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Mr. LISHMAN. Why did you go to San Juan on Wednesday when you were not scheduled to appear on the program until Saturday?
Mr. Garson. Well, it is customary, when invited to a meeting of this sort, for the official to arrive earlier because, among other things, it is customary to meet with the various participants and those who are attending the conference and to discuss the problems which they may have, to listen to their ideas about various aspects of transportation, and then to report this back to the agency.
This is the customary practice, and that is what I followed. Mr. LISHMAN. In this instance, did you report back to the agency information that you received from the time you arrived at the convention?
Mr. Garson. I reported to the chairman.
Mr. GARSON. Simply explaining what took place and remarking about the various comments, the concern of the movers with improving their service.
Mr. LISHMAN. Your vouchers covered March 26 to April 3!
Mr. GARSON. That is right. I took annual leave after the convention, and my wife and I decided to go over to St. Croix.
Mr. LISHMAN. The records of the American Movers Association in the Americana Hotel in San Juan reflect from Wednesday, March 26, through Sunday, March 30, you and your wife incurred hotel charges including room, telephone, and so on, totaling $229.75, and I would like to hand you a photostatic copy of the records of the Americana Hotel and of the association which shows this fact.
Mr. HARVEY. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. HARVEY. May I direct a question to the Chair and inquire of the Chair whether it is the intention to go ahead with these hearings throughout the afternoon despite the fact that the House is meeting on this very important bill with amendments taking place?
Mr. Moss. The Chair is responding to the directions of the chairman of the full committee, who asked that I come over and conduct the hearing
Mr. HARVEY. I hesitate to say this, Mr. Chairman, except that we just now had a teller vote.
Mr. Moss. Yes, I realize that.
Mr. HARVEY. The amendments are taking place on the floor and this is a bill that is of considerable importance to all of us, and I would point out to the Chair that there are only two of us present out of the full committee, which is certainly far short of being a quorum to hear this testimony.
Mr. Moss. The rules of the House provide that testimony may be taken with two Members present.
Mr. Harvey. I am certain the rules do provide. I am aware of that. I am also aware that the chairman of the full committee secured a unanimous consent on the floor of the House for these hearings to continue.
However, I am pointing out to the chairman that I would have objected had I been present because I think it is wrong for the Chair
and the committee to proceed under these circumstances with a bill of this major importance being considered, and I say that respectfully to the Chair, knowing his long experience and tenure here in the House as well.
I am not seeking to delay these hearings at all, but am rather stressing the importance of what is taking place over there.
Mr. Moss. The Chair concurs in the matter of the importance of what is taking place on the floor.
The Chair is also mindful of the fact that the committee is proceeding in accordance with the rules of the House, and with the express permission of the House, and as I indicated, the Chair at this moment is acting in response to the request of the chairman of the full committee, Chairman Staggers, and it was his desire that the hearings continue.
I believe it is an hour which had been concurred in by the ranking minority member, Mr. Springer.
Mr. HARVEY. I am not certain of their desires, but I am certain of my own, and I feel it is highly improper
Mr. Moss. The gentleman is free, of course, to regard it as improper. I have not the luxury of regarding the action which is taken under the rules as being improper in context with those rules, and, of course, certainly, this meeting is totally in accordance with those rules.
If the House wants to make different rules, then it is the right of the gentleman, as it would be of the Chair, to propose that such rules be adopted, but in the interim the committee must operate in accordance with the rules.
Mr. HARVEY. I would not prolong this, Mr. Chairman, other than to say that it is in accordance with the rules only because unanimous consent was granted, and had I been there, I would have objected to that unanimous consent, and I think many other Members would as well.
Mr. Moss. The Chair points out again that the gentleman knots that absence from the floor at the time of a unanimous consent request does not confer upon the gentleman any right to subsequently raise as a point of order, a point of discussion of the propriety of the wisdom of the House in concurring in the request.
The request was granted, and therefore the hearings will proceed in accordance with that request and with the rules of the House and the committee.
Mr. Lishman, you may continue.
Mr. LISHMAN. I had asked the witness to inspect records from the Movers' Association and the Americana Hotel showing that from Wednesday, March 26, through Sunday, March 30, the witness and his wife incurred hotel charges totaling $229.75.
My question, is, how was this account satisfied ?
Mr. GARSON. I reimbursed the Movers' and Warehousemen's Association fully in the complete amount for all hotel expenses.
Mr.LISHMAN. When did you make this reimbursement?
Mr. Garson. I think sometime in the fall, but I should like to point out
Mr. LISHMAN. Some time in the fall of what year?
Mr. GARSON. Of 1969. But I think it should be evident, and I would like to point out, that the Movers' and Warehousemen's Association had
been approached by me, and again namely, Mr. Genovese, on a number of occasions prior to the final acceptance of my check in the full amount for the expenses that I incurred at the hotel.
He was adamant in refusing me on a number of occasions-all occasions—up until that time, and I insisted finally that he had to accept the check, and that this was my practice and that I was simply doing what I had done on other occasions, and so he was fully reimbursed for all hotel expenses. Mr. LISHMAN. But it is correct that on April 9, 1969, you
filed a voucher seeking reimbursement for expenses incurred by you while you were on official business in the amount of-then in the amount this covered this $229.73?
