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Cisneros to Pay $49,000 to Settle Suit by Former Mistress
By Guy Gugliotta
Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros agreed to pay his former mistress $49,000 yesterday to settle the 1994 lawsuit that prompted an independent counsel investigation into false statements he made to the FBI.
In papers filed in District Court in Lubbock, Tex., lawyers for Cisneros and Linda Medlar sought to dismiss the case. Cisneros agreed to a one-time payment, and Medlar agreed to make no further claims against him.
Settlement of the Texas suit has no bearing on the independent counsel investigation pending against Cisneros for making false statements to the FBI about the size of payments he had made to Medlar from 1990 to 1993. A three-judge federal panel has not yet named the counsel.
Medlar, jobless and impoverished in Lubbock, sued on July 29, 1994, charging that Cisneros breached an "oral contract" he made with her in 1990, at the end of their three-year love affair. Medlar said Cisneros agreed to pay her $4,000 per month until she got a job or until her daughter graduated from college -- $256,000 in all.
Cisneros's lawyers late last year moved for dismissal on grounds that there was no contract, but the motion was denied late last month. The settlement agreement was concluded last week, said Floyd Holder, Medlar's lawyer.
"This was about money," Holder said. "My client was broke and she needed money; now she's still broke, and she still needs money, but now she's got some. That's what it was always about -- not sex, not greed, not power."
A statement released by Cisneros's lawyer, Seagal Wheatley, said his client agreed to the settlement even though he is "not now nor had he ever been" obligated to Medlar. The statement said Medlar and Cisneros agreed never again to discuss their relationship in public.
Details of the affair, begun in 1987 when Cisneros was mayor of San Antonio and Medlar was a political fund-raiser, have been well-known for years, but the Lubbock case marked the first public mention of Cisneros's payments. In all, Cisneros gave Medlar $213,000, stopping in mid-1993 after he became Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: "I tried to be helpful," Cisneros said.
He said he had told the Clinton transition team and the FBI about the payments during background checks prior to his HUD confirmation. But on Sept. 12, in an appearance on the tabloid television show "Inside Edition," Medlar said Cisneros had "lied to the FBI" about the size of the payments.
Medlar provided 14 transcripts of taped telephone conversations with Cisneros to buttress her claims.
The Justice Department began to review the Medlar allegations, and on March 13, Attorney General Janet Reno asked for an independent counsel to investigate possible criminal violations.
Reno said that the Justice Department had determined that Cisneros had made "false statements" to the FBI about the size of the payments to Medlar.
Reno asked the independent counsel to determine whether Cisneros's statements had made a difference in his confirmation, and to determine whether Cisneros and Medlar had conspired to conceal information from the FBI.
© Copyright 1995 The Washington Post Company
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