NEWTON — It took mere seconds of airtime for moderator Jim Braude of NECN to ask about the gambling scandal plaguing Rep. John Tierney, and the gloves were tossed to the mat last night in a primetime television debate
Republican opponent Richard Tisei pounced on the question — the first asked directly about Tierney’s family in four debates.
“He said he had no knowledge of what was going on, but both of his brothers-in-law contradicted him and said he did know what was going on,” Tisei said, referring to the multimillion-dollar offshore gambling scheme that Tierney’s brothers-in-law were running in Antigua.
Tisei then hammered the congressman on his trip to Antigua to visit brother-in-law Robert Eremian, “in the middle of the gambling operation,” as well as the $220,000 in gifts the congressman’s wife, Patrice Tierney, received from her now-fugitive brother when she managed a multimillion-dollar account for him in Salem.
“I do think there should be a congressional investigation,” Tisei said when asked if Tierney did anything illegal.
The congressman, who has been hounded by the scandal since his wife was charged with filing faulty tax returns for her brother in 2010, responded sternly.
“My two brothers-in-law didn’t say that, when the (Boston) Globe went down to visit my brother-in-law down there, he had nothing to offer them in terms of that,” Tierney said. When confronted that one of his brothers in-law, Daniel Eremian, told a Salem News reporter that Tierney “knew everything” about the operation, the congressman replied, “You can take his word, or you can take mine.”
As he has throughout the campaign, Tierney noted that the judge in his wife’s case — in which she pleaded guilty to being “willfully blind” to the true nature of her brother’s operation — said at one point that Tierney is “‘not implicated in any way, shape or form,’ and he’s right on this,” Tierney said.