« AnteriorContinuar »
On both of those occasions the association paid for your hotel bills; did they not?
Mr. GARSON. In Boston ?
Mr. MANELLI. Boston and San Francisco; Boston in 1966, San Francisco
Mr. Garson. Boston was a 1-day trip. It wasn't overnight, as I recall.
Mr. MANELLI. OK.
Mr. GARSON. The answer is “Yes."
Mr. Garson. But my voucher that I submitted indicated no hotel expense to the Commission.
Mr. MANELLI. All right.
Let me ask you this: in June of this year, in order to be precise, June 11 of this year, which was 1 week before you were scheduled to appear in public session before this subcommittee—that appearance was on June 18–did you appear at the office of the Practitioners Association with several hundred dollars in cash, and did you request the executive secretary, Miss Iser, to give you in return for the cash backdated receipts so as to make it appear that you had actually reimbursed the association during the years I just mentioned when these conventions occurred, 1966, 1967 ?
Let me break that question down. Did you on June 11 appear in the offices of the association with several hundred dollars in cash!
Mr. GARSON. Yes.
Mr. MANELLI. And you requested that she, in return, give you receipts which would be backdated to those years 1966 and 1967; if you recall ?
Mr. Garson. I don't recall that. A receipt was given to me dated April 1, 1970.
Mr. MANELLI. Do you recall whether you do not recall asking for backdated receipts to 1966 and 1967 ?
Mr. GARSON. I don't recall that.
Mr. MANELLI. Do you recall her declining to do this, and then do you recall yourself as asking instead for the backdated receipts to January of this year?
Mr. GARSON. I don't (conferring with counsel).
It does not involve a matter of his constitutional rights.
The only question I have is how long will counsel-you are absolutely right. How long will counsel be at this, I am thinking of the statement that the gentleman has.
Mr. MANELLI. I am concluding now. In fact, let me withdraw the question I just asked and ask it in this way.
Did you not, in fact, ask for a backdated receipt, backdated receipts rather?
Mr. Garson. Yes, I did.
Mr. GARSON. I don't recall that I asked for a backdated receipt to that date, but I asked for a backdated receipt.
Mr. MANELLI. Was the backdated receipt to be backdated to January; do you recall that?
Mr. GARSON. That I don't recall. I do recall asking, and I was toldwell, what I did get was simply a receipt for April 1, 1970.
Mr. MANELLI. Our information-let me put it this way: You do not recall requesting receipts dated 1966, 1967, and you do not recall requesting, upon Miss Iser's refusal to provide those--you do not recall requesting backdated receipts to January of this year? But you do recall
Mr. Garson. I do recall requesting backdated receipts.
Mr. MANELLI. And you did, in fact, receive receipts which were backdated somewhat to April, which was
Mr. Garson. That is right.
I would like to introduce into the record at this point, if I haven't already done so, the statement of Miss Iser that I just read, and also a memorandum dated July 31, 1970, which is by Mr. Rebein and Mr. Smethurst of the subcommittee staff that summarizes the interview they had with Miss Iser yesterday and today.
Mr. MACDONALD. Do I hear objection? If not, so ordered. (The documents referred to follow:)
JULY 31, 1970.
MEMORANDUM To: Robert W. Lishman, Chief Counsel. From: Robert L. Rebein and Benjamin M. Smethurst. Subject: Interview of Miss Norma L. Iser, Executive Secretary, Association of
Interstate Commerce Commission Practitioners.
Miss Iser was interviewed by captioned individuals on July 31 at which time she provided a signed statement regarding Mr. Garson's payment of the $99.36 bill which had been previously satisfied by the Association concerning their Houston convention in 1969.
In addition, Miss Iser was questioned whether Mr. Garson had at any time been involved in a similar reimbursement situation with her Association. Miss Iser advised that the Association had previously paid for the accommodations of Mr. Garson regarding his attendance at their 1966 and 1967 conventions in Boston and San Francisco, respectively. She stated that both of these accounts have been satisfied by Mr. Garson as of the present time and then provided the following chronology to explain how the bills were paid by Mr. Garson :
On June 11, 1970, she stated that Mr. Garson came to her office in a most perplexed state. He advised that he wanted to pay for the 1966 and 1967 bills in cash and that he wanted receipts predated to show that they had been paid in the years in which the conventions were held. Miss Iser pointed out to him that she had only been at the Association 2 years and could not do this even if she were so inclined. He then stated that there were several other employees in the office who possibly were there during these years and that one of them could provide such a signed receipt. Upon advice of her counsel whom she immediately consulted, she advised Mr. Garson that no employee of the Association would be allowed to provide such receipts. It was pointed out to Mr. Garson that to do so would be to ask the employee to perjure himself which Mr. Garson agreed would be correct.
