Mayor Walter E. Washington yesterday described the bribery and conspiracy convictions of his top aid, Joseph P. Yeldell, and millionaire real estate developer Dominic. F. Antonelli Jr., as a tragedy for the District of Columbia.
The mayor left uncertain, however, what action he would take toward Yeldell, who is currently on unpaid leave from his city government job.
Yeldell, the former director of the city Department of Human Resources, and Antonelli, a developer and parking company owner, were convicted Tuesday by a U.S. District Court jury.
They were found guilty of corruptly conspiring to arrange a lucrative DHR lease of a Northeast Washington building from a partnership controlled by Antonelli. In exchange for Yeldell's help in securing the lease, Antonelli's verdict, to have given Yeldell a secret $33,000 loan after helping him obtain previous short-term loans from a bank in which Antonelli was a stock holder and director.
In his first statement since the guilty verdicts were announced, the mayor, reported by his office to be at home recuperating from oral surgery, said, "Yesterday's court proceedings have resulted in personal tragedy for the men involved, for their families and for the community."
In the brief statement issued by his office, the mayor added:
"This administration has never before been faced with a similar-situation. Consequently, I have asked the personnel director (George R. Harrod) and the acting corporation counsel (Louis P. Robbins) to review all relevant regulations regarding Mr. Yeldell's status to determine the action that may be taken in accordance with both statutory requirements and employe rights."
There were no public statements yesterday by Yeldell, Antonell's or their lawyers.
The assistant U.S. attorneys who prosecuted Yeldell and Antonell relaxed yesterday at their office in the U.S. Courthouse at the end of the three-week trial. They declined to comment publicly on the proceedings.
The prosecution team was headed by Richard L. Beizer, 36, a Harvard College graduate with a law degree from the University of Virginia, who is deputy chief of the fraud division of the U.S. attorney's office.
The prosecution team included Henry F. Schuelke III, who holds the position of executive assistant U.S. attorney, the No. 3 job in the U.S. attorney's office, and Michael Lehr, a prosecutor in the criminal trial division.
Schuelke, 35, holds a law degree from Villanova University. Lehr, 30, who holds a law degree from Harvard University, reviously was on the staff of the Watergate special prosecutor's office.