Maryland Gov. Marvin Mandel was given $2,333 worth of clothing paid for by codefendant Irvin Kovens or his businesses, according to testimony today in the governor's political corruption trial.
Two of the clothing purchase of which had not been previously disclosed, were disguised as "uniform" purchase on the records of the Charles Town, W. Va., race track, which is owned by Kovens, and the Charles Town Turf Club, according to testimony.
An addition $100 in clothing was given to Mandel's bodyguard, Maryland State Trooper O. Macindot, according to testimony. Previous testimony had shown only that Mandel had received $1,500 worth of clothing from another codefendant, Harry W. Rodgers III, during a shopping trip in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Kovens, a millionaire political fund raiser, had suffered from a heart ailment and had been excused from the first trial for health reasons. As a result, little testimony concerning Kovens' relationship with Mandel was presented during that trial, which was aborted in December when jurors learned of attempts to tamper with members of the jury.
The government alleges that the clothing, plus secret shares in corporations and other gifts that total $350,000, were given to Mandel by his codefendents as bribes.
The prosecution claims in a multicount indictment that in return for the gifts Mandel lobbied for legislation that profited his codefendants Kovens, W. Dale Hess, William A. Rodgers and Ernest M. Cory Jr.
An early morning shopping spree in September, 1974, not previously reported, was by far the most expensive revealed today. Max Margolis, the owner of a moderately priced men's clothing store and a high school friend of Kovens told the jury he had opened his shop one hour early that day at Koven's request. Margolis said he even called in his father to "make sure we wouldn't hold the governor up."
With his wife, Jeanne, looking on, Mandel chose two or three suits, a topcoat, sports coats with slacks and shirts to match, and then departed, leaving a $1,508 tab for his friend Kovens to pay, the store owner said.
Margolis said Mandel had visited his shop once before some time in 1969 or 1970 to buy clothes, but said he could not remember what Mandel had purchased or who had paid for it.
Another clothier, Herbert Alper, also said he had great difficulty remembering the details of Mandel's 1969 purchase of $825 worth of suits which he said were paid for as "uniforms" by the Charles Town race track.
Taking the stand wearing wellworn blue jeans and a T-shirt that belied his former profession, Alper introduced himself as a car-wash operator who once ran the Alper Meyers, Inc., Men's Tailoring Store.
He said that two months after Mandel became governor in 1969, Mandel visited Alper's shop and picked out $550 worth of suits to be tailor-made. Toward the end of the same year, Alper said, Mandel made another trip to the West Baltimore store, this time picking out $275 worth of clothing for himself and another $100 for his trooper.
Although ALper repeatedly said: "I don't remember - 1969 was a long time ago," he did admit to chief federal prosecutor Barnet D. Skolnik that he was close to Kovens' sister and brother-in-law and he referred to Kovens' close business associate Irvin T. Schwartz as "Uncle Tubby."
Asked why the business suit purchases were paid by the Charles Town race track as uniforms, Alper responded: "I don't remember."
When asked whether it was his own idea to bill the clothing as uniforms, Alper said: "No sir." But, he told Skolnik, he could not remember who told him to write up the purchases as uniforms.
At the close of the day's proceedings, which included testimony about Mandel's receipt of a gift of $1,500 worth of suits selected by him and paid for by another co-defendant, prosecutor Daniel J. Hurson read a short section from a transcript of one of Mandel's press conferences.
In 1973, the day after former Vice-President Spiro Agnew resigned, Mandel told reporters that "it's a little more expensive when you get into office . . . you need an entirely different kind of wardrobe. You need entirely different clothes."
Asked who should pay for such things as a more expensive wardrobe, Mandel answered: "Who should pay for it? I pay for it. If you are volunteering, I'll accept."