Facebook Twitter

FILES SHOW PIERCE DID TAKE ACTIVE FUNDING ROLE

SHARE FILES SHOW PIERCE DID TAKE ACTIVE FUNDING ROLE

Former HUD Secretary Samuel Pierce, in a move that appears to contradict his sworn congressional testimony, urged an aide to arrange funding for a New York project backed by another federal official, agency records show.

Pierce's actions, detailed in Department of Housing and Urban Development files released Thursday, suggest that at least on this occasion, Pierce took a more active role than he has acknowledged in helping those who sought his aid.In a handwritten instruction to top aide Deborah Gore Dean, Pierce asked her to "check into this and try to get it through."

The documents also show that then-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger wrote Pierce to back a development seeking HUD financing. On another occasion, records show that Carla Hills, herself a former HUD secretary and now the Bush administration's top trade official, got Pierce to overrule deputies in favor of her clients.

HUD released more than 20,000 pages from the files of Dean, also a key figure in investigations of fraud, mismanagement and influence-peddling at the agency during the Reagan administration.

Pierce, Dean and her predecessor as his top aide, Lance Wilson, all have invoked their Fifth Amendment rights and refused to testify before a House subcommittee investigating the agency.

The records, released under the Freedom of Information Act, provide fresh evidence of the considerable power Dean wielded at HUD and of the persistent lobbying she faced from developers, consultants, members of Congress and local elected officials.

The documents concerning the New York project appear to contradict Pierce's May testimony, in which he said he often was lobbied by friends and political associates but never assisted them beyond asking staffers to give the projects "careful consideration."

The New York project was mentioned in a 1985 handwritten note to Pierce from the Commerce Department's assistant secretary for productivity, technology and innovation, urging HUD to back a proposed project in Manhattan near Columbia University.