White House “Prop” Has Drug Record

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

A CBS reporter has discovered that one of the three people who were posed behind President Barack Obama at last week’s Rose Garden speech about the need to extend unemployment compensation lost her job last year shortly after being convicted of prescription drug fraud.

CBS19’s Jessica Jaglois is reporting that Leslie Macko was one of three people chosen to stand behind the podium in the Rose Garden last week, and was even photographed holding hands with the president at one point during his speech.

“We need to extend unemployment compensation benefits for women like Leslie Macko, who lost her job at a fitness center last year, and has been looking for work ever since,” the president said during the July 19 speech. “Because she’s eligible for only a few more weeks of unemployment, she’s doing what she never thought she’d have to do. Not at this point, anyway. She’s turning to her father for financial support.”

It seems evident that no one in the White House knew at the time that Ms. Macko was found guilty of prescription drug fraud in March, 2009, just one month before losing her job as an aesthetician at a gym in Charlottesville, Virginia. She served a one-year probationary sentence.

Phil Wendel, the owner of the gym, was unable to say if Macko was terminated because of the conviction and CBS reports that there is no indication from the court file that Macko lost her job because of the case.

Ms. Macko refused to comment to the press.

CBS also contacted the White House to determine if they knew the full story behind Macko when they chose her to stand with the president that day, but have thus far received no comment.

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