marguerite.

Thinking he might one day write a book, Gosinski kept a journal that he later turned over to investigators. His entries about AVMT suggest that McCain's behavior led employees to believe she was using drugs.

"Right away, I noticed the mood swings," Gosinski told The Post in June. "She wouldn't show up at the office, and we'd call her home. Her house staff would say she hadn't come out of her room yet. It would be 11 a.m. or noon."

As time wore on, his diary chronicled office concerns that McCain was taking pills from the charity's inventory. Gosinski developed a code for her behavior, the county report shows. On days when his boss appeared to be in a good mood, he wrote "OP," for "on Percocet." Bad days were called "NOP," for "not on Percocet."

On July 20, 1992, he wrote, "I really don't know what is going on but I certainly hope that Cindy does not get herself of [sic] AVMT in trouble."

A relative of McCain's told charity staff members that McCain's parents planned to confront her about her behavior, according to the journal. McCain has said they did so in late 1992, asking whether painkillers were causing her "erratic" conduct. Gosinski's journal indicates he heard about the confrontation the next day, Oct. 2, 1992.

McCain's relationship with Gosinski soon deteriorated. In January 1993, she ordered him to stop gossiping about her, Gosinski said. Soon after, she fired him but wrote him a glowing termination letter.

Gosinski eventually returned to America West as a travel consultant and worked part time in a bookstore.

The Investigation Begins

Three weeks after his firing, Gosinski contacted Phoenix DEA agents and gave them a copy of his journal.

The DEA questioned the charity's doctors, and McCain hired John Dowd, a powerhouse Washington lawyer, to represent AVMT. Dowd had defended John McCain in the Keating Five scandal, helping the senator win the mildest sanction of the five senators involved. Dowd declined to comment for this article.

Soon, the DEA began looking at Cindy McCain. Dowd informed Johnson, the physician, that "there's been further investigation and Cindy's got a drug problem," Johnson told county investigators.


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