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Walter Kaye. (AP file photo)

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Key Player Profile: Walter Kaye

Donor Regretted Helping Lewinsky Land Internship

Eric Pianin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 3, 1998; Page A27

Walter Kaye, the wealthy retired insurance executive and Democratic contributor who helped line up Monica S. Lewinsky's White House internship in 1995, told the grand jury he soon regretted his intervention after hearing through the political grapevine that Lewinsky was "stalking the president."

"I heard stories that, you know, Monica had become very aggressive in the White House, you know, and [I] just felt uncomfortable with it," Kaye said in his May 21 testimony. "I couldn't imagine this kid stalking the president. . . . It was just unbelievable to me."

Kaye had known Lewinsky's mother, Marcia Lewis, and her aunt, Debra Finerman, for more than a decade (once investing in a magazine they briefly published in Beverly Hills). At their behest Kaye used his connections at the Democratic National Committee and the White House to help Lewinsky land the internship.

But he told the grand jury that he soon cooled on Lewinsky and her family after the rumors of Lewinsky's aggressive behavior began to circulate and after Lewis and Finerman began pestering him to help in getting Lewinsky a full-time paying job at the White House.

Lewis, a journalist and author, and her daughter were sharing an apartment at the Watergate, and Lewinsky needed the money to help make ends meet. According to Kaye's testimony, Lewis told him that her former husband –Beverly Hills physician Bernard Lewinsky –refused to continue to provide their daughter with financial support.

Kaye said he told Lewis and Finerman that "I'll try," but in fact did little to help Lewinsky in what proved to her successful bid for a full-time White House job. Kaye told the grand jury there was another reason he began to distance himself from Lewis and Lewinsky: He strongly disapproved of a book Lewis had recently published called, "The Private Lives of the Three Tenors: Behind the Scenes With Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, and Jose Carreras," that detailed what Lewis hinted was her exceptionally close relationship with opera star Placido Domingo.

Kaye told the grand jury that meeting Hillary Rodham Clinton changed his life. The 79-year-old insurance magnate became depressed after he retired from his New York brokerage firm in the 1990s. When he saw the first lady delivering a speech several years ago, he was won over and eventually contributed more than $300,000 to Democratic causes.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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