Former Top Housing Aide Deborah Gore Dean Indicted
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Former top housing aide Deborah Gore Dean was indicted today on charges of receiving an illegal gratuity and making false statements in connection with the influence-peddling scandal at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The indictment by a federal grand jury charged Dean, the former executive assistant to then-Housing Secretary Samuel Pierce, with receiving $4,000 illegally in connection with her duties at HUD.
She was also accused of filing a false statement with a Senate committee in June 1987 in connection with her nomination to be an assistant HUD secretary.
Ms. Dean is a central figure in the investigation of alleged fraud, mismanagement and cronyism at HUD during the tenure of Pierce, who served during all eight years of the Reagan administration.
Ms. Dean’s attorney, Steve Wehner, said, ″Ms. Dean emphatically denies any wrongdoing in connection with her employment at HUD. Charges to the contrary are outrageous and will not be borne out at the trial of this matter.″
Independent Counsel Arlin Adams said in a statement that his office was continuing to investigate Ms. Dean’s activities and that today’s indictment was brought now so the case would fall within the statute of limitations.
The two-count felony indictment said Ms. Dean received a $4,000 check on about April 29, 1987, from an unidentified private individual in return for ″official acts″ related to allocation of funds under HUD’s Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation Program. A spokeswoman for Adams declined to elaborate on the charge.
The false statement charge involved a written statement filed with the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, which was considering Ms. Dean’s nomination to become assistant HUD secretary for community planning and development.
In that statement, she denied having any investments, obligations or relationships that would create a conflict of interest in the post. Ms. Dean was never confirmed for the position.
Ms. Dean, 37, who had no previous housing experience, worked for HUD from 1982 to 1987 and for the last three years served as Pierce’s executive assistant.
She refused to testify when called before a congressional committee, invoking her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Her official files, released in 1989, showed that she was involved in a wide range of HUD activities - endorsing projects she liked and keeping Pierce informed of important developments.
Dean’s predecessor as executive assistant, Lance H. Wilson, pleaded innocent in January to 24 HUD-related charges, including conspiracy to defraud the government and wire and mail fraud.
No charges have been filed against Pierce. Adams’ office has been authorized to investigate whether Pierce lied under oath to a House subcommittee when he denied ordering aides to approve projects submitted by politically connected developers.
Ms. Dean came to HUD after a brief stint as an Energy Department aide. Prior to that she was a part-time bartender and publisher of a lifestyle magazine. She now runs an antique store in Washington’s Georgetown section called the ″Proud American.″
The illegal gratuity count carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $250,000 fine, while the false statement charge carries a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.