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John Bagnariol, former House Speaker and Gamscam target, dies

Post by Peter Callaghan / The News Tribune on Dec. 7, 2009 at 9:43 am with No Comments »
December 7, 2009 9:45 am

The Associated Press is reporting that former Washington state House Speaker John Bagnariol died Sunday.

Bagnariol was speaker in 1977 and 1978. He also served as co–speaker with Republican Duane Berentson after the 1978 election ended with both parties winning 49 seats.

In 1980 he was indicted for his role in what became known as Gamscam, a state-federal sting that tempted him with campaign donations in return for helping pass bills to expand gambling. The bills never made significant progress and Bagnariol was convicted and imprisoned until 1984.

Here is the AP story

RENTON, Wash. (AP) – Former Washington Speaker of the House John Bagnariol, whose political career was cut short by the 1980s Gamscam scandal, has died of pneumonia.

Gina Bagnariol-Benevides says her 77-year-old father passed away about 6 p.m. Sunday at the Valley Medical Center in Renton.
She says the longtime Washington state Democratic politician had been ill in recent years after suffering a series of strokes. He was hospitalized Thursday after developing a pneumonia and his condition continued to deteriorate.

He was first elected to the state’s House of Representatives in 1966 for Renton and eventually rose to serve as its Speaker in 1977.
Bagnariol was sentenced to five years in prison in 1980 when he and two others were convicted of racketeering in the Gamscam case. The three were charged with conspiring to allow gambling in Washington in return for a share of the profits. He was paroled in 1984.
Bagnariol is survived by his wife Barbara, and 11 children.
Funeral Services are pending.

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