New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 11, 1983, New Braunfels, Texas
4 New Braunfels Hetd\&Zeitung Friday, March 11,1983
Dave Kramer, General Manager Hobart Johnson, Editor
Thurmond bribe case to go before grand jury
A federal grand jury has heard sworn testimony from a witness who stated that Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., received at least $20,000 in bribes from a middleman acting for ex-CIA agent Edwin Paul Wilson, now a convicted felon.
I first broke this startling charge — which Thurmond has vehemently denied — in columns last month quoting the same witness, who asked that his identity be protected.
At the time, the Justice Department confirmed that it was looking into the charges, but described the case as an “inquiry” and a “routine” matter. Soon afterwards, the department hurried its investigation along, partly because of pressure from Thurmond, whose Judiciary Committee oversees the Justice Department.
Now the “routine inquiry” has come before a grand jury.
Meanwhile, sources say, other connections between Thurmond and Wilson have surfaced. The FBI. for example, is investigating the em
ployment of a Thurmond administrative aide, Dan Carrison, who reportedly went to work for Wilson. A lower-level Thurmond aide also went to work for Wilson.
Furthermore, the senator’s wife, Nancy, was employed by a high-powered, Republican-connected public relations firm headed by Robert Keith Gray, who was for several years a board member of Wilson’s principal company, Consultants International. (An associate of Gray’s said Gray was an “elevator acquaintance" of Wilson's and did not know he was a. board member of Wilson’s firm.)
But the key to the case is obviously the witness who swears that he personally saw Thurmond take two bribes from a onetime Thurmond fundraiser acting as middleman for Wilson.
The witness appeared before the grand jury several weeks ago and was questioned by Assistant U.S. Attorney E. Lawrence Barcella Jr.
New controversies come with spring
By JAMES GERSTENZANG Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Seemingly in tandem with the crocuses that are signaling the arrival of a new season in the nation’s capital, controversy is springing back to life around the Reagan White House after a fairly quiet winter.
President Reagan and aides tackle problems at the Environmental Protection Agency and in El Salvador, just as the early signs of recovery are allowing them to relax their attention at least momentarily from the economy.
Throughout the winter, the administration's leaders were preoccupied with budget chores, less controversial this year than in winters past because the direction of Reagan's program was well known
But with the budget submitted, and Congress still gearing up for certain battle, Reagan has been able to shift his attention, albeit not to subjects necessarily of his choosing
The White House staff has been unable to control the direction of the EPA controversy; and Reagan’s sudden, intense focus on El Salvador has been dictated to some extent by developments in the Central American nation, where government troops have had increasing difficulty in stopping the leftist rebels.
While Reagan headed west last week for a few days at his California ranch and a visit with touring Queen Elizabeth II, he was given little respite. In public appearances he was asked about the EPA and El Salvador. In private moments, he met with senior advisers for strategy con-
Knowledgeable sources gave my associate Dale Van Atta details of the witness’ testimony.
Under penalty of perjury, the witness told the grand jury essentially what I had reported earlier, with a few new wrinkles. Here’s what he said in his 15-minute appearance:
As a Wilson employee, the witness was ordered to spy on Wilson’s associates to make sure they weren’t cheating him. One man he was told to keep under surveillance was the middleman, who had claimed to have Thurmond’s ear.
On many occasions, the middleman showed up at the offices of Delex International Inc., a Wilson company occuping Suite 710 at IHI North 19th St., Arlington, Va. On three visits, he picked up a manila envelope stuffed with cash.
The witness said he watched a Delex employee count out HOO bills — aloud — on a card table, and put at least $10,000 in an envelope each time. The middleman then left, with the
witness on his tail.
The first time, the witness lost the middleman in traffic. But the second time, he followed the go-between to the Capitol Hill Club — a Republican sanctuary on the House side of the Hill. The witness testified that he watched the middleman meet Thurmond, who was waiting, and hand over the manila envelope.
On the third occasion, the witness again followed the middleman to the Capitol Hill Club. Thurmond wasn’t there. The middleman made a phone call, and Thurmond showed up a few minutes later and took the manila envelope.