He then inquired of Miss Iser whether Mrs. Bridgeman (Miss Iser's predecessor) who was Executive Secretary during 1966 and 1967 was still in town and possibly available. Miss Iser stated she had no knowledge of Mrs. Bridgeman's present whereabouts.
Mr. Garson then requested that she accept the cash he offered to satisfy both bills, giving her between $200 and $300 which the bills amounted to, and asked that he be given a written receipt dated January 1, 1970. Miss Iser advised that she again refused to do this and pointed out to him that their account books are closed quarterly and she could not give such a receipt even if she desired to do so. He then requested that the receipt be dated on the first day of the current quarter, which was April 1, 1970. Miss Iser stated she reluctantly acceded to this last request and gave him a receipt dated April 1, 1970, noting again to the interviewers that all of this transpired on June 11, 1970.
She was asked whether any records were recorded which would show on the Association books exactly when this payment was made by Mr. Garson and she stated that the funds he gave her were credited to their Miscellaneous Income Account but that the deposit slip for June 11 did reflect that cash in the amount given to her was listed on the slip as having been received from Mr. Garson.
With respect to the 1968 convention of the Association held in Minneapolis, she advised that Mr. Garson paid his bill at the Radisson Hotel. She stated the only explanation she could offer as to why Mr. Garson paid this bill upon checking out of the hotel would be in conjecture that she was just newly installed in her job and Mr. Garson did not know her.
JULY 31, 1970. The following statement is given to Mr. Robert L. Rebein, Staff Attorney and Mr. Benjamin M. Smethurst, Special Assistant of the Special Subcommittee on Investigations, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives.
"My name is Norma L, Iser and I am Executive Secretary of the Association. of Interstate Commerce Commission Practitioners, which Association has a membership of approximately 3,400 attorneys and persons admitted to practice before the Interstate Commerce Commission and, as such, is the Commission's Bar.
“The Association holds annual meetings at different cities throughout the continental United States, at which conferences various speakers are invited to participate either as an individual speaker, a member of a panel, or a member of a workshop
"The Association's policy as to its speakers and panel members is to furnish the hotel with a list of its invited participants with instructions to the hotel that in the event any person listed thereon does not pay his hotel bill, tbe hotel is authorized to transfer such charges to the account of the Association.
The Association's 1969 meeting was held at the Warwick Hotel in Houston, Texas on June 25, 26, and 27. The Secretary of the Interstate Commerce Commission, Mr. H. Neil Garson, was invited to appear before the meeting and deliver an address on the subject "ICC Publications." Mr. Garson accepted this invitation and delivered his address at the Friday morning business session.
"Following the completion of the meeting and my return to Washington, I received an itemized bill from the Warwick Hotel which included the charges incurred by H. Neil Garson in the total amount of $99.36.
"Subsequent thereto on September 2, 1969, Mr. Garson visited me in my office and presented me with a round-figured personal check of approximately $80 or $85, with the statement that “This should cover my Warwick hotel bill", and requested that I hold the check in the Association's files and not put it through the bank for payment. At this time Mr. Garson indicated to me that there was an investigation in progress relating to travel vouchers of Commission personnel.
Upon checking the records and consulting with the Association's Treasurer. it was determined that a request should be made of Mr. Garson for the exact amount of his hotel bill which I did on the same day. I returned the round-figured check to him and was given another personal check in the exact amount of $39.36 on the same day, September 2, 1969. He repeated his request that I hold the check in the Association's files and not put it through the bank for payment. Thereafter, on more than one occasion, Mr. Garson inquired of me as to whether or not I was still holding his check of September 2. Upon being advised that I was, he asked me to continue to hold the same.
