Norman Hsu sent a suicide note to a distribution list of friends and associates before he jumped bail last week. The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that the missives, which arrived via FedEx last Thursday, explicitly warned that he would kill himself over the exposure of his past business practices:
Before Democratic fund-raiser Norman Hsu skipped a court hearing and temporarily vanished last week, he typed out a suicide note and sent copies to several acquaintances and charitable organizations, according to people who received it.
The one-page note, signed by Mr. Hsu, “very explicitly said he intended to commit suicide,” said one of the recipients in an account corroborated by others, including law-enforcement officials. Mr. Hsu also apologized for putting anybody “through inconvenience or trouble,” the recipient said.
The letter, which began, “To whom it may concern,” arrived by FedEx at the addresses of several recipients last Thursday, the day after Mr. Hsu disappeared.
As the letters arrived, Mr. Hsu was on a Chicago-bound train from California. He fell ill and was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, Colo., where he was arrested. Yesterday he was released from the hospital and transferred to the Mesa County Jail, pending extradition back to California.
More details have emerged about Hsu’s strange trip from Oakland to custody. After boarding the train, he locked himself in his cabin, but he made enough of an impression on other passengers that they checked on him in the morning. When he refused to come to the door, they had the engineers pry it off the hinges, finding him wedged so tightly in a fetal position that his legs would not work. Witnesses also saw pills and pill bottles rolling around the floor, indicating that Hsu may have tried an overdose.
Hsu got released from the hospital yesterday, and today must face a court in Colorado to determine his status. California wants him back, but the feds may have an interest in him as well. Neither would be foolish enough to grant the two-time fugitive bail — or at least one would hope not, especially after all the publicity Hsu has received.
Why commit suicide? Why not just run? Hsu had the resources to make a run for it, especially given his fleecing of Woodstock impressario Joel Rosenman. Forty million could get Hsu anywhere in the world, or even a small fraction of it could get him back to Hong Kong quietly enough. Could it be that Hsu feared something even worse than exposure — even worse than prison?
Why did Hsu work so hard to corrupt so many campaigns? Who wanted to buy influence, and why?