Attorney General Edwin Meese III met with top officials of a third regional telephone company while he still held legal title to shares of the company stock, a spokesman for that company said yesterday.
Meese met Feb. 4, 1986, with Ameritech Chairman William L. Weiss and company Vice President John J. Connarn, according to Peter Lincoln, spokesman for the Chicago-based telephone company. The Washington Post reported Sunday that Meese met with top officials of two other regional phone companies, Bell Atlantic and BellSouth. All three were created in the 1984 breakup of AT&T.
At the time, Meese and his wife, Ursula, held legal title to 91 shares of stock in the seven regional telephone companies. Meese reported the stock as having been sold on May 23, 1985, but disclosed in July that he could not locate the stock certificates.
The Meeses ultimately obtained replacement certificates and sold the stock in August for about $14,000.
Independent counsel James C. McKay is investigating whether Meese's actions on telephone company issues while holding the stock violated federal conflict-of-interest laws, according to sources familiar with the inquiry.
Lincoln said Ameritech sought the meeting with Meese "to enable the chairman to deliver personally Meese concerns" about the "adverse effects of the restrictions" imposed under the terms of the breakup.
The Justice Department later reversed position and asking the federal judge overseeing the breakup to lift the restrictions.
Meese obtained a waiver in January 1987 to participate in "discussions" involving telephone company matters. His lawyer, James Rocap, has said Meese obtained the waiver "out of an abundance of caution."
Rocap said Meese's early actions did not violate the conflict-of-interest law because he had "transferred all rights, title and interest" in the stock to his investment adviser, W. Franklyn Chinn, and because he did not take any substantive action before the waiver.