It was revealed at confirmation hearings yesterday that a warranty deed on a Vermont vacation house purchased in 1974 by Justice William H. Rehnquist contained a restrictive covenant prohibiting resale or lease of the property to "any member of the Hebrew race."
Greensboro, Vt., town clerk and treasurer Bridget Collier said in a telephone interview yesterday that it was unnecessary for Rehnquist to sign the deed and that it carried only the signatures of John and Joan Castellvi, who sold the property to the Rehnquists. "He didn't necessarily sign anything," said Collier, who said she had no record of Rehnquist's signature on documents.
Rehnquist bought about five acres of property for $65,000 in 1974. Within the deed's description of the property is the sentence, "No feet of the herein conveyed property shall be leased or sold to any member of the Hebrew race."
Collier said the language in the deed dates from 1933. "You find them such restrictions once in a while in some of the older deeds," she said, noting that the provision is no longer binding.
Collier said FBI agents asked for copies of the deed when they visited her office recently. "They asked me if that was a legally binding provision in Vermont, and I checked with the secretary of state's office and said 'no,' " she said.