In a telephone conversation with Mr. Garson on February 11, 1970, it developed that I had been visited in early December by Messrs. Rebein and Smethurst. Mr. Garson inquired as to whether or not these gentlemen had reviewed our records or had presented a subpoena for the records and I advised him that they had not. Thereafter, I reminded Mr. Garson that we were still holding his check and suggested to him that the check should be deposited for payment to which suggestion he agreed. Accordingly, I gave the check to our bookkeeper who included it with our deposits of that date and a credit for this reimbursement was entered on our records."
NORMA L. ISER. Witnessed by:
ROBERT L, REBEIN.
BENJAMIN M. SMETHURST. Mr. MANELLI. That is all I have.
Mr. MACDONALD. Do any members of the subcommittee have any questions to ask at this point ?
Mr. NELSEN. Mr. Chairman, not having sat through the interrogation, I am just curious about the backdating.
Did you request this on your own or did someone suggest that you get them backdated ?
Mr. GARSON. Mr. Nelsen, the answer is that I did it on my own.
Mr. GARSON. But I have a statement here which is short which will explain my attitude and state of mind during this entire period.
Mr. Nelsen. Your reason for requesting the backdating, it seems to me that you should be given a chance to explain why you preferred to have a backdated receipt.
Mr. MacDONALD. Will the gentleman yield ? That is what he is about to do.
Mr. NELSEN. I see. I will withdraw my question if this is what he is going to get at.
Mr. MACDONALD. Mr. Garson. Mr. GARSON. Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee Mr. MACDONALD. Mr. Garson, could you please get the microphone a little closer. We cannot hear.
Mr. Garson. I want to apologize to the Committee and to the Commission for this entire matter. I want to clarify and correct the Wednesday record with respect to the questions concerning the check stubs. I want to say that I did a very foolish and improper thing.
In fear for my job and reputation and without having the wisdom to consult independent counsel, I prepared substitute check stubs. These later prepared stubs were for the purpose of supporting a date of payment which I believed, and still believe, to be correct, but for which I had no written record. The actual check was one out of my wallet and not from my checkbook.
This was a serious mistake which I deeply regret. However, I believe that the record should show that out of 25 trips since 1966, which I made on behalf of the Commission, six involve situations where the host organization paid my hotel bill. In each case, I have reimbursed the organization, albeit belatedly. One exception is the problem of the sitting room in Detroit, and I am unable to clear up the record on that.
In view of this situation and the embarrassment that I have caused the Committee and the Commission, it is my intention on Monday to tender my resignation as Secretary.
Gentlemen, I appreciate the opportunity to clear the record and I feel a great deal better for having done so.
Mr. MacDONALD. Does that conclude your statement ?
Mr. MACDONALD. Well, needless to say, it is not a happy day for you, and speaking, I think, for the committee, but certainly for myself, it is an unhappy day for us, too.
Mistakes are made by everybody. You obviously made several, and I regret that you made them, but I guess that is what this subcommittee is all about. Accept my sincere feelings that no one gloats in the fact that this subcommittee came up with this.
Mr. Moss. Mr. Chairman, I am not without a deep sense of regret that this situation developed, and I do not like to be cast in the role of having to be a part of the instrument to destroy or impair a man's career or his reputation. The fact is, that that action is taken by the individual who occupies the witness stand. I think that the statement just made totally vindicates the staff of this committee and relieves them from the allegations made that they had targeted the witness for specific persecution in an effort to malign.
But while we have had the statement confirming the fact of the reconstruction of check stubs, we still have, Mr. Garson, not the full story on the backdating which is affirmed by Miss Norma L. Iser. When you accepted on the 11th day of June of this year a backdated receipt to April 1 of this year, you then knowingly committed an act of deceit designed to mislead this committee, and you have not acknowledged that you sought even a further backdating, as attested by the statement supplied this committee by Miss Iser.
I think to purge yourself totally of the contempt you have demonstrated for this committee that you have to be completely forthright to the committee. I, for one, am perfectly willing to accept such full and complete admission as the basis for not proceeding, at least on my part, with a motion to cite for contempt, although I am quite certain we will have to transmit this hearing record to the Department of Justice and to the Commission for whatever action is required on their part in this matter.
But I would like to hear you more fully on the matter of the postdating and the nature of the request. Miss Iser's recollection is very clear that you asked for a backdated receipt back for 2 years, and that you finally then, when she informed you she had not been present with the association for 2 years, asked for one backdated to January