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State Panel Investigates Campbell Over Gifts

June 29, 1989|RALPH FRAMMOLINO | Times Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO — The state's Fair Political Practices Commission has launched an investigation into whether state Sen. William R. Campbell (R-Hacienda Heights) violated campaign contribution laws by not reporting a gift of free limousine service and the source of a $5,000 honorarium arranged for him by a Louisiana asbestos consultant.

The agency is also investigating whether the consultant--Gordon Goldman, president of Asbestos Environmental Controls Inc. of New Orleans--may have violated state law by not registering his company as a "major donor" after the firm gave Campbell more than $10,000 in 1988, FPPC spokeswoman Sandra Michioku said Monday.

Campbell has declined to comment and Goldman has not commented on the investigation.

A former employee of Goldman's firm has charged that Campbell repeatedly put pressure on officials in the state architect's office to continue employing the company. In an interview, Goldman called the charges by former employee Terrence McQuade an "absolute falsehood."

Donations to Campbell

"Consider the source," Goldman continued, noting that McQuade was recently fired. "I've never gotten into any problem with the state architect's office, so I've never asked (Campbell) to intercede."

Michioku said the investigation could take "a couple of months. We're looking into the alleged violations of the Political Reform Act, but this isn't to say there has been any determination yet," she said.

The commission's investigation comes after published reports that Campbell's top aide, Jerry Haleva, repeatedly pressured state officials last year to continue using the New Orleans firm. Meanwhile, Goldman and his company donated $27,000 to Campbell in 1987 and 1988, including $16,000 from the company alone last year.

Other favors arranged by Goldman included free limousine service for Campbell and his aide during the 1988 Republican National Convention in New Orleans, and a $5,000 speaking engagement before a New Orleans Jewish group, Friends of Lubavitch Inc.

In an interview, Goldman acknowledged that he had loaned Campbell a car and a driver "just for a day" during the convention.

$600 Service

Goldman said the limousine service cost about $600, but Campbell failed to list the gift on his financial disclosure forms. Michioku said state law requires elected officials to list all gifts in excess of $50, as well as the true source of all income and contributions.

Campbell listed the source of the $5,000 speaking fee as the Friends of Lubavitch, although the rabbi in charge of the group has maintained that the honorarium was paid by anonymous donors active with the group.

In addition to the political practices investigation, State Architect Michael J. Bocchicchio Sr. said Monday that his office is launching a review of its own to see if the state should sever its current contracts with Goldman's firm because the company allowed its registration for asbestos removal work to lapse on June 10.

A spokeswoman for the state architect's office, which administers a program to remove the carcinogenic material from state buildings, said the state architect would issue a letter giving the firm until Monday to re-register.

Goldman said Tuesday that his company has already applied for re-registration, which will be completed in about 30 days. He also said he contacted the state architect's office on Tuesday to tell state officials of the pending re-registration.

Goldman's company was one of several hired by the state architect's office in recent years to test public buildings, then develop plans for removal of asbestos.

3 Conversations

Bocchicchio said Monday that he talked to Haleva three times last year about Goldman's participation in the asbestos removal program, including a June, 1988, telephone call made by Haleva on behalf of the New Orleans consultant. At the time, Bocchicchio's office was threatening to cut off any business with Goldman because the consultant had failed to register his company with the state.

But the consultant complied, registering his company by June 10, 1988, and Bocchicchio said he had no more contact with Campbell's office until October, 1988. At that point, Bocchicchio said he called Haleva as a courtesy to say that Asbestos Environmental Controls had missed important work deadlines and that the state would be canceling some contracts with the firm.

Bocchicchio said he hasn't heard from Campbell's office since then, adding that he didn't interpret his contacts with Haleva last year as pressure or undue influence.

Since then, records with the state's Department of Industrial Relations show that Goldman's company has allowed its registration to lapse although it has hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of state contracts through 1990.

Goldman said his national consulting firm had been working with the state architect's office since 1985, 18 months before he met Campbell.

The firm, with offices in Riverside, New Orleans and Chicago, develops plans for removing asbestos from buildings and monitors the process, by taking air samples, for instance. But the firm does not remove the hazardous material.

Times staff writer Lanie Jones contributed to this story.

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