Congressman John Tierney told the area's media on Wednesday that his two brothers-in-law are "trying to blame anyone but themselves" with their recent claims that he knew about their illegal activities. He also suggested that an angry and bitter Daniel and Robert Eremian lashed out because "their brother-in-law in Congress didn't make this go away for them."
Local media spent about 45 minutes asking Tierney about the two brothers of his wife, Patrice. Last week, Daniel Eremian received a three-year sentence for gambling-related charges and made news when he claimed that Tierney had known about the family's illicit business pursuits. The brothers indicated that Tierney allowed his wife to plead guilty because he was concerned about a House Ethics Committee investigation. However, Tierney said at the press conference that he had never been concerned about such an investigation, and insisted that he had kept himself out of his wife's legal case.
"There was no good scenario for my professional life one way or the other here," said Tierney.
Daniel's brother, Robert, has remained in Antigua for about the past decade to avoid U.S. gambling charges, and he added to the story by vouching for Daniel's claims in a separate Boston Globe interview. On top of that, Tierney's wife served a 30-day sentence last year for filing false tax returns and other charges connected to her brother's enterprise.
"It was only after the sentence that Daniel's anger turned to innuendo," said Tierney. The eight-term Democrat declared that "I'm telling the truth, I've always told the truth," and expressed confidence that the district's voters would support him because "I do a good job, I share their values, I fight for them, and I work for them."
Tierney worked to defend his wife from the media spotlight, and maintained that the entire media spectacle is largely the work of two malicious brothers in law. "This is weighing very heavily on her," said Tierney, adding that it would be even more painful for her if he was to walk away from politics as a result of his critics. "My in-laws happen to be quite a bit different than most people's in-laws," he told a reporter at another point.
Tierney Highlights Wife's Aid To Family Members
He also described how Patrice had helped care for the Eremians' teenage children after their father had run afoul of the law, presenting an image of an extremely dysfunctional and self-destructive family environment.
Eremian later started providing some money to help pay any related bills, explained Tierney, saying that he never received any money from his brother-in- law. Eremian may have also on a couple of occasions paid his sister's car lease bill, and Tierney also rejected reports that his wife had received about $220,000 from her brother, saying that the amount was closer to $12,000, spread out over years. Tierney also noted that these gifts would have been non-taxable based on their amounts. "It's a smaller amount than that, and that amount's over a period of time."
The Congressman said that one reason he and Patrice did not believe Robert Eremian was running an illegal gambling operation was that the brother in law happened to be paying a considerable amount in taxes at the time. Tierney also said he and his wife had not suspected Ermenian of illegal activity when they visited him because he was already subject to a court order from a previous case.
A Heavily Partisan Re-Election Race
Tierney also cast his re-election campaign as a broader battle against a far-right agenda being promoted by congressional Republicans, and he said that Republican opponent Richard Tisei is simply looking to capitalize on the current matter for political gain.
"Still, despite that, my political opponents have tried to make wild accusations at me and at Patrice at every opportunity," said Tierney, "And I know that my brothers-in-law, who harbor anger and bitterness, will continue to try to attack both of us."
For its part, Tisei's campaign released a pre-emptive strike to the media shortly before Tierney took the podium in Salem.
"A very pertinent question for the Congressman today is 'why now.' said Tisei in a Wednesday afternoon statement. "Would he even be holding this press conference if he wasn't facing battle for re-election? Sorry to say this, but I doubt it very much... This press conference should have been held long ago. These are serious issues."