Joseph C. Paige, a former Federal City College dean who served more than 18 months in prison for misusing federal funds, apparently has persuaded the U. S. Labor Department to grant him $60, 000 in back workmen's compesation - including payments for the time he was in prison.
But James R. Mandish, the District government official in charge of such workmen's compensation payments in the city, refused to authorize the payment to Paige because of 'issues that I felt had to be resolved.'
Mandish said he asked the Labor Department ot reinvestigate Paige's claim on the grounds that:
His alleged injury may have occurred at the time Secret Service agents were coming to arrest him.
Most of the persons vouching for the validity of Paige's claim are persons who worked for Paige.
There is reason to suspect that the injury may have occured the day before Paige said it did.
Although an insurance company began paying Paige disability income after his release from prison in July, 1975, a physician for the same insurance company allegedly found him fit some four months after the injury. It is not clear what happened between September, 1973, and July, 1975, to cause the company to reverse its findings.
D. C. Director of Personnel George Harrod said yesterday that Mandish, the assistant director of personnel for research and compensation, "came to me and told me all the facts in the case and I told him pursue it.
"I didn't want the District government in the posture of giving somebody $60,000 they don't deserve," said Harrod, who called the claim "suspect."
Paige could not be reached for comment yesterday and did not respond to telephone calls from The Washington Post or to messages left at his home.
Albert Kline, the Labor Department official who Mandish said authorized Paige's claim, also was unavailable yesterday.
"The first time I had word this case was approved was when the payroll voucher showed up," said Mandish. "Evidently the payments are to continue, probably for life. It's roughly $21,000 a year tax free, or three quarters of his [FCC] salary plus periodic cost-of-living adjustments."
Paige allegedly was injured on April 24, 1973, the day he learned that a federal grand jury had indicted him for his part in the misuse of $230,000 in federal education grants.
Mandish said that his review of the records in the case showed an notation on court documents that Paige "was allegedly injured as he descended a stairwell following receiving word of his indictment."
"There are just too many loose ends," Mandish said of the claim. "Even if it's a valid injury I found out that Mutual of Omaha Insurance Co. has been paying [Paige] $60 a moth disability payments since he was released from prison," and he would therefore not be entitled to the full amount of workmen's compensation from the government.
Mandish said that a physician who examined Paige for the company in the fall of 1973 said that Paige was "hot disabled in September, 1973." Mandish said that even if the workmen's compensation claim is valid, Paige should be getting about $20,000 not $60,000, because he has already received the difference in payments from the private insurance company.
"According to Mr. Paige, he attempted to use the elevator at his office) and had waited about five minutes for it to show up. When it didn't he started walking down the flight of stairs and the fall occurred," said Mandish. "There were no witnesses to the fall."
Mandish said that one at the people who supported the compensation claim "was an associate dean, which meant he was a subordinate of Paige's, and another was his administrative assistant.
"With all of these factors coming to the forefront it was only a reasonable move on my part to request that an investigation carried out," Mandish said. He said he was perhaps most puzzled by two groups of medical records he found.
'In his jacket we had a bill from the George Washington University Hospital emergency room that showed on April 23, 1973, Mr. Paige received treatment for neck, spine, back and pelvic injures" the day before the alleged fall. Mandish said he comfirmed the date with the hospital.
On the day of his arrest Paige was transferred from GW, where he was taken on the 24th after the alleged fall, to D. C. General Hospital. However, said Mandish, Piage later "signed himself out of D. C. General against medical advice, and this to me is significant." CAPTION: Picture, JOSEPH C. PAIGE, . . . $60,000 payment involved