When it comes to schmoozing with woefully unaware politicians, K.A. “Leper-Stealer” Paul has no competition. The diminutive Indian minister has a Gump-like knack for showing up wherever the cameras are, be it during Charles Taylor’s exile to Nigeria or atan impromptu prayer-session in former House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s living room
While Paul claims to have personally counseled Sadaam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic, one of his greatest accomplishments might be flying 12 little girls in a rickety airplane from India to the U.S., where, last the Houston Press heard, they’re living in a three-bedroom apartment in Laurel, Maryland, with a woman whose professional relationship with the married minister is vague at best. Paul, whose real name is Anand Kilari, claims these girls are orphans. While that’s in dispute, one thing isn’t: pretty soon they’ll be 14 years old, around the same age of a girl with whom Kilari was allegedly conducting another “prayer session” in the Beverly Hills Hotel last April, when he was arrested on suspicion of “lewd and lascivious acts with a minor.”
So how did these 12 alleged orphans get over to the U.S. with Kilari in the first place? Well, that’s where Mike Huckabee comes in.
In 2005, Kilari was courting a bunch of politicians and rich dudes, including Cincinnati millionaire Carl Lindner Jr., for money for his “ministry,” which supposedly brought medical supplies to victims of the 2004 tsunami. In order to drum up support, Kilari figured he’d bring over a few cute “orphans” to dance at various events, including a dinner at Huckabee’s gubernatorial mansion. In e-mails between Huckabee and Kilari’s right-hand man, Doug Dodson (whose family reported him missing over a year ago), it appears that Huckabee rolled out the red carpet for Kilari, since Huckabee thought he could get in on that Lindner action. But getting visas for the “orphans” was turning into a bitch. So Dodson asked Huckabee’s help to cut through the red tape and get those dang kids on what a former Kilari employee called the “flying deathtrap.” So Huckabee said his office would work on getting a letter out to the Indian authorities.
Mon., June 13, 2005, from Huckabee to Dodson: “In Atlanta tonight – I think Brenda [staff member] is taking care of your letter. I really hope Lindner can come – I really want (and frankly NEED) to meet him. If he doesn’t make it for this, I’d like to get to know him and him to know me.”
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Same date, Dodson to Huckabee: “Technically, and most urgently, the letter is going to the U.S. Consulate in Chennai. They have granted the visas to the children pending the written invitation from your office.”
Same date, a few hours later, Dodson to Huckabee: “I too want to make sure you have the opportunity to meet the Lindners one on one. From what I see, I think there will be a great comfort level and certainly a compatibility of views. We also have several other top guns that I think may travel there for the dinner.”
But no other top guns made it, and, while investigating Kilari, Lindner’s people – like other people Kilari has claimed as supporters – did their best to distance themselves from the little dude. Even Huckabee stepped back a bit, telling the Press in an e-mail in 2006, "It's been many months or maybe a year since we have talked….I have not had much contact, but it has always been cordial."
Last we heard, Kilari has been hanging out in India. The alleged orphans made their way to Houston for a bit, before one of Kilari’s assistants drove them back to Maryland in a van. When the Press asked the Indian Consulate in Houston if they might want to check to see if the girls were being fed, schooled and generally looked after, the Consulate said they weren’t interested. Same with the Indian embassy in D.C. But it’s probably no big deal. Pretty soon the girls will be old enough to take care of themselves. – Craig Malisow