The Treasury yesterday called "unfounded" a news article saying it was reopening an investigation into a personal business transaction by Norman B. Ture, undersecretary for tax and economic affairs.
The story, published in Friday's New York Times, claimed the department again is trying to determine if there had been a conflict of interest involving Ture when the Treasury paid $223,000 for an economic forecasting model developed and partly owned by Ture. Earlier, Ture, a Reagan administration appointee, had been cleared of questions about the contract by the general's counsel's office of Treasury.
The Times said Ture sold his interest in the model to Coopers & Lybrand, an accounting firm, on Feb. 2 for $60,000. But the newspaper said that on Jan. 28, Ture, then in Treasury, allegedly called the department's procurement officer who then asked Cooper's & Lybrand to submit the model for a noncompetitive contract bid.
The model was meant to show the effects of the administration's planned tax policies and to help sell those policies to Congress.
The Times articles said information about the renewed inquiry had been supplied to the reporter by Arnold Intrater, the department's assistant general counsel and a participant in the inquiry.
A Treasury spokesman said of the news story: "There is no investigation. The whole genesis was the Times called and asked about the contract. Over the past six weeks, Intrater has supplied information on it to the Times."
Treasury felt that Intrater's review of the material for the Times confirmed the original conclusion that there had been no conflict of interest, according to the spokesman.
In a press release, Treasury said Ture had requested that the affair be probed by the office of the inspector general "to deal with this unfounded attack on his integrity."