Democrat Henry E. Howell, accusing his "multi-millionaire" Republican opponent of having "economic roots" that could threaten the welfare of Virginia consumers, today released a detailed financial statement placing his immediate family's net worth at $213,146.64.
Standing before an enlargement of Republican John N. Dalton's two-page financial disclosures thus far have been "A charade" and that his form, required by state law, "conceals more than it reveals."
As he did in his 1973 race for governor, Howell challenged the Republican Party's nominee to make as precise an accounting of his wealth as Howell did today in a nine-page statement. Gov. Mills E. Godwin, Howell's opponent four years ago, refused towell's demand at the time and Howell himself suggested today that Dalton, a wealthy Radford lawyer and land owner, will probably do the same.
Asked by reporters if he intended to release a statement of his financial worth, which he has consistently said he would not do, Dalton, campaigning in Northern Virginia, said again that he had filed more information about his holdings than style law required. "The law only requires you to file (the name of) the entity that you own stock that it be more than $5,000, whether it be banks, railroads, or whatever it might be. I have named the companies that I have more than $5,000 interest in."
Asked whether he would support a stricter financial disclosure law, Dalton said, "I don't see that there is anything further needed. What you need to know is if a person has significant financial interest in anything he is voting on in the General Assembly. We have required that in the state law."
In Richmond, Dalton's campaign manager, William Royall, denounced the Howell's disclosure as a "smokescreen" intended to obscure what Royall said was Howell's inability to support conflict-of-interest charges Howell had made against the Republican nominee.
Howell, 57 a Norfolk lawyer and a former lieutenant governor, again repeated those charges today and went further. He hinted that Dalton's holding of stock in Houston Natural Gas, a Texas-based natural gas explorer, might account for Dalton's support for deregulation of natural gas prices - a move Howell said would benefit Dalton's stock and hurt most Virginia gas customers.
Citing Dalton's ownership of bank stocks and railroads, Howell said Dalton, 46, "has strong economic roots" inareas that had to be regulated by government and questioned whether the holdings would affect dalton's actions.
Howell's financial statement contained few surprises adn he conceded that his few stock investment have not been extremely profitable. One Norfolk mortage company in which he and his wife hold 1,014 shares of stock that they valued at $4,056 four years ago has since folded and the stock is worthless, he said. Chrysler Corp. stock valued at $408 in 1973 is worth only $60.48, he said.
His holdings in two Tidewater banks and an financial holding company remain the most valuable of the nine stocks he and his wife, Elizabeth, listed. The total value of those three stocks, came to $13,282, according to the statement.
Howell himself listed total assets of $261,893.50, including a loan of $28,680 he made to his campaign during the Democratic primary this spring to purchase television time. Howell said his liabilities amount to $93,291.10.
In 1973 Howell placed his net worth at $149,602.70 and even with the increase his unaudited statement of today gives his holdings, it is clear that Howell had nowhere near the personal wealth of Dalton, 11 years his junior.
According to a recent Washington Post Survey of the Dalton family's holdings in southwest Virginia, their Pulaski County farmelands are probably worth $2.8 million alone and their stock in the First and Merchants National Bank of Radford worth another $273,960. These items account for only a portion of the family's holdings, according to Dalton's disclosure from.