A federal grand jury investigating bribery allegations involving mayoral aide Joseph P. Yeidell subpoenaed Yeldell's confidential financial disclosure reports from the D.C. Board of Election and Ethics yesterday, but the board decided not to yield the data.
Winfred R. Mundle the board's lawyer, said relinquishing the material could endanger the confidentiality of an estimated 3,000 simiral forms filed by other elected officials, high level civil servants and othr city employees whose work involves licensing, contracting and procurement.
Invoking an argument that way rejected by a federal judge in an identical case a year ago. Mundle said the forms whose annual filling is requested by the city conflict of interest code, were meant to be used by the board alone in its enforcement of the conflicts law.
"I do not concede that the grand jury's subpoenas are without limitations. There are certain limits to grand jury power," Mundle said. "Those documents were given to the board with the specific notion of the board administering the (conflict of interest) act."
For the past seven months, the U.S. Attorney's Office, later joined by the FBI, has been looking into the financial and government relationships between Yeldell and Dominic F. Antonelli Jr., a prominent developer and the owner of Parking Management Inc., one of the city's largest parking firms.
Between 1973 and 1976, Yeldell received $54,500 in personal loans through Antonelli's assistance. Of that amount, $33,000 is believed by prosecutors to have come indirectly from Antonelli himself, while the remaining $21,500 was lent by the Madison National Bank, of which Antonelli is a major stockholder. Yeldell, who was the director of the city's Department of Human Resources, has acknowledged seeking Antonelli's help in getting both loans.
At about the same time that the loans were made, Yeldell's agency was weighing decisins that were later made in a way that benefied Antonelli financially. In 1973, DHR gave a corporation in which Antonelli was an officer a certificate of need to build a hospital downtown over the objections of some city medical planners. In 1976, DHR signed a $5.6 million, 20-years lease on a vacant building in Northeast Washington which Antonelli had purchased a few months earlier for $800,000.
Meanwhile, lawyers for Yeldell, who in the past have promised "full and total cooperation" with the federal probe, said they would consider turning over the materials voluntarily only if prosecutors promise that the data will not be leaked to the news media.