The president of a Delaware firm that provides health services to inmates at the Alexandria city jail has contributed $1,500 to the reelection campaign of Sheriff Michael E. Norris, who runs the jail.
Doyle Moore, president of Prison Health Services, said he contributed the money under the name of Good Boys Inc., a real estate firm in which he holds a 50 percent interest. He defended the donation as proper.
"If I wanted to buy off the sheriff I would not have written him a check with my name on it," said Moore. "The whole thing is so foolish. The only reason I didn't contribute to his last race is that I knew we were going to bid on the jail's services and I did not want there to be a conflict."
Norris said yesterday that he had absolutely nothing to do with the selection of Moore's firm to administer the city's jail health service, nor did he realize that Moore contributed $1,500 to his campaign.
"I don't see my campaign accounts or who makes the contributions until after the checks are cashed," said Norris, a Republican who is seeking a third term in the Nov. 5 elections against independent Jim Dunning. "I don't care about the money. If my campaign manager thinks there is a problem with keeping it, I'll give it back with thanks."
The manager of Norris' campaign, Mark Hoffman, said that he saw "no impropriety whatsoever in accepting the contribution." He said that if other members of the campaign committee believe the donation suggests an appearance of a conflict, he will return it to Moore.
Dunning, a federal probation officer, charged Norris with unethical conduct in accepting the contribution.
"It's inappropriate and wrong to take money from a dummy corporation set up by a man who does business with the city's jail," he said. "At the very least it brings Mr. Norris' judgment into real question."
Norris, whose high profile in Alexandria since he was elected in 1977 has often clashed with his image as a solid and professional corrections official, called release of the information about the contribution "a desperate smear attempt by a candidate who has no real issues."
Alexandria City Manager Vola T. Lawson said that she was unaware of the circumstances surrounding the campaign contribution, and that she would have no comment on it until she consulted with the city purchasing office.
The health contract, which was awarded by the City Council in 1983 and is to expire in June 1986, calls for paying Prison Health about $300,000 a year to provide all medical services to city inmates.
Prison Health, which handles about 300,000 prisoners' health matters a year, also holds contracts for Arlington and Baltimore.