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Orange County Focus

Countywide : Jury Hears Builder in Roth Investigation

January 22, 1993|ERIC LICHTBLAU

The president of a local development company that provided thousands of dollars in free home improvements to Supervisor Don R. Roth appeared before the Orange County Grand Jury on Thursday in connection with an investigation into allegations of influence peddling against Roth.

Presley Cos. President Wade H. Cable appeared before the jury along with a company purchasing agent. Earlier this month, L.C. (Bob) Albertson Jr., president of Presley's Orange County building division, came before the jury in its secret proceedings.

The district attorney's office is seeking to determine whether Roth helped kill a costly residential fire-prevention measure in exchange for thousands of dollars in improvements to his new Anaheim Hills home from the Presley Cos., one of the biggest developers in Orange County.

Through his lawyer, Roth has denied any wrongdoing.

The fire-prevention measure would have required county builders to put automatic sprinklers in new homes, but Roth, as chairman of the Board of Supervisors, successfully moved to send the item back to the county staff for "further study" in early 1990. It has not yet returned to the board for a vote.

Developers had lobbied vigorously against the measure, saying it would raise home prices.

In the weeks before the motion was shelved, the Presley Cos. began several major improvements to Roth's new tract home in Anaheim, including enlarging the dining room and the family room.

Roth said he paid a total of $3,700 for part of the work, but remodeling experts have estimated that the work was worth more than $15,000.

Neighbors said they were not allowed to make such major alterations in their homes.

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