Consumer advocate Ralph Nader accused Postal Service executives of "out of control" wasteful practices by running up expenses with $300-a-night hotel rooms and $60 meals.

"The rate increases confronting postal consumers are certainly not paying for improved service - the rate increases are paying for the wasteful practices of Postal Service managers."Nader released records he said Thursday were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and filed by employees of the Postal Service's Government Relations Department since Jan. 1, 1989.

Just weeks before the Postal Service implemented a 20 percent rate increase, Nader said, Postal Service executives stayed in the New York City Plaza Hotel at a cost of more than $260 per night per person.

"This did not just happen once," Nader said. "The same postal manager who stayed at the Plaza Hotel in January of 1991, stayed at the Plaza Hotel three times during 1990 - each at a cost of more than $200 per night per person."

Nader also released a list of expenses indicating Postal Service employees "frequently wine and dine congressional staff with meals costing as much as $60 per person."

"This demonstrates that the Postal Service's wasteful practices are out of control," Nader said. "These are the records for only one department within the Postal Service - the tip of the iceberg. Imagine what would be discovered if all the Postal Service's records were revealed. Furthermore, it calls into question the judgment of these congressional staff who should be vigorously investigating out waste and mismanagement in the Postal Service - instead of luxuriously dining off it."

The Postal Service said in a statement that Nader raised only "isolated" examples of "so-called waste."