Suicide left love message in ex-congressman's flat


NEW YORK -- A house guest whose nude body was found in the Manhattan apartment of ex-Rep Fred Richmond scrawled a cryptic love message across his chest in blue ink before apparently taking an overdose of prescription drugs, police said Wednesday.

The dead man, identified as Gregory Bergeron, 21, of New York, wrote the message, 'I will always love U X O X O X sin angel,' across his chest with a ballpoint pen backwards as if standing in front of a mirror, said Deputy Chief Rudolph Ponzini. He said police did not know its meaning.


The 'x' and 'o' letters in the message may have been the juvenile symbols for hugs and kisses. Ponzini said he did not know if 'sin angel' meant 'signed angel.'

Ponzini refused to disclose the contents of a second note written by Bergeron that also was found in the Sutton Place apartment of the congressman.

Richmond, a self-made millionaire and four-term Brooklyn Democrat, pleaded guilty Aug. 25 to federal tax evasion and drug charges and resigned from Congress. He also had admitted soliciting sex from a teenage boy in 1978.

Ponzini said police had not yet spoken to Richmond, who was believed to be in Washington, but were trying to arrange an interview with him through his lawyer. He said Bergeron was a house guest at Richmond's apartment 'off and on for about a year.'


He said police considered the case a suicide but an autopsy was being performed.

Repeated attempts to reach Richmond for comment were unsuccessful. Bergeron's nude body was discovered at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday in a bathroom by Richmond's chauffeur in the seventh-floor apartment on Manhattan's East Side.

Richmond, 58, represented one of the poorest congressional districts in the state but spent much of his time in New York at his Sutton Place apartment.

In an interview with UPI shortly before he resigned, Richmond said the mainly black and Hispanic residents of his Brooklyn district were interested in what he could do for them and not where he slept.

He stepped down amid a re-election campaign for a fifth term. He had been the target of wide ranging federal grand jury investigation and pled guilty under a plea bargaining arrangement in which the government dropped its probe of other charges against him.

Richmond will be sentenced Nov. 12 and faces up to seven years in jail.

The grand jury was also investigating Richmond's campaign financing and was trying to determine if Richmond knew that Earl Randolph, a Massachusetts man he helped to get a clerical job with the House of Representatives in 1981, was an escaped convict.


Randolph was later arrested in Manhattan on a charge of homosexual prostitution.

In 1978, Richmond admitted soliciting sex from a 16-year-old boy and an undercover police officer in Washington. Criminal charges were dismissed when he agreed to seek professional treatment. Despite the scandal, he easily won re-election.

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