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Lawmaker Seeks Divorce From Missing Husband

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Rep. Enid Greene Waldholtz (R-Utah), whose husband vanished over the weekend amid allegations of financial irregularities, on Tuesday announced that she was filing for divorce and seeking sole custody of the couple’s infant daughter.

Joseph Waldholtz, 32, was last seen on Saturday, days after reports surfaced that federal authorities were investigating his handling of his wife’s personal and campaign accounts. As much as $2 million may be involved, according to sources familiar with the couple’s finances.

Enid Waldholtz, 37, said that her own investigation of her husband’s activities uncovered an “incredible level of deception.”

“I want this man tracked down, arrested and punished for what he has done to me, my family and the people of Utah,” the first-term congresswoman said in a statement issued late Tuesday by her office.

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A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia confirmed that the FBI was investigating the handling of Waldholtz’s campaign and congressional office funds.

The official said that no warrant had yet been issued for Joseph Waldholtz’s arrest, but added that he, not Enid Waldholtz, was the chief object of the office’s attention.

“We would very much like to learn the whereabouts of Mr. Waldholtz and question him,” said Kevin Ohlson, special counsel to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia. “We have an ongoing criminal investigation in conjunction with the FBI.”

Ohlson said that authorities are pursuing questions of “financial fraud” involving Joseph Waldholtz’s handling of personal and campaign funds. He would not be more specific, except to say that the alleged improprieties are quite broad.

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Enid Waldholtz said she was shocked at her husband’s betrayal, adding that she would petition a court in her hometown of Salt Lake City to restore her maiden name.

“My first reaction in all this, of course, was to stand behind my husband and defend him,” Waldholtz said in the statement. “I trusted him. I was wrong. My daughter has been abandoned by her father and that is unacceptable.”

The Waldholtzes were married in 1993 after a brief romance. They met through their participation in national Young Republican organizations. Joseph Waldholtz was active in Pennsylvania politics, at one point serving as state director for George Bush’s 1992 presidential campaign.

Their daughter, Elizabeth Greene Waldholtz, was born at the end of August, making her mother only the second member of Congress ever to give birth while in office. California Democrat Yvonne Braithwaite Burke had a child while serving her first term in Congress in 1973.

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Numerous questions arose about the financing of Enid Waldholtz’s 1994 campaign for Congress, in which she spent $1.8 million of her own money. During the race, Joseph Waldholtz, who was campaign treasurer, bounced $60,000 in checks for jewelry and other gifts for his wife, and settled a lawsuit filed by American Express over $47,000 in unpaid credit card bills.

Waldholtz’s financial disclosure forms indicate that she did not possess sufficient wealth to divert $1.8 million to her campaign. She has since attributed the discrepancy to errors in the disclosure forms and promised to amend them. However, she failed to meet a self-imposed deadline of Nov. 3 for submitting new reports.

Joseph Waldholtz claimed to be independently wealthy and reported virtually no income for 1993 and 1994. He had served as an unpaid aide in his wife’s office.


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