The middleman then returned to Delex and went out for drinks at a nearby restaurant — with the witness and two other men. One of them was Thomas Clines, an old CIA buddy of Wilson’s.
The witness has said he telephoned Wilson to report the successful deliveries, referring to Thurmond only as the "same man.”
The Justice Department is in the process of finding corroboration tor the witness’ testimony. Last December, the FBI agents showed him three dozen look-alike photos, and the witness picked out Thurmond’s.
Footnote: Wilson and the middleman have both denied any attempt to bribe Thurmond. The middleman said Thurmond is “the last person I would even think of approaching” — presumably because of his known ties to the senator. But this doesn’t square with a letter he wrote to Thurmond last August, asking him to help Wilson in his continuing legal difficulties.
Glory-Hunting G-Men: In Senate testimony, the FBI tried to claim credit for a landmark racketeering case that was actually the work of tabor Department investigators.
Bureau official Oliver B. Revel! told Sen. Sam Nunn, IMia., that "the Philadelphia and Baltimore divisions of the FBI obtained a significant conviction" in the case of Delaware labor figures Francis Sheerhan and Eugene Boffa. They were convicted in
a nationwide leasing scam involving payoffs to mobsters.
Nunn was puzzled. Only the day before, he had been told that the case had been developed by Labor’s organized-crime and racketeering section. He asked, in effect, "Who’s on first?”
The bureau hasn’t reported back yet, but a check of the case’s records shows that tabor Department people delivered the initial subpoenas, prepared the prosecution reports and were on hand when the prosecutors announced the indictments to the press. Four of the six investigators in the tabor Department’s Philadelphia office worked full-time on the case for three years.
According to former government officials, the FBI's only part in the case was lo provide one of 50 witnesses at the trial to testify against Sheerhan.
The G-men were responsible for another indictment of Sheerhan, on murder and racketeering charges. But he was acquitted.
ferences and to be updated on both
But one possible thorn was withdrawn, thanks to the voters in West Germany who kept Chancellor Helmut Kohl in office, removing the risk that Reagan would come under increasing pressure from a key ally to modify his nuclear arms proposal at talks with the Soviets in Geneva.
The storm swirling around the Environmental Protection Agency has been growing for too long, and involves such a variety of issues, that it is unlikey to dissipate quickly despite the resignation of the agency’s administrator, Anne McGill Burford.
After saying little for the past several months about El Salvador, Reagan and his advisers are anxious about progress made by the insurgents there and the Salvadoran government’s difficulties in containing them. The president’s interest in boosting military aid by $60 million to fight the guerrillas is renewing attention paid to the administration's policies in Central America.
The more the president talks about Kl Salvador, the more he raises questions about the role of U S. soldiers there. And the more the debate focuses on that topic, the hotter it gets.
Twice in nine days, Reagan has summoned Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate for consultations on El Salvador and, in particular, on his plan to increase military aid.
The meetings are apparently intended to seek the widest possible consensus for his aid effort before he proceeds with it.
GEE.,, A THREE BEDROOM HOUSE FOR ONLY TWO HUNDRED BUCKS,, .WHATS THE CATCH ?
Don't blame elderly—Rose
According to articles in the New Braunfels Herald Zeituny and a recent San Antonio TV news broadcast, it would appear that the “elderly” homeowners in the New Braunfels school district are being accused of defeating the school bond issue because they did not understand that their property taxes were frozen when they reached age 65.
This assumption stigmatizes the “elderly” as a monolithic group intent on preserving the status quo at the expense of the young, and ignores the fact that throughout their lifetime and including the present, the "elderly” have paid and are still paying taxes that make public education possible. The idea that these people do not know their taxes are frozen is nonsense. There may be a few who are uninformed, but very few.
It is very possible that there are a number of “non-elderly” property owners in the district who feel they cannot afford the additional taxes, however good the cause, and rely on the secrecy of the ballot box to shield them from public disclosure. Perhaps some of those whose children would
benefit most by passage of the bonds are stretched too thin financially to pay more taxes. The 30 percent increase in property taxes mentioned on the TV broadcast, coupled with the increase in valuation, could work a hardship on many families struggling with mortgage payments.
