LOS ANGELES -- Samuel R. Pierce, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, has periodically traveled around the country promoting the nation's fair-housing laws with parties, balloon shows, news conferences, newspaper ads and billboards carrying his picture.

About $1 million was spent on a three-year promotional roadshow that was staged in eight cities -- all of it solicited from developers, real estate agents and contractors who do business with HUD.

There has been no public accounting of the money that was raised, but records of the event in Los Angeles show that expenses totaled about $300,000. Some of the bills have not been paid.

The National Campaign of Public-Private Partnerships for Fair Housing was designed to promote public awareness of fair housing laws that prohibit discrimination in the housing market.

The campaign was staged in Baltimore; Dallas; New York; Oakland; Columbus, Ohio; Philadelphia; New Orleans, and Los Angeles between 1983 and 1985. President Reagan endorsed it at a White House news conference, expressing his thanks "for the involvement of thousands of contractors, realtors, building managers and others who make up the housing industry."

The fair-housing campaign was the idea of Pierce's former executive assistant, Deborah Gore Dean, now a HUD consultant who was recently nominated to be assistant secretary for community planning and development.

Dean said in a telephone interview that promoting fair housing was such an uphill battle that "you try just about every avenue." She said she decided to enlist support from real estate dealers and the HUD housing industry because they have "a responsibility" to help.

Dean acknowledged that she and other HUD officials helped raise money for the fair-housing campaign, but she stressed that they did not collect the funds. In order "to protect everybody and keep it legal," she said the money was collected and disbursed by private committees set up in each city.

She said, "I don't think that anybody who does HUD housing would ever think that by making a donation {to the fair-housing campaign} they'd get anything in return."

She said there has been no audit or accounting of the money spent by the campaign because there is no law requiring such disclosure by the "literally hundreds" of public-private partnerships that exist at the federal, state and local level of government. She added that it was "probably not a bad idea" for Congress to pass a law requiring the filing of annual disclosure statements.

The biggest expense of the fair-housing campaign was advertising. The Winston Network Inc. of New York contributed more than $500,000 in space on buses and billboards across the country, Marc Winston said. He said Dean asked the company to help out and he agreed because "it was good politics for us at the time."

The campaign's other significant expenses were the cost of printing posters for the billboards, taking out newspaper ads and putting on news conferences and parties. In Los Angeles, balloons alone cost $4,500.

In Baltimore, these expenses were picked up mainly by realtors. In Columbus, expenses were paid by apartment owners, who manage housing units that are subsidized with millions of dollars in HUD rental subsidies. In New Orleans, the bills were paid by home builders.

In Los Angeles, records of the campaign show that the money was raised from developers, financiers, community organizations and other professionals. HUD officials orchestrated the solicitation of funds from these people, either appealing to them directly or working through intermediaries.

When the fund drive came up short, HUD officials arranged to pay most of the outstanding claims by staging yet another fund-raiser.

However, two bills -- one for Pierce's hotel room at the Beverly Wilshire hotel in Beverly Hills and the other for a $1,000-a-plate luncheon at the New Otani Hotel in downtown Los Angeles -- still have not been paid, despite requests made to Benjamin Bobo, area director of HUD in Los Angeles.

Dean said that the unpaid bills came as a "complete surprise" and that she would have paid them if she had known about them.

She added that the HUD inspector general's office is investigating "allegations about how he {Bobo} raised money or paid the bills" for the Los Angeles fair-housing campaign.

The Los Angeles event was formally coordinated by a private committee chaired by Charles Wilson, publisher of The Wave, a newspaper given away in many Los Angeles neighborhoods who is a friend of Bobo's. Wilson rejected a proffered $100 contribution from Tom Safran, who manages hundreds of HUD subsidized rental units with a letter chiding him for not contributing more.

The letter stated that "$100 is on the ridiculous side. . . . It does not pay for the time and energy we have used to create an opportunity for you to be identified with this project. . . . With your involvement in housing and benefits from doing business with HUD, you should want to make a better impression. . . . "

Bobo declined to be interviewed about the fair-housing campaign and the propriety of the fund-raising here. His spokesman, Scott Reed, said HUD officials here coordinated the event, but "we were not involved in any fund-raising."

However, one contributor told the Los Angeles Times that he got a letter "on HUD local office stationery" from Bobo's aide, Frederick Stillions, that was written "to acknowledge receipt and thank you for your generous contribution of $1,000." The contributor was Michael Clancy, a senior vice president at First Interstate Mortgage Co. who said he was responsible for the numerous multifamily projects financed by the bank with HUD mortgage guarantees.

Stillions, who did not recall writing the letter, said he was one of several HUD officials assigned to work the Los Angeles fair-housing campaign. Several top aides to Pierce in Washington were also involved, he said.

Harold Washington, a developer who estimates that he has built about 1,700 apartment units in Los Angeles with millions of dollars in HUD-insured loans, said he was contacted by one of Pierce's top aides and asked for a contribution.

Washington said that he was "most pleased" to give and that he has "a splendid relationship with HUD." He gave $2,000 "and then I raised {money} too, going to other people" in the housing industry, he said.

Dean flew to Los Angeles from Washington to solicit major HUD contractors like Sherman Gardner of G&K Management Co., which owns about 20,000 HUD-subsidized apartment units.

After a meeting, Dean thanked him in a letter for "your personal support and your willingness to spread the word to your colleagues."

Pierce's press secretary, Bob Nipp, said Pierce was unavailable for an interview, and requested a written list of questions. He said, further, that Pierce knew nothing about the logistics of the fair-housing campaign or fund-raising for it.