Mary Treadwell, former executive director of Youth Pride Inc., and two other defendants pleaded innocent in federal court yesterday to charges they stole and misappropriated thousands of dollars from P. I. Properties, a real estate spinoff of Youth Pride.
At a hearing before U.S. District Court Judge John Garrett Penn, the three defendants who entered not guilty pleas yesterday--Treadwell, Robert E. Lee, who was general manager of P.I. Properties, and Charles W. Rinker Jr., another former P.I. Properties official--were released on their personal recognizance.
Penn agreed to delay arraignment for the two remaining defendants, Joan M. Booth, Treadwell's sister and the former manager of the Clifton Terrace housing project, and Ronald S. Williams, Treadwell's estranged husband, an accountant who did work for P.I. Properties. Booth is seeking a court-paid lawyer and Williams is attempting to secure a defense attorney on his own. They were both released also.
Later, a U.S. magistrate recommended that the federal court deny a request from Treadwell that a team of lawyers paid by the court be appointed to defend her.
Treadwell told Magistrate Jean F. Dwyer that she is unemployed, has sold her automobile and her home and has less than $300 in the bank. Treadwell maintains that she has exhausted her funds seeking legal help during the 2 1/2 years that she has been under federal investigation, and now cannot afford to hire any lawyer to represent her at trial.
Dwyer's recommendation against court-paid counsel for Treadwell now goes to Penn, who is presiding over the criminal case. In a 30-count indictment returned last week, a federal grand jury charged that all five defendants portrayed P.I. Properties to government officials as a nonprofit business but then used it to fund other money-making businesses and to pay their personal expenses.
They are charged with conspiracy to defraud the government through false statements, mail fraud and wire fraud. Treadwell, Booth and Lee also are charged with federal tax violations. Penn scheduled a further hearing in the case for March 22.
Following the hearing, Treadwell and Booth went to the magistrate's office, where they were required to make their request for court-appointed lawyers.
Dwyer then held a closed hearing during which she took information from Treadwell and Booth, under oath, about the state of their finances.
In her report to Penn, submitted several hours later, Dwyer noted that the program for appointment of lawyers in the federal court sets no guidelines for such decisions, other than to say that court-paid lawyers should be furnished to "any person financially unable to obtain representation."
Dwyer's written report said only that Treadwell holds a "substantial trust note in her favor" of $16,000 from the sale of her house.
Dwyer also suggested that the court look further into defense funds raised for Treadwell in 1980.