IC Report on Reagon-era HUD Details Pattern of Abuse FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Wed, 4 Nov 1998 02:25:07 -0400


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http://washingtonpost.com:80/wp-srv/WPlate/1998-10/28/036l-102898-idx.html
FWD Washington Post - Wednesday, October 28, 1998; Page A17


REPORT ON HUD DETAILS 198Os PATTERN OF ABUSE
Probe Nears Completion After 8 1/2 Years

                        By Bill Miller
                        Washington Post Staff Writer


It's the longest-running independent counsel investigation in history, and
it's not quite over yet.

Yesterday, an 8 1/2-year probe into favoritism within the Reagan
administration's Department of Housing and Urban Development took a big
step toward completion with the release of findings that accused
high-ranking former officials of a "monumental and calculated abuse of the
public trust."

The HUD investigation, sparked by congressional hearings into allegations
of favoritism in the awarding of federal housing money, has lasted so long
it has required two leaders: Arlin M. Adams got it started in March 1990
and Larry D. Thompson followed five years later.

Both independent counsels signed off on yesterday's findings, which they
said revealed "a pervasive pattern of improper and illegal behavior" within
HUD programs during the mid-1980s.

Although one case remains pending, Adams and Thompson decided to move ahead
with their "final report" submitted to the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court
of Appeals.

The probe is the longest in the 20 years of the controversial independent
counsel statute, but it is not the most costly. As of March 31, it has cost
taxpayers $28.1 million, compared with the Iran-contra investigation, which
cost $47.4 million.

"High-ranking HUD officials put their own interests ahead of those of the
members of the public they were charged to serve and protect: the poor and
homeless of this nation," the three-volume report stated. HUD money was not
awarded on the basis of merit but for the personal benefit of former HUD
officials and other "well-connected individuals," according to the report.

All told, the report said, the HUD case has generated 17 criminal
convictions, led to the payment of $2 million in criminal fines and
resulted in the return of almost $10 million in misapplied housing funds.
Two former assistant housing secretaries were among those convicted.

"At a time of dramatic cutbacks in federal funding -- cutbacks that many of
these officials publicly supported -- increased vigilance was essential to
ensure that the scarce remaining funds were put to the best possible use,"
the report stated. "Instead, a pattern of greed, criminal conduct and
systematic corruption of the government process by HUD officials emerged."

The probe's top focus, former HUD secretary Samuel R. Pierce Jr., was never
charged with criminal wrongdoing. Pierce acknowledged in 1994 that he
helped create a climate in which the corruption took place and accepted
responsibility for the need to launch the independent counsel
investigation. In return for that statement, prosecutors agreed not to
pursue charges against him.

Those convicted included: the former U.S. treasurer, Catalina Vasquez
Villalpando; Deborah Gore Dean, Pierce's executive assistant; Thomas T.
Demery, a former HUD assistant secretary; and Philip D. Winn, another
former assistant secretary who later became ambassador to Switzerland.
Dean, convicted in October 1993, has kept her case alive through appeals.
Hers is the only matter pending, the report said.

Pierce's attorneys, Paul L. Perito and Robert Plotkin, said in comments
included in the report that the "painstaking process failed to yield a
single instance of criminal wrongdoing in any of Secretary Pierce's actions
or policies."

END FORWARD
** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is
distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in
receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. **

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http://washingtonpost.com:80/wp-srv/WPlate/1998-10/28/036l-102898-idx.html

FWD Washington Post - Wednesday, October 28, 1998; Page A17  



<paraindent><param>right,left</param>REPORT ON HUD DETAILS 198Os
PATTERN OF ABUSE

Probe Nears Completion After 8 1/2 Years

</paraindent>

                        By Bill Miller

                        Washington Post Staff Writer



It's the longest-running independent counsel investigation in history,
and it's not quite over yet.


Yesterday, an 8 1/2-year probe into favoritism within the Reagan
administration's Department of Housing and Urban Development took a big
step toward completion with the release of findings that accused
high-ranking former officials of a "monumental and calculated abuse of
the public trust." 


The HUD investigation, sparked by congressional hearings into
allegations of favoritism in the awarding of federal housing money, has
lasted so long it has required two leaders: Arlin M. Adams got it
started in March 1990 and Larry D. Thompson followed five years later.


Both independent counsels signed off on yesterday's findings, which
they said revealed "a pervasive pattern of improper and illegal
behavior" within HUD programs during the mid-1980s. 


Although one case remains pending, Adams and Thompson decided to move
ahead with their "final report" submitted to the D.C. Circuit of the
U.S. Court of Appeals. 


The probe is the longest in the 20 years of the controversial
independent counsel statute, but it is not the most costly. As of March
31, it has cost taxpayers $28.1 million, compared with the Iran-contra
investigation, which cost $47.4 million. 


"High-ranking HUD officials put their own interests ahead of those of
the members of the public they were charged to serve and protect: the
poor and homeless of this nation," the three-volume report stated. HUD
money was not awarded on the basis of merit but for the personal
benefit of former HUD officials and other "well-connected individuals,"
according to the report.


All told, the report said, the HUD case has generated 17 criminal
convictions, led to the payment of $2 million in criminal fines and
resulted in the return of almost $10 million in misapplied housing
funds. Two former assistant housing secretaries were among those
convicted. 


"At a time of dramatic cutbacks in federal funding -- cutbacks that
many of these officials publicly supported -- increased vigilance was
essential to ensure that the scarce remaining funds were put to the
best possible use," the report stated. "Instead, a pattern of greed,
criminal conduct and systematic corruption of the government process by
HUD officials emerged." 


The probe's top focus, former HUD secretary Samuel R. Pierce Jr., was
never charged with criminal wrongdoing. Pierce acknowledged in 1994
that he helped create a climate in which the corruption took place and
accepted responsibility for the need to launch the independent counsel
investigation. In return for that statement, prosecutors agreed not to
pursue charges against him. 


Those convicted included: the former U.S. treasurer, Catalina Vasquez
Villalpando; Deborah Gore Dean, Pierce's executive assistant; Thomas T.
Demery, a former HUD assistant secretary; and Philip D. Winn, another
former assistant secretary who later became ambassador to Switzerland.
Dean, convicted in October 1993, has kept her case alive through
appeals. Hers is the only matter pending, the report said. 


Pierce's attorneys, Paul L. Perito and Robert Plotkin, said in comments
included in the report that the "painstaking process failed to yield a
single instance of criminal wrongdoing in any of Secretary Pierce's
actions or policies."


END FORWARD 

** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. **


HOMELESS PEOPLE'S NETWORK  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/>  Home Page

ARCHIVES  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/archives.html>  read posts to HPN

TO JOIN  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/join.html> or email Tom <<wgcp@earthlink.net>

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