Rep. Gary Condit had an affair with the then-18-year-old daughter of a Pentecostal minister seven years ago, her father told FBI agents, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
The minister also told investigators into the disappearance of Chandra Levy that the congressman warned his daughter never to speak of the relationship, The Post reported.
Anne Marie Smith, the 39-year-old flight attendant who says she had an affair with the California congressman, told Fox News that Condit told her never to discuss their relationship. Condit denies asking Smith to sign a form denying their relationship.
Chandra's father, Robert Levy, said Thursday that he and his wife, Susan, "know Rev. Thomas and we do appreciate his concern." He added, "Right now we can't really comment more on that."
The Post reported that four law enforcement sources had confirmed that the FBI had questioned the minister, Otis Thomas, and that investigators are interested in talking to his daughter. Thomas, in an interview in which he described what his daughter told him of the affair, said that he has encouraged her to talk to the FBI but that she is afraid to do so and has gone into hiding.
Thomas told The Post the relationship ended in a tense breakup initiated by his daughter. He also said he decided to describe his daughter's account to FBI agent Todd M. Irinaga because he learned that the relationship was discussed by Levy and Condit in April, about two weeks before the 24-year-old intern vanished.
Thomas's daughter, who is now in her mid-20s, declined to discuss any aspect of the case. "I don't want to talk about any of that," she said in a brief telephone conversation this week.
Thomas' account of his daughter's affair with Condit has been known to the Levy family since mid-April, before Chandra disappeared, according to The Post. By then, the Levy family knew Chandra was having a relationship with the congressman, according to family members.
Thomas, who has parlayed his weekend groundskeeping at his Modesto, Calif., church into a weekday freelance gardening business, has done work at the Levy home for about four years.
According to the report, Thomas had a conversation with Chandra's mother, Susan Levy, in April while he was tending roses in the backyard. The conversation continued by the pool, where Susan Levy brought him a cold drink. The two often talked about their children, and Thomas said he asked Susan Levy how Chandra was doing in Washington.
Susan Levy replied that Chandra was doing well and that she had befriended a congressman, Gary Condit.
"Mrs. Levy asked me if I know Gary Condit and asked me what I think about him," Thomas told The Post. "She said she was asking about him because her daughter was friends with him in Washington."
Thomas said his daughter had asked him for advice about seven years ago, when she wanted to break off a bad relationship. He said he had been shocked when she told him the man she was seeing was Condit, whom she said she met at a political rally in the Modesto area, where she resided at the time.
"Lord have mercy, I told her she has to be around men her own age," Thomas said.
He told The Post he advised her to end the liaison immediately. She did so, and the father and daughter never spoke of it again, he said. "I didn't really think much about it since then, until Mrs. Levy asked me about him," Thomas said.
At the Levy house that day, Thomas said he and Susan Levy talked about Condit, gingerly at first. "Then Mrs. Levy asked me if I've ever heard anything about him and other women," Thomas said. The two eventually confessed to each other that both their daughters had had relationships with Condit. "I told Mrs. Levy that with my daughter, it ended badly, that I think her daughter should end the relationship with him right away," Thomas said.
He said Susan Levy then got on the phone and called Chandra in Washington. He said he heard the mother argue with her daughter. "Mrs. Levy talked to Chandra about it, but Chandra told her mother to mind her own business, that she was a grown woman who could deal with it," Thomas told The Post.
Susan Levy confirmed that she had the conversation with Thomas and said she had sparred with her daughter about the relationship with Condit over the phone. In mid-April, when the Levys were in the Washington area to celebrate their daughter's birthday, Chandra told her mother that she had talked to Condit about the affair described by Thomas and that the congressman had "explained it all" to her, Susan Levy said.
About two weeks later, on April 30, Chandra canceled the membership at her Washington health club. She has not been seen since.
In May, when Thomas and his daughter saw news accounts of Levy's disappearance, he said his daughter became upset. She told him that Condit had warned her after the breakup not to tell anyone about the relationship, Thomas said.
After Chandra disappeared, Susan Levy said, she asked Thomas specific questions about the relationship between Condit and his daughter, which he answered. The Levys notified the FBI, which then approached Thomas.