The U.S. attorney's office in Washington yesterday charged a former State Department official, seven former General Services Administration employes, and three GSA contractors with stealing more than $400,000 from GSA through contracts to do work that never existed.
In return for awarding the contracts, the government employes received more than $125,000 in cash and other gifts from the contractors, according to U.S. Attorney Charles F. C. Ruff.
One of the defendants, Robert M. Beacham, a former GSA official who managed the State Department headquarters building here, allegedly invested his share of the kickbacks in Georgetown real estate and foreign properties through a Swiss bank account, according to investigators.
Beachman, 41, of Gaithersburg, is charged with receiving more than $75,000 in kickbacks from building contractors in return for awarding them contracts to do phantom work.
The charges against the 11 individuals were filed in the form of felony informations, or charges by the prosecutor, which are similar to grand jury indictments, and are often used when the defendants are expected to plead guilty.
The latest charges bring the number of indictments and other charges in the continuing corruption scandal at GSA to 87. So far, 70 of those indictments have resulted in convictions or guilty pleas, and most of the rest are pending. h
The charges in Washington arise from a continuing investigation conducted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William S. Block, assisted by FBI agents assigned to the Washington office and GSA engineers.
The probe began two years ago, when William A. Clinkscales jr., then director of investigations at GSA, turned over a number of cases -- including several involved in yesterday's charges -- to the FBI.
GSA administrator Rowland G. Freeman III last week demoted Clinscales, who had supervised 150 employes, to a job supervising nine employes who deal with storing classified records.
Clinkscales has charged the demotion constituted a political reprisal for his work in bringing the GSA scandal to light. Senate hearings are planned on Freeman's move.
Yesterday, Freeman, a former Navy admiral, fueled the controversy by demoting Clinkscales' deputy, gene W. Blackwelder. Blackwelder, who has held that post since 1978 and was formerly chief of GSA investigations in Chicago, was named a technical adviser by Freeman.
"I firmly believe that my reassignment, as well as others', are improper and constitute reprisal and political harassment," Blackwelder said in a letter sent yesterday to the federal Merit Systems Protection Board, which was establish by President Carter last year to protect "whistle-blowers."
In addition to Beacham, those charged by the U.S. attorney's office yesterday were:
Scott F. Imirie Jr., 56, of Chevy Chase, Md., who was chief of the State Department's general services division. In that position, he requested repair and alteration work for the State Department building from GSA.
Imirie, according to the charges, was aware that contracts were being awarded by GSA for work that never existed and received kickbacks of more than $10,000 as part of the scheme.
Robert N. Dobin, 38, of Bowie, who was a GSA building manager at the Veterans Administration. He was charged with receiving kickbacks of more than $20,000 for awarding contracts for nonexistent work.
Gerald R. Watson, 62, of Washington, a former GSA assistant electrical foreman. He is charged with receiving $4,600 in return for an unspecified "official act."
Nicholas P. Roland, 58, of Beltsville, a former GSA electrical foreman, who was charged with receiving a two-carat diamond engagement ring and a woman's diamond wristwatch from a contractor for an unspecified "official act." w
John T. Ballerino, 45, of Seabrook, Md., who was charged with receiving a trailer hitch and shotgun from a contractor for an "official act."
Robert P. Stevens, 56, of Alexandria, a former GSA contracts specialist, who was charged with receiving $1,000 from a contractor for an "official act."
William Noel, 46, of Washington, a former assistant manager of a GSA office supply store, who was charged with stealing janitorial supplies from GSA and receiving $8,500 from a contractor in return for the supplies.
Nathaniel D. Williams, 45, of Washington, a contractor who received $278,000 in GSA contracts and was charged with paying an unspecified portion of the money to GSA employes as kickbacks.
Elzavan U. Plunkett, 44, of Hillcrest Heights, a contractor who received GSA contracts totaling $581,000 and allegedly did about $200,000 of legitimate work. The remaining $381,000 was split between him and GSA employes, according to the information filed against him.
William C. Chapman, 36, of Suitland, a contractor charged with giving GSA employes $35,000 so they would give him phony contracts.