James Baldwin, director of the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights, on about a half-dozen occasions used an office employee to prepare homework assignments required as part of Baldwin's work toward a doctoral degree in public adminstration, according to the former employee.
At the same time a professor at Trinity College has charged that a paper Baldwin submitted to fulfill one of the major degree requirements is a copy of a study Baldwin hired the professor to prepare.
Dr. Richard B. Zamoff said his paper and Baldwin's were "virtually identical. My first reaction was that it was a Xerox copy of my product, but on closer examination, I saw the line didn't always end with the same words, so it had obviously been retyped."
Baldwin refused to comment on the charges yesterday, saying that he was remaining silent on the advice of his attorney. He would not name the attorney.
Joseph Jacoby, Baldwin's former special assistant, said, "I researched a lot of his monthly assignments, helped his edit material he had prepared. I would read some booklets and books for him, write up some thoughts, sort of summarize the material."
Jacoby, who said he was earning "about $20,000" a year, said he was bothered by being asked to do the work on District government time. "It was just extra work," he said, and "it was not my work."
The Office of Human Rights, which handles complaints of racial and sexual discrimination in public and private employment, housing and public accommodations, has been under fire for the length of time it takes it to handle cases.
As of the end of July the office had 500 cases pending, and was taking an average of eight months to settle cases.
Jacoby said that Baldwin knew Jacoby "wasn't particularly keen on (doing Baldwin's homework) but he felt it was part of the (regular) work assignment because it involved public administration study."
Baldwin was participating in a three-year, on-the-job, doctoral program offered by Nova University, in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Samuel Humes, director of graduate programs at Nova, said yesterday in a telephone interview that "this is a serious case. The first thing I want to do is get hold of (Zamoff's original work) as fast as I can."
Humes said he does not want to prejudge Baldwin, and then said "the ground rules are that it is recognized that you will use a lot of sources but tht you will acknowlege them. This is a serious case."
The paper involved is what is referred to at Nova as a JAR - job related analytical report - which takes the place of the more academically oriented thesis that is required for a PhD.
". . . The JAR . . . requires your ability to do the kind of analysis which a high level public official must do," said Humes. "There is a requirement that it be individual work."
Humes would not speculate on what the University could do to Baldwin, who received his degree last year. However, he said, "people are dismissed from the program when you find out they've plagiarized. In one case," he said, "a deputy superintendent of education for a state" was thrown out for cheating.
Zamoff said that Baldwin had first approached Zamoff's brother, Barry Zamoff, Baldwin's chief research at the human rights office, but Barry Zamoff refused the work, saying that it would create a conflict of interest.
Instead, Barry Zamoff referred Baldwin to his brother, Richard, who in addition to his duties as a sociology professor at Trinity does outside consulting work, according to Richard Zamoff.
"Mr. Baldwin asked me to give him some technical assistance in the form of some statistical consulting," said Richard Zamoff . . . The problem involved examing different methods of handling conciliation that the D.C. Office of Human Rights had been using.
"I recall it was approximately a week's work," said Zamoff."It was about a dozen pages . . . I had no idea I was writing somebody's dissertation," said the professor, who explained that he thought he was providing data upon which Baldwin would then base his paper.
Zamoff refused to disclose the fee Baldwin paid him, saying that "was something between Mr. Baldwin and myself."
Zamoff was asked what he, as an academician, would do if he found a student turning in someone else's work as his own.
"Over the last 16 or 17 years I've advised not only master's and doctoral candidates, but college freshmen, that if they plagiarized somebody's work they'd either by expelled from the University or subject to severe punitive action on the part of the administration," said Zamoff, adding, "I'd certainly make it my business to pursue the case."
Asked yesterday about the situation, D.C.Corporation Counsel John Risher said he does not "see any significant legal issues . . . It seems more like a personnel issue to me."
If a District government employee used another employee to do outside work on government time, "then you don't need a lawyer to tell you what to do there," said Risher.
"I'm sure the regulations say you can't use government employees and government time for personal, private, projects," said Risher.
Mayor Walter Washington could not be reached for comment, nor could District personnel director George Harrod.