SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

December 31, 2013

Tragedy and hope in 2013

Top stories of the year a mix of highs and lows

(Continued)

Residents secured more than 3,500 petition signatures to force a special election on Feb. 8. If voters overturn a decision by the City Council to rezone a parcel of land on Brimbal Avenue, the entire project could be scuttled.

Ethics Committee closes Tierney investigation

The year 2013 was when Salem Congressman John Tierney finally could put behind himself questions about payments his wife received from her brother for managing his financial and household affairs when he moved to Antigua.

Or was it?

On Sept. 11, the U.S. House Committee on Ethics voted unanimously to close the matter, saying the “evidence was inconclusive” as to whether payments to Patrice Tierney were gifts or income, and that the evidence available “does not warrant a finding that Representative Tierney intentionally mischaracterized the nature of the payments for financial disclosure purposes.”

Prosecutors have said Patrice Tierney’s brothers, Robert and Daniel Eremian, ran an illegal gambling business in Antigua. While Robert Eremian was living out of the country, Patrice Tierney managed a bank account for him here. In addition to taking care of Robert Eremian’s personal affairs, she also wrote checks to herself from that account that she characterized as gifts.

Whether the whiff of scandal will impact Tierney’s political future remains to be seen. The Democrat faces a primary fight this year from Seth Moulton, a Marblehead native, Iraq War veteran and businessman; and from Marisa DeFranco, a Middleton immigration attorney who has also run for U.S. Senate.

Tierney may also face a rematch with former state Senate Majority Leader Richard Tisei, the Wakefield Republican who narrowly lost his bid for Tierney’s seat in 2012. Tisei has reportedly filed paperwork for an exploratory run for Congress.

Tierney later announced he was setting up a fund to cover legal expenses from the House Ethics Committee’s three-month investigation, for which he is responsible.

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