Mr. GARSON. The voucher-
It is a fact, is it not, that that voucher called for reimbursement to you of $125.50 of the amount of $229.75 which had been paid by the Movers' Association?
Mr. GARSON. I am not quite certain about the question. The total amount of reimbursement which I had on my voucher was $138.70, which included the taxi fares. Now the per diem amounted to $125.50.
Nevertheless, as I indicated, I did reimburse the association in the full amount of $229.
Mr. LISHMAN. You don't remember the exact date when you made that reimbursement ?
Mr. GARSON. I think I have a check here. November 18, 1969.
Mr. LISHMAN. What was the occasion for the reimbursement coming so many months after you had collected this $125.50 on your voucher?
Mr. GARSON, Mr. Genovese, on a number of occasions as I indicated to you, told me that it is the practice of the association to pick up the hotel expenses of their guests and I had to insist on a number of occasions that I wanted to pay this particular amount, as it has been my practice, and that after a lot of perseverence I convinced him that he had to take my check, which he did.
Mr. LISHMAN. Were any of your solicitations to have him accept your check made in writing by you?
Mr. GARSON. No. I did not think that was necessary. First of all his office is not too far away from the Interstate Commerce Commission and in addition, he came into the Interstate Commerce Commission on a number of occasions.
Mr. LISHMAN. Did it ever occur to you that you could have sent him a check and then let him do what he wanted with it?
Mr. Garson. Well, I did what I thought was necessary under the circumstances, and I did reimburse him.
Mr. LISHMAN. Don't the canons of ethics deal with the appearance of an impropriety as well as an actual impropriety?
Mr. Garson. I am aware of the canons of ethics, and for that reason, among others, and also because I felt I should reimburse him because this has always been my practice, I did reimburse him.
Mr. Moss. I have a copy of the Americana Hotel bill before me and at the bottom it has the guest's signature, and the note to transfer to Movers' Association.
You normally sign such a bill upon departure from the hotel; do you not?
Mr. Garson. Yes; and the normal practice is when you offer the clerk any money in payment, the clerks say, “Why, this has been taken care of by the association."
Mr. Moss. But you can then say, “But that is not my desire. I now want to pay for it myself."
Mr. Garson. On this occasion, the clerk insisted that this had been taken care of by Mr. Genovese, and he just did not want to take any money from me. In addition, when you are anxious to get out of the hotel, the problem arises on many of these cases, you want to get a plane or you want to get back to Washington, or someplace else, and it is difficult to find the individuals who are connected with the association because they are all getting out of the hotel at the same time.
Mr. Moss. That may be your experience but I have encountered instances where there was insistence that the bill would be journaled to someone else, and I have succeeded in overcoming the resistance of the clerk by tendering my American Express card and saying, "My friend, I decide who pays my bills," and I have had no difficulty in getting them to go ahead and take the payment.
I would suggest it as a wiser course in the future. Mr. LISHMAN. Mr. Garson, would you be surprised if I told you that Mr. Genovese, in an interview with two members of our staff, told them in mid-December of 1969 that you had not reimbursed the association ?
Would that surprise you?
Mr. Garson. Well, I am surprised, because I talked to him on a number of occasions and I also gave him the check.
Mr. LISHMAN. Did you talk to him on a number of occasions after mid-December?
Mr. GARSON. I don't recall.
Mr. LISHMAN. Could we have that check or a copy of it put in the record ?
Mr. Garson. I can give you a copy of it.
Mr. LISHMAN. Isn't it a fact that there is a banking stamp of the Suburban Trust Co. showing the check was stamped April 6, 1970!
Mr. Garson. Mr. Genovese held on to that check, and I insisted that he put it through, but I have no control over his activities. I had told him sometime ago that I had deducted that amount from my checkbook and that I saw no reason why he should hold on to it, but he insisted that this was a matter for the association and that it was the practice of the association to pick up the guest bill of the guests appearing at the convention.
Mr. LISHMAN. I would like to offer this check supplied by the witness. I will give a description of it, to be incorporated in the record.
Mr. Moss. Is there objection? Hearing none, the check will be received for the record at this point. (The document referred to follows:)
6495 NEW HAMPSHIRE AVE, HYATTSVILLE, MD
PAY TO THE
-1969 No. 2À
SUBURBAN TRUST COMPANY
hoon's 2222 torchandestheastenice
DOLLARS Akil farem
H. NEIL GARSON
TRA. SIT NUMBER
1:05 21.0 2340: 110 32 1741 610
Mr. LISHMAN. It is a check dated November 18, 1969, number 2A on the Suburban Bank & Trust Company, signed by Mr. Neil Garson and paid to the order of Mr. Caroll F. Genovese, Executive Secretary, Movers' and Warehousemen's Association of America, in the amount of $229.75 and bears the stamp of "Paid” by the Bank, on April 7, 1970, and on the back it bears a stamp showing that it had been deposited to the credit of the Movers' and Warehousemen's Association of America, Inc.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask to have incorporated in the record Mr. Garson's voucher of April 9, 1969.
Mr. Moss. Is there objection?