Relatives Say Manti Te’o Was Actually Speaking to Female Cousin of Hoaxster
Hoax mastermind Ronaiah Tuiasosopo’s pretty young cousin played the part of “Lennay Kekua,” the fake girlfriend he created, The Post has learned.
Tino Tuiasosopo convinced the Notre Dame grid star that she was the real deal, calling him at school, telling him she loved him and even sobbing hysterically when another girl answered his phone, several of the woman’s relatives said yesterday.
“Tino is the girl that Manti has been talking to all these months,” said a Tuiasosopo cousin.
The revelation shoots down claims by Ronaiah Tuiasosopo’s attorney, Milton Grimes, that Ronaiah altered his masculine voice to play the part of the chirpy, flirty Kekua.
One of Tino’s relatives said Ronaiah is “determined to take the rap” for this whole hoax but that they’re “absolutely sure” the person leaving the voicemails was Tino.
Tino, in her mid-20s, lives in Pago Pago, American Samoa. She works for her dad’s construction company and is described by relatives as vivacious and flirtatious, but very involved in the church. In a profile on the social networking site BEBO from 2008, she lists “acting” as a hobby.
Tino assumed her role in the Te’o ruse after she was dumped from a long-distance relationship with another man — and there were “extraordinary similarities” between the two situations, a source said.
The man broke off the relationship in late 2011.
“She said it was OK, because she was doing better. She said she was talking to another person [and] he plays football for Notre Dame — number 5, Manti,” a source recalled.
[H/T: New York Post]