Another apparent connection has surfaced between millionaire Rep. Frederick W. Richmond (D-N.Y.) and Earl W. Randolph Jr., a 28-year-old convicted felon who got a job on the House payroll in early 1981 under an assumed name with Richmond's help.
It has to do with the lawyers retained to represent Randolph, even after he turned out to have been a fugitive from justice at the time he worked on Capitol Hill.
H. Spencer Kupperman, a Brooklyn lawyer who works in Richmond's district and has represented Richmond's reelection committee, hired and paid the Boston attorney who represented Randolph last August when the convict was tried for escaping from prison, according to Richard Wynne, the Boston attorney.
Randolph was found guilty Aug. 31, 1981, and given an additional year in prison beyond the 18-year term he was already serving for assault with intent to murder. Before his escape, Randolph would have been eligible for parole in November, 1980.
Wynne said in a recent interview that Kupperman hired him by telephone last summer to defend Randolph. He also said he had been paid by Kupperman.
"I assumed the client was Randolph's family paying me through Kupperman," Wynne said, adding in response to a question that he did not know Richmond.
Reached by telephone earlier this week, Kupperman said he would not discuss anything concerning Richmond.
Another lawyer who appeared in court last year to defend Randolph also has connections to Kupperman.
In April, 1981, when Randolph was in court in New York City on charges of male prostitution and resisting arrest, his lawyer, according to court records, was Christopher K. Sowers. Sowers occupies space in the same Brooklyn office suite as Kupperman.
Kupperman did legal work for Richmond's reelection committees in the 1978 and 1980 election campaigns, according to records of the Federal Election Commission. Several lawyers in Brooklyn with knowledge of Kupperman said in recent interviews that he was reputed to be one of Richmond's lawyers.
Sowers did not return a call from The Washington Post.
The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct announced last Wednesday it was beginning a preliminary investigation into a series of published allegations about Richmond's activities, including his recommendation of Randolph for a job on the House payroll under an assumed name. At that time, Randolph was a fugitive from Massachusetts authorities.
Richmond has told congressional colleagues that he did not know Randolph was a fugitive in late 1980, when Randolph, then a 26-year-old Boston laborer, sought Richmond's help in finding a job and place to live here, according to Capitol Hill sources.
Richmond, these sources said, explained that he recommended Randolph for a job on the House payroll under the false name of John McLoughlin because he thought the man was someone who had served time in prison and wanted to start a new life.
Richmond reminded colleagues, these sources said, that he had worked extensively in the past with ex-convicts through Project Upgrade, a New York-based group that tries to help former prisoners and is partially funded by the Frederick W. Richmond Foundation.
According to published reports, the connection between Richmond and Randolph goes back to 1977, when Randolph first went to prison to serve an 18-year sentence for assault with intent to murder.
Over the next two years, Richmond's office reportedly regularly called Massachusetts corrections authorities asking that Randolph be placed in minimum security facilities.
In April, 1979, according to a letter obtained by The Boston Globe, Richmond wrote a letter to Massachusetts authorities in support of parole for Randolph.
In the letter, the Globe reported, Richmond said he had known Randolph "for years," and had "persistently worked with state and local prison authorities to arrange for Randolph's participation in work release programs."
The Richmond letter told the parole board, the Globe said, that the congressman would help Randolph "in every possible way to establish a meaningful and productive life . . . . "
Eventually, in June, 1980, Randolph was placed in a work release program at a halfway house. When he was found to have taken drugs, authorities arranged to have him returned to prison.
Randolph, however, escaped on July 22, 1980, before the transfer could take place.
He next turned up on Jan. 5, on the payroll of the House doorkeeper and using the name McLoughlin.
After less than two months work, Randolph abruptly left his job in the House document folding room in late February.
His movements thereafter are unknown until March 25, 1981, when he was arrested by New York City police after soliciting an undercover policeman and suggesting they perform a sexual act in a car that turned out to be Richmond's.