Hsu to Waive Extradition

Disgraced Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu will waive extradition and return to California as soon as transportation is arranged by the authorities, his lawyer said today.

Hsu was wanted by California law enforcement for 15 years until he turned himself in earlier this month. Hsu posted bail but failed to turn up to a Sept. 5 hearing. He was captured last Thursday in Colorado after spending several hours reportedly trapped in the bunk of his Amtrak sleeper berth.

Before he skipped the court hearing and boarded the train bound for Chicago, he typed out a suicide note and sent copies to several acquaintances and charitable organizations, the Wall Street Journal reported today.


The one-page note, signed by Hsu, "very explicitly said he intended to commit suicide," one of the recipients reportedly said in an account corroborated by others, including law enforcement officials.

Hsu was released yesterday from St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction, Colo., and transferred to the Mesa County Jail pending extradition to California.

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Hsu, an apparently wealthy apparel magnate, had pleaded no contest in 1992 for what authorities have called a Ponzi-like fraud scheme involving latex gloves that cost investors more than $1 million, but never showed for his sentencing hearing at the time.

The old 1992 criminal case is pending and will be handled by the courts in due course, his lawyer said. 

Hsu's legal woes may be expanding with new inquiries into his business dealings with a New York-based investment fund. A spokeswoman for New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said that their office is investigating whether Hsu "misappropriated" $40 million investments from Source Financing Investors, an investment fund run by Joel Rosenman, one of the creators of the 1969 Woodstock rock festival. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that an attorney for Source Financing Investors had contacted the district attorney's office after checks from one of Hsu's company bounced due to insufficient funds.

Since 2004, Hsu has contributed more than $250,000 to Democratic candidates and raised hundreds of thousands more from other donors, according to public records.

Hsu reportedly raised well over $1 million for Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign by eliciting donations from others and giving generously from his own pockets. Questions have been raised in the last few days about many big contributions from Hsu's contributors, which appeared incommensurate with the modest incomes of the individuals and families who gave them.

While suspicious, no evidence has surfaced that any donations are illegal, and both Hsu and the Clinton campaign have denied wrongdoing. Clinton's presidential campaign said it donated $23,000 to charity, the same amount that Hsu had personally given her.

Her campaign will refund $850,000 in donations connected to Hsu.

Other candidates, including Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Joseph Biden, D-Del., have agreed to forward Hsu's contributions to charity as well. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., however, said he plans to keep $6,600 he received from Hsu because the donation was not illegal, his aide said.

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