Roone Arledge, head of sports and news at ABC-TV, said yesterday that, despite some insinuations to the contrary, a network employee had not been given a $10,000 bonus, a $4,000 salary increase and a permanent job to keep quiet about irregularities the employee had discovered in the ABC-sponsored U.S. Boxing Championships.
No allegations of a payoffto the employee, Ale Wallau, were made during yesterday's hearing before the House Subcommittee on Communications. But the network, apparently anticipating implications of payoff, presented a report the network explained why Wallau was paid $10,000.
Everett Erlick, general counsel for ABC, said the supplemental report was put together over the weekend by a New York law firm after the network learned that Subcommittee lawyers Philip Hochberg and Harry [WORD ILLEGIBLE] Shooshan last Thursday had [WORD ILLEGIBLE]ff to the employee, Alex Wallau, were made during yesterday's hearing before the House Subcommittee on Communications. But the network, apparently anticipating implications of payoff, presented a report the network explained why Wallau was paid $10,000.
Everett Erlick, general counsel for ABC, said the supplemental report as put together over the weekend by a New York law firm after the network learned that Subcommittee layers Philip Hochberg and Harry (Chip) Shoeshan last Thursday had [WORD ILLEGIBLE] of and were interested in the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] to Wallau.
[WORD ILLEGIBLE] by Philip Forlenza, who [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] another report for ABC on [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] and delivered to the Subcommittee Tