City Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis directed representatives of five large bank holding companies to meet with her political adviser Woodrow Boggs Jr. to discuss how to win council approval to open or acquire banks in the District, although Boggs had no official connection with the council, according to representatives of the banking firms.
At one of the meetings between Boggs and a lawyer for four of the companies last month, Boggs gave the lawyer a business card for his consulting firm, Decisions Inc., and said he wanted to continue the discussions later. An official of the fifth company, Citicorp of New York, said he has consulted with Boggs since last summer, at Jarvis' suggestion, but said he was not sure whether Boggs received any payments.
Jarvis (D-Ward 4) heads the council's Housing and Economic Development Committee, which oversees bank licensing in the District. A spokesman for Jarvis said yesterday that Boggs frequently attended meetings between the committee and financial institutions but that he functioned as nothing more than a second pair of ears for Jarvis.
However, representatives of Citicorp and the four other holding companies -- Chase Manhattan Corp., J.P. Morgan & Co., Chemical New York Corp. and Bankers Trust New York Corp. -- said that Jarvis never made it clear that Boggs had no official relationship with the committee.
Other members of the City Council have privately questioned whether Boggs, a longtime confidant and social companion of Jarvis, has used his relationship with her to win appointments to city commissions or to obtain consulting contracts with groups lobbying the council.
City Council Chairman David A. Clarke said yesterday, "Boggs is neither an employe or agent of the council and has not been since 1983. He has no official authority to act on behalf of the council."
An audit of Jarvis' 1984 campaign committee's finances released Wednesday by the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance severely criticized the management of committee funds and recommended that Jarvis; Boggs, who was her campaign manager, and two other former campaign aides be fined for violations of the D.C. campaign finance laws.
The D.C. police department's Public Integrity Unit and the U.S. attorney's office are looking into the audit's findings. A police official who asked not to be identified said the integrity unit is investigating whether Boggs misused campaign funds as part of its probe.
Boggs could not be reached for comment yesterday but said on Wednesday that he had not been contacted by police and would cooperate in any further review of the campaign finances.
The Office of Campaign Finance also is conducting two other audits -- one of Jarvis' 1982 mayoral campaign committee and the other of contributions to Jarvis' constituent service fund, which is used for expenses related to her council duties.
Keith Vance, director of the office, began a review of Jarvis' constituent service fund after he discovered last year that she continued to receive contributions for the fund even though it was officially closed in 1980. Vance said last year that Jarvis had not filed any reports accounting for her constituent service fund for five years. Last September, under prodding from Vance, Jarvis filed documents opening a new constituent service fund.
As head of the Housing and Economic Development Committee, Jarvis became a key figure last year in the council's adoption of a regional interstate banking law and subsequent amendments that helped pave the way for Citicorp's entry into the local banking market.
Citicorp, the largest bank holding company in the country, began intensive lobbying in early 1985 for authority to open a retail bank here.
Lucius P. Gregg, a Citicorp vice president, said he followed Jarvis' suggestion and regularly conferred with Boggs on how to enter the District. He said Boggs often was with Jarvis and her staff at official committee meetings with Citicorp.
"Woody has been a part of our banking discussions with the District from the beginning," Gregg said. "We've gone to him for consultation many times."
An amendment to the city's new interstate banking law, passed in January, requires Citicorp to invest $100 million and open two branches in poor neighborhoods and create 200 jobs.
Gregg said he could not say whether Boggs was paid for his services.
Henry W. Lavine, a partner in the D.C. office of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, said Jarvis instructed him, through an aide, to meet with Boggs this year to discuss efforts by the four other bank holding companies, all represented by Lavine, to obtain approval to acquire or open banks here.
Lavine said he recalled at least two meetings where Boggs was present.
At one, he said, he had arranged to meet with Jarvis and her staff attorney Causton Toney on April 18, several days before Jarvis held public hearings to question Lavine's clients about their applications to start new banks in the District.
Shortly before the appointment, a Jarvis staff member told Lavine that Jarvis was too busy to attend the meeting and that Lavine should confer instead with Toney and Boggs, Lavine said.
The discussions centered on how Lavine's clients could satisfy community investment requirements Jarvis has demanded of all banks that want to acquire or open new offices in the District, Lavine said.
"Boggs was there on behalf of Jarvis. No question about it," Lavine said.
Lavine said that none of his clients has paid money to Boggs. He said Boggs never asked for money or for his consulting firm to be hired. But Lavine said that Boggs at one point pressed a business card into his hand and told him he would he would be in touch later.
Lavine said he asked other council members what Boggs' role in city government was. "I've always been quite curious as to Boggs' role," he said. "I just think it's curious he's there in the meetings."
In a statement released by her office, Jarvis said, "I could have asked my minister to be present at the meetings . . . . He would not have represented the council."
Chase, Chemical, Morgan and Bankers Trust are among 11 companies applying to the U.S. Comptroller of the Currrency for local charters in the District. The companies, through Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, filed their applications before April 11, when newly enacted law transferred to the City Council the right to issue such charters.
In addition to shifting chartering power from federal to D.C. government, the law requires that any company setting up or acquiring a bank in the District comply with the City Council's community investment requirements.
The applicants filed while the comptroller still had authority over charters, acting under an obscure 85-year-old federal law pertaining to banks in the District.
In doing so, the applicants hoped to bypass the council's investment requirements and avoid uncertainty over how the D.C. government would react to their requests. But in granting local charters, the U.S. comptroller must consider the opinion of the local community. Jarvis' committee will soon file recommendations to the federal government on whether it thinks the 11 requests for charters should be granted.
Jarvis, through a spokesman, said, "Mr. Lavine has clearly misrepresented to his clients his ability to assure their entrance into the District of Columbia banking market."
Local bankers say they have had to deal with Boggs for years on banking matters concerning the council. None was willing to go on the record, however, expressing concern that it might hurt their business relations with the District government.