Ex-HUD Aide Deborah Gore Dean Guilty
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Deborah Gore Dean, a central figure in the Reagan-era HUD scandal, was convicted Tuesday of 12 felony counts of defrauding the government, taking a payoff and lying to Congress.
The former executive assistant to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Samuel Pierce could be sentenced to a maximum 57 years in prison and $3 million in fines. Her sentencing was set for Jan. 19 by U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan.
The 38-year-old Dean was the 10th person in the HUD scandal to be convicted through trial or guilty pleas. Pierce, who disclaimed knowledge of the high- level misdeeds in his department, has not been charged.
Dean was depicted at her six-week trial as being instrumental with others in funneling millions of dollars to housing projects that benefited politically connected Republicans.
″Defendant Dean took a program designed to aid low-income families, and instead used it to benefit herself, her family, and her friends,″ said independent counsel Arlin M. Adams, whose office prosecuted the case.
″By betraying the public trust in this manner, Ms. Dean committed a crime no less serious than the street crimes that plague our nation,″ Adams said.
Prosecutors told the jury of eight women and four men that Dean stood at the center of ″a partnership in crime″ that enriched her family and friends, including Richard Nixon’s former Attorney General John N. Mitchell.
She testified that she was the contact point for politically well-connected developers. But, she said, her boss, Pierce was the one who made all the decisions on where to send ″mod-rehab housing.″
Dean was executive assistant to Pierce from 1984 to 1987 when the agency was parceling out federal money under its moderate rehabilitation housing program.
She was convicted of three counts of conspiring to defraud the U.S. government, one count of accepting an illegal gratuity from a consultant and eight counts of lying about her activities at HUD.
In her testimony, she blamed Pierce and other HUD official for deciding to funnel housing to developers who hired consultants like former Kentucky Gov. Louie Nunn.
Nunn, a Republican, testified he got $644,000 in consulting fees from developers for very little work. He said he paid $184,000 of those fees to Mitchell who spent 14 months in prison for his role in the Watergate coverup.
Mitchell was romantically involved with Dean’s widowed mother. He died in 1988 and Nixon escorted Mrs. Dean down the aisle at the church funeral service.
The jury had deliberated for three days before returning the guilty verdicts on all 12 counts of the indictment.
Adams’ office said the investigation continues. Two other prosecutions are pending. Joseph Strauss, former special assistant to Pierce, has been indicted on charges of conspiracy and perjury. J. Michael Queenan and Ronald Mahon are charged in North Dakota with bribery, conspiracy, and aiding and abetting money laundering.
Dean is a cousin of Vice President Gore and a niece of one-time Maryland Republican leader Louise Gore.
She testified that she accepted $4,000 from consultant Louis Kitchin to decorate an apartment before it was sold. But prosecutor Robert O’Neill said in closing arguments that the apartment had been sold molnths before and that she took the loan because she had run up credit card debts.
The prosecutor said the debts needed to be cleared up because the FBI was conducting a background check on her nomination to the HUD job. ″Her story is like a house of cards on a very shaky foundation,″ O’Neill told the jury. ″She lied to you.″