Federal investigators have asked the D.C. government to turn over a list of all employes who have worked for the city's Alcoholic Beverage Control Board since 1976 as part of a probe into allegations of bribery and extortion by the chairman of the board and his top aide.
The request for the employes' list is one of several actions taken this week that indicate the investigators are examining the way the agency's two top officials handled licensing actions other than the specific instance that prompted the investigation.
The officials, ABC board chairman Robert C. Lewis and staff director James L. Boardley, became targets of a federal grand jury investigation after the U.S. Attorney's office was informed that one or both allegedly approached officials of the new Hechinger Mall in Northwest Washington and told them that it would be difficult to get the necessary liquor and building licenses for the mall unless a person designated by the officials was given a license to operate a liquor store there, according to sources. Lewis also is director of the city's Department of Licenses, Investigations and Inspections, a cabinet position in the administration of Mayor Marion Barry.
These other developments were learned yesterday:
Boardley asked and got Stuart L. Bindeman, a lawyer who specializes in liquor license cases, to appear for him in court after Boardley was charged with drunk driving in Fairfax County in 1978.
Lewis voted last July to approve liquor license renewals for two businesses located in commercial buildings he owns in Northwest Washington.
Council member Wilhelmina J. Rolark (D-Ward 8), chairman of the public service and consumer affairs committee, announced she would hold hearings on ABC license practices on March 3. Her announcement came a day after Councilman Jerry Moore (R-At Large) and the D.C. Republican Committee called on Barry to appoint a "blue-ribbon bipartisan panel" to investigate the ABC Board.
The secret investigation began a month ago. U.S. Attorney Charles F. C. Ruff informed Barry this week that Lewis and Boardley are now the targets of the grand jury probe and FBI agents simultaneously seized and began sifting through cartons of records that were subpoenaed from the ABC offices. Barry immedidately placed Lewis and Boardley on involuntary leaves.Their personnel records were also subpoenaed from the D.C. personnel office.
Barry named Lewis as director of the Department of Licenses, Inspections and Investigations in January, 1979, and later that year appointed him as chairman of the ABC Board. A month after becoming licensing director, Lewis promoted Boardley from his post as an ABC investigator to head the liquor board's office staff.
The request for employe records going back to 1976 covers a three-year period before Lewis became ABC chairman. A source familiar with the probe said that the request for the personnel files on Lewis and Boardley and the list of the ABCworkers did not necessarily mean that new allegations have been uncovered.
"It's a natural extension in possible bribery attempts to look beyond the one situation at Hechinger's," the source said.
Investigators have obtained files from the ABC office on more than a dozen liquor licensing cases, including the files on a controversial case involving The Godfather, a bar featuring nude go-go dancers at 4934 Wisconsin Ave. NW. A former part owner of the bar, Tommy J. Motlagh, is the only person who has applied for a liquor license at the Hechinger Mall.
Boardley's 1978 traffic charge is not part of the federal investigation.
Bindeman, a D.C. lawyer whose firm has represented liquor licensing clients, confirmed that he appeared in Fairfax General District Court in Boardley's 1978 traffic case as a favor to Boardley, then one of several investigators. ABC investigators inspect bar and liquor stores and have the power to cite them for violations of city liquor laws and regulations.
"He (Boardley) asked me to handle it," Bindeman said yesterday. "Had it been anything major I wouldn't have done it."
The charge was reduced from drunken driving to reckless driving and Boardley paid a $50 fine, according to Fairfax court records.
Boardley has not been reached for comment. Lewis has declined to comment on the investigation except to say that he is innocent of the allegations.
Lewis in two separate votes earlier this year voted with the ABC board's other two members to renew the liquor licenses for two establishments that are tenants on commercial property he owns in the 1800 block of 7th Street NW. Some city officials questioned whether Lewis should have voted on the cases because of the possible appearance of a conflict of interest. But one top official said both licenses were routinely approved along with other licenses in uncontested cases.
District officials said yesterday that a temporary chairman of the ABC board will be named Monday.