Three Agriculture Department employes were put on leave yesterday pending the outcome of an investigation into allegations that they were involved in a sex scandal and misused taxpayer money.
The three all, with the Federal Crop Insurance Corp., are agency manager James Deal, deputy manager W. Otto Johnson and assistant manager Roy Alton.
They were forced to take administrative leave until completion of an investigation that began April 14 into allegations of sexual misconduct, misuse of government funds and improper personnel practices.
Deupty Agriculture Secretary Jim Williams said he received an interim report on the inquiry from the department's inspector general, but that its contents will not be disclosed until the investigation is completed.
It has been reported that some officials of the crop agency were accused of seeking sex in return for career promotions and of flying their companions to hideaways at public expense.
The Justice Department is reviewing USDA's preliminary findings for possible criminal violations.
The General Accounting Office will conduct a separate investigation.
James C. Webster, assistant secretary for governmental and public affiars, said Agriculture Department officials had no further comment on the case at this time.
Deal, a friend of Agriculture Secretary Bob Bergland, was on vacation in Minnesota, Webster said. Bergland was vacationing in his home state of Minnesota.
Webster said that Deal and the other two officials were notified of their suspension yesterday afternoon.