Video: Hearing for Democratic money man

msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 9/13/2007 6:10:23 AM ET 2007-09-13T10:10:23

An anonymous tip to the FBI led to the arrest of disgraced Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu in Colorado, according to recently unsealed court documents. Meantime, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Hsu sent copies of a suicide note before his temporary disappearance.

Hsu had been scheduled to appear in court last week to turn over his passport and discuss reducing the $2 million bail he posted related to a 15-year-old arrest warrant. Instead, he left town and a judge issued a new arrest warrant for him.

Hsu is a Hong Kong native who appeared suddenly in the New York political scene about four years ago spreading hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to Democratic candidates around the country.

According to court documents, a tipster on Sept. 6 told the FBI in San Francisco that Hsu was in the emergency room at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, Colo.

Suicide note?
Several acquaintances and charitable organizations received a one-page suicide note, signed by Hsu, last week the day after he went missing, people who received the note told the Wall Street Journal.

Hsu “very explicitly said he intended to commit suicide” and apologized for putting anybody “through inconvenience or trouble” one recipient said, according to the paper.

A spokesman for the New York-based Innocence Project said his organization tried to contact Hsu’s cell phone after receiving the letter, but couldn’t reach him. The group then faxed the alleged suicide note to the California attorney general’s office, which was handling the 1991 fraud case.

The letters reportedly arrived by FedEx after Hsu left California on an Amtrak train headed to Chicago, where he locked himself in a sleeper cabin.

Passengers became concerned when he did not emerge the following morning, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A passenger pulled back the curtains and reportedly saw him huddled in the fetal position. Amtrak workers used a crowbar to pry the door open and found him disoriented and unable to stand.

“I could see pills on the floor, rolling around-prescriptions,” Joanne Segale, the passenger who initially saw him, told the paper.

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Hsu was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital and is in good condition, where he is under guard.

Officials said they did not know when he might be released from the hospital and transferred to the county jail. A spokesman for Hsu said he had not spoken with him.

Huge contributions
Hsu raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Democratic candidates and groups until his 1992 theft conviction, for which he pleaded no contest, came to light. Many of those candidates, including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, have announced plans to return or donate to charity Hsu’s election contributions.

Hsu had spent 15 years on the lam, until he surrendered to authorities in California Aug. 31.

Prosecutors say Hsu bilked investors out of $1 million by telling them he had a contract to buy and sell latex gloves, but he never purchased the gloves and had no contract to sell them.

Hsu has said he believed he had resolved his legal issues, but that he would halt his work raising political money.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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