Attorney General Edwin Meese III's investment adviser, now under investigation in the Wedtech scandal, on several occasions in 1985 and 1986 invested significantly more funds on behalf of Meese and his wife than was in their investment account, according to Meese's amended financial disclosure reports for those years.
The amended forms, under review by the Justice Department before being turned over to the Office of Government Ethics, indicate that Meese and his wife, Ursula, were not informed of the discrepancy and do not know where the extra funds came from. They were credited with earnings and losses from the extra funds.
"Mr. and Mrs. Meese have no knowledge that any monies were ever loaned to Meese Partners . . . . Nothing in the partnership records indicates that loans or credits of any kind were advanced to the partnership," Meese said in a note attached to the disclosure.
The investment trust was handled by W. Franklyn Chinn, who kept the Meeses' money in accounts at the brokerage firm of Bear, Stearns Inc. and Imperial Trust Co.
Meese has said he invested about $55,000 in the trust, called Meese Partners. But the disclosure documents indicate that during at least three days of stock trading and possibly more, the funds invested for Meese exceeded that amount. On at least one occasion, Chinn invested $100,000 to $250,000 more than Meese had in the account.
During the nearly two years that Chinn handled the account, Meese made a profit of about $40,000.
Chinn has refused to tell Meese's lawyers where the extra money came from. Justice Department spokesman Terry H. Eastland said, "Mr. Meese's lawyers have talked to Mr. Chinn's lawyers, and they have indicated that they would not be able to comment or respond while Mr. Chinn is under investigation."
Meese said, in his note, that "a review of the partnership records . . . indicates that on certain dates, stock trades in aggregate amounts in excess of the amount in the applicable clearing account, either at Bear, Stearns or at Imperial Trust Co., may have occurred."
Offering a possible explanation, Meese lists the surplus amounts in his financial disclosure statement as interest-free, one-day loans from Bear, Stearns and Imperial. But Eastland said Meese's lawyers have found that neither firm lent the money to Meese's account.
Meese filed the amended forms because the original ones failed to list the individual stocks in which Chinn invested.
Chinn's major strategy for the Meese account was to purchase popular new stock issues, which are extremely difficult to obtain, and then to sell them on the same day. Since Meese did not hold the stock at the close of 1985 or 1986, he did not have to disclose the amount of stock he held on any one day. He was required only to list the name of the stocks and the value -- reported in price ranges -- of the capital gains he received.
Chinn, a San Francisco businessman, and E. Robert Wallach, a close friend of Meese, have been accused in civil lawsuits in New York with conspiring to defraud Wedtech, a now-bankrupt defense contractor that was based in the South Bronx, of hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting contracts. Both also are subjects of a federal grand jury investigation in New York.
Meese terminated the partnership with Chinn this year after both men came under investigation in the Wedtech case. Chinn, a former Wedtech director and consultant, was introduced to Meese and to Wedtech by Wallach and also managed his investments.
Independent counsel James C. McKay is looking into Meese's role in Wedtech. Meese has said he intervened on Wedtech's behalf in 1982, at Wallach's request, when the company was seeking a $32 million Army contract. But Meese, who has appeared five times before a grand jury investigating the scandal, has said through his lawyers that he never invested in Wedtech.