WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.VA., JAN. 22 -- George Mair, the recently hired chief press officer for House Speaker Jim Wright (D-Tex.) who created a furor over his letters to news organizations complaining about their treatment of Wright, will resign by early next week, congressional sources said tonight.
Mair's expected resignation from Wright's staff comes amid reports that he is the author of a 1982 book entitled "The Sex-Book Digest: A Peek Between the Covers of 113 of the Most Erotic, Exotic and Edifying Sex Books."
Capitol Hill sources said Mair's expected resignation has nothing to do with his authorship of the book but rather is coming because his usefulness as the speaker's spokesman was severely damaged by the letters he wrote to newspaper and magazine executives after he was hired in mid-December.
"George understands it's not the best thing for the speaker, and he's going to leave," said one source, who spoke on the condition that he not be identified. "He knows he didn't serve Speaker Wright well. He's leaving on his own."
Library of Congress references list a George Mair as the author of "The Sex-Book Digest." Congressional sources said it is the same person hired by Wright. Mair could not be reached for comment tonight.
Wright, interviewed as he and 130 other House Democrats traveled to the Greenbrier resort here for their annual issues conference, denied reports that Mair will shortly resign.
But other sources said Mair's brief tenure on Wright's staff will end by next week.
Mair, the former editor and publisher of the now-defunct Alexandria Gazette, was hired by Wright in an effort to correct what the speaker said were factual inaccuracies in a number of news accounts detailing Wright's efforts to intervene with federal regulators on behalf of troubled Texas savings and loan institutions.
Shortly after he was hired, however, Mair wrote a series of harsh letters to news organizations whose reporters had written articles about Wright. Among other accusations, the letters charged that two Los Angeles Times reporters had plagiarized their material and had never interviewed the speaker for their article.
Wright this week apologized to some of the reporters whose work had come under fire from Mair, took responsibility for the incidents and said Mair had exceeded his mandate.
Mair is also the author of a book on the Home Box Office network that sparked a suit by Carl Byoir & Associates, a public relations firm. The lawsuit, which was dismissed in May 1985, attempted to stop publication of "Inside Home Box Office: The Cash Cow That Almost Ate Hollywood." Mair had been employed as a part-time consultant with Byoir, where he worked on the HBO account.