Three top District finance officials showed "dereliction" in their management of the city's cash and one of them should be dismissed for submitting a false document to the D.C. City Council in hearings on the matter last spring, according to a report issued yesterday by council member John A. Wilson (D-Ward 2), chairman of the Finance and Revenue Committee.
The nearly 80-page report, released nine months after hearings into the city's investment of about $100 million with a New Jersey securities firm that went bankrupt, sharply criticized Deputy Mayor Alphonse G. Hill, D.C. Controller N. Anthony Calhoun and former Assistant D.C. treasurer Fred Williams for allegedly failing to carefully analyze the financial standing of Bevill, Bresler & Schulman Inc. before investing with the firm.
The report also recommended that Williams be "relieved of his duties" because of his role in backdating a memo that suggested BB&S had been analyzed.
The report is likely to face opposition from other members of Wilson's committee, which could reject or modify it. Council member H.R. Crawford (D-Ward 7) said he had some misgivings about the dismissal recommendation and added that the report had been issued by Wilson amid a "great deal of posturing and pontificating."
Mayor Marion Barry and others dismissed the report yesterday as a political maneuver by Wilson, who is believed to be weighing an entry in the race for mayor this year.
"This report was a political document issued several months after the fact," Barry said in a statement. "The District has one of the best cash management systems in the country. Unlike many cities and states, we have never lost a penny of taxpayers' money . . . . We have had very high yields on our investments."
Last week, Council Chairman David A. Clarke and Wilson, at a hearing on the city's proposed fiscal 1987 budget, sharply criticized Hill for failing to discipline Williams. Clarke -- who also is viewed by some as a potential mayoral candidate -- and Wilson alleged unequal treatment in the disciplining a week earlier of Alvin Frost, a senior cash management analyst who was placed on administrative leave after he changed a computer code and refused to reveal it to his superiors.
Frost played a key role in the May 1985 council hearings on BB&S, testifying that his superiors had ignored his warnings that the securities firm was on shaky financial ground.
Hill said yesterday he had no comment on the report, which is scheduled for consideration by the full finance committee March 6. Previously, Hill has defended the city's dealings with BB&S, saying the investments were properly collateralized and no money was lost.
"The committee certainly enjoy their individual rights under the First Amendment and I enjoy mine under the Fifth," he said. "I have no comment."
Calhoun would say only, "Et tu, Johnny," and Williams could not be reached for comment. Williams, who earlier in the week testified before a grand jury investigating charges of payoffs in the awarding of financial services and auditing contracts, last week requested reassignment from his duties as assistant treasurer.
The grand jury investigation centers on allegations that the Chicago-based accounting firm of Hill, Taylor & Co. received auditing contracts in exchange for financial considerations given to the deputy mayor. Alphonse Hill, who is a friend of but no relation to James Hill Jr., the firm's chief officer, has strenuously denied any impropriety. James Hill has termed the federal probe "a fishing expedition."
Wilson said yesterday the delay in issuing the report stemmed from the complexity of the subject matter and his desire to give finance officials time to provide responses and documents related to the hearings last year.
Wilson said he hoped that "if nothing else comes out of this fiasco," the city will follow the report's recommendations to tighten investment policies and adopt formal criteria for adding firms to the list of investment firms doing business with the city.
"They were arguing that they didn't lose any money, which was true," Wilson said. "But it's just like buying fire insurance and saying, 'I don't need a smoke detector, I can smoke in bed.' I don't think you should do that."
Frost criticized the report as "weak" and "not much more than nothing," adding that he believed Williams, in backdating the memo, had been following Alphonse Hill's orders and should not have been made a "scapegoat."
"Fred is not the culprit," he said. "Fred is a flunky. If Fred Williams is fired for what he was told to do, then why don't they fire those people who told him what to do?"