The Reagan administration and the National Consumer Cooperative Bank negotiated a cease-fire yesterday in their battle over $60 million the Treasury Department is trying to impound.
Under the agreement, adopted unanimously by the bank's new board yesterday, the bank will have to turn back $26 million to the Treasury but will have access to $33.7 million. The bank and Treasury each had charged the other with illegal activity involving the funds.
The final disposition of the entire $60 million depends on Congress. If it approves President Reagan's request to rescind the funds that it had appropriated for the last half of fiscal 1981, the bank would have to return whatever portion of the $33.7 million had not been expended, according to James W. Jones, a partner at Arnold & Porter who did the negotiating for the bank on the compromise. If Congress does not approve the rescission, eventually the $26 million would be available to the bank.
After the meeting, NCCB President Carol Greenwald -- whose outspoken statements in the past have irritated administration officials -- declined to comment on the action.
The administration wants to kill the tiny quasi-governmental institution, which Congress created to provide financing for consumer cooperatives.
The House is expected to retain most of the bank's funding when it votes on rescissions, scheduled for Wednesday. A Senate subcommittee, on the other hand, has approved the requested rescissions, and the funding issue is likely to be resolved in a joint conference.
One issue that remained unresolved yesterday was whether the Treasury would ask the Justice Department to press charges against Greenwald for withdrawing the $60 million. Greenwald announced yesterday that the NCCB has retained the law firm of Williams and Connolly to represent her interests if she is charged.