The low percentage of eligible voters who voted in the bond election would suggest that a large majority of the “elderly” did not vote because they believe only those who will have to pay the additional taxes should be the ones to decide whether or not to impose them.
Yours truly, Mrs. W M. Rose
Krafts criticize hotal-motal vote
To The Editor:
As lifelong residents of New Braunfels, property owners and taxpayers, and who have chosen to spend their income in New Braunfels, we feel qualified to ask the Chamber of Commerce and the businesses of New Braunfels if they appreciate our loyal financial support to the community.
The City of New Braunfels from its birth has always been a prosperous/
business community because in good times and bad, people took pride in their relationships between business owners and their customers.
Now the Chamber of Commerce and business representatives say the local residents do not provide sufficient business trade and we must accept the tourists with a smile for the good of the community.
When you have been made to feel like a second-class citizen by the manager of H E B., a store you have shopped at from the time they first opened here, you may well decide that your loyalties to New Braunfels are not very important and go to San Antonio, where you are also a dollar sign, but prices are more reasonable. Is this what our business community really wants?
We wholeheartedly agree with Velva Jean Fischer, Marlena Schlather, Betty tau Rushing and Ann Green, that we do not need any more tourists littering our beautiful park and filling our rivers and streams with beer cans and garbage. Our tax dollars are used to clean up the tourists’ trash. The tourists leave many dollars, but they also leave hot checks, empty boxes in stores, the merchandise is in their pockets, unpaid for, but we’re to keep right on
The local residents also enjoy the discourteous drivers and overcrowded recreational facilities. The local people can’t even have a picnic in the park anymore; there’s no room. Streets are closed off because of extra traffic. We who live here, raise our children here and support our community in all ways, would like to tell them, go home and let us enjoy our home.
We would like to know why the Chamber of Commerce was given this large sum of money from the hotel-motel tax. For more advertising? This money could be put to better use by placing it in a general fund to be used by the City of New Braunfels to try and restore the abused and defaced properties left behind by the tourists. We who are old enough to remember how beautiful our park used to be, the clear, bubbling springs (now full of people laying in it) and the natural beauty of the park before it was commercialized, but we’re supposed to keep on smiling.
We feel a lot more like crying, seeing how our park has been abused.
The Chamber of Commerce, like a work union, began with a good purpose, to make things better. But this
Chamber’s administration has become too greedy, disregarding the loyal residents and taking advantage of any money-making situation that comes along for personal gains, regardless of how the residents feel.
The purpose of the Chamber of Commerce should be for the good of everyone concerned, but it seems that somewhere along the way they have lost sight of tile values for which the Chamber was founded.
Ifs time for our business community to remember what made “New Braunfels Great": its very own people, the residents of New Braunfels, the taxpayers. Ifs time for us to stand up for our rights.
Sincerely, Norman and Agnes Kraft
Torres dislikes annuel conference
To The Editor:
Once again I find it more and more irritating to see the local news media fall hook, line and sinker for this Legislative Conference charade by the Chamber of Commerce and then giving it free publicity to keep them happy. I don’t know..,maybe the
editor is working to get a Blue Coat from the Chamber.
tat me explain the charade. The Chamber uses the Civic Center, which was built with my taxes; uses our police, which I support with my taxes, and then to top it off, the Chamber wants to charge me $40 to get in and hear my servants.
Now after paying all these taxes, I can’t attend afford to attend. If you work for Servtex, the Textile Mill, the rock plants or the new industries, if you take the day off to attend, you are docked the day’s pay. But a public official like a Judge, City Manager, court official or anyone on the public dole, they will be there and I probably end up paying their $40 as an official expense on top of the day’s work which they didn’t perform.
By the way, Roxolin Krueger, la that the free enterprise system you advocate teaching to our school kids?
Now. why should I pay to hear all that hot air? Why should I pay to ask some of those clowns from Austin I want some relief from my electric and gas bill.
The whole thing stinks.
Esequiel Cheque Torres