Leonard I. Colodny, the liquor consultant who was fired by Montgomery County Executive Charles W. Gilchrist, yesterday spent two hours detailing to the county council how the Department of Liquor Control has shown favoritism in purchasing liquor from Schenley's Industries, Inc., a New York based liquor firm with ties to the Gilchrist administration.
It was the first time that the council heard a first-hand account of Colodny's findings, and most of the council members said they were impressed with his presentation, which was complete with large graphs and charts.
The council members appeared more interested in commissioning another study of the Department of Liquor Control than in correcting the abuses that Colodny had found.
Just before Colodny spoke, the council voted to give the county Office of Legislative Oversight the job of conducting an investigation into allegations of impropriety in the management of the Department of Liquor Control. In its resolution, the council exhorted the Office of Legislative Oversight to conduct its investigation in a creditable manner that "does not create a perception of a cover-up or whitewash."
Gilchrist fired Colodny last month, after Colodny complained that Gilchrist aides asked him to "rethink" his numbers showing that Schenley received a disproportionately large amount of the county's liquor business.The county department of liquor control administers the only county monopoly on the wholesale and retail sale of liquor, wind and beer in the country.
Yesterday, Colodny reiterated his old charges and added a new one: Gilchrist, according to Colodny offered him a merit job in January for which he did not apply.
Under county law, the personnel department must award merit positions on the basis of ability -- not friendship -- after advertising jobs and reviewing the applications for them.
Colodny, whose mother is a Democratic precinct chairman in Montgomery County, said Gilchrist offered him the merit job on Jan. 28, several months before offering him the consulting contract to study alleged favoritism in purchasing by the department of liquor control.
"On Jan. 28, the county executive offered me a job as assistant chief of the liquor stores division," Colodny told the county council. "The job was frozen at the time and Gilchrist later asked me through an aide to take the job of consultant in the interim."
Colodny told the council he would "take a polygraph on questions of fact where my and the administration's recollections differ." None of the Council members appeared interested in taking Colodny up on his offer.
Charles Maier, a spokesman for Gilchrist, denied that Colodny was ever offered the job. "He (Gilchrist) just gave him a list of the available job openings and told him he could apply," said Maier.
It was the second time in recent months that Gilchrist has been accused of "fixing" jobs in the merit system fo friends. Sonny Feldman, a liquor distributor, alleged that Gilchrist gave the job of deputy director of the department of liquor control to Frank Orifici because Orifici, a former Schenley salesman, was the newphew by marriage of Gilchrist's adviser on the department of liquor control, Charles Buscher.
Feldman made his allegation in a complaint before the county attorney.
Colodny said he decided to tell the Council about Gilchrist's alleged job offer because he did not arrive at his unflattering findings about the department of liquor control as a result of being a "disgruntled applicant" for a job in the department -- an allegation that had been made by Gilchrist's aides.