The head of a Virginia foundation who has been accused of paying money to Rep. Daniel J. Flood (D-Pa.) in an effort to win government contracts has charged that a Flood aide last year appealed to him for an $8,000 contribution to help pay his lawyers.
Dr. Murdock Head, executive director of the Airlie Foundation, said in a statement released yesterday that the aide, Stephen B. Elko, made the influence-buying charge against him after he rejected Elko's plea for money.
"At this point, I can only assume that Mr. Elko has leveled these accusations against me because I failed to help him in his time of need," Head said in the four-page statement that was released by his Washington lawyers.
Elko's lawyer, Alan May, said in Los Angeles yesterday that Elko had approached Head seeking money for his legal expenses. But May said that he did not regard Head's statement, which denied making payments to Flood supposedly totaling $87,000 as a flat denial that Head never passed money to Flood.
May noted that Elko has said publicly that the payments from Head were between $40,000 and $42,000 - not the $87,000 mentioned by an assistant U.S. attorney in a court affidavit.
Head, who runs the foundation as well as an allied George Washington University Medical Center department, previously has denied an Elko charge that he paid money to Elko, Flood and former Rep. Otto E. Passman (D-La.) in return for their help in securing government work.
In Los Angeles Monday, a U.S. District Court judge agreed to consider an Elko motion that his 3-year prison sentence be reduced. But the judge first ordered Elko to report to prison March 17, for a 90-day period, after which he said he would consider crtting the sentence.
The former Flood aide was given the prison sentence in January after he and Patricia Brislin were convicted on charges that they accepted $25,000 in bribes to influence Flood to seek federal help for a Los Angeles chain of trade schools.
In his statement, Head acknowledged for the first time that he knew Elko and said he and the foundation staff "went out of our way not to offend" him. Elko was a frequent visitor to the foundation's conference center near Warrenton, Va., Head said, and brought Pennsylvania Govs. Milton Shapp and Raymond P. Shafer along with him.
Efforts to reach Shapp and Shafer last night were unsuccessful.
At one point, Head said, his farm on which the foundation is located, hired Brislin's daughter as a favor to Elko "Mr. Elko, I have little doubt promoted Airlie in Congressman Flood's office, and touted our conference center, the films we produced and other foundation programs," Head said.
"It was not until late 1977, however, that I began to suspect that he considered Airlie indebted to him for his efforts," he said. After his Los Angeles conviction, Elko came to the center and requested a private meeting with Head, the Airlie directors said.
"He asked me to give him $8,000 to help pay his lawyers," Head said. "I politely but firmly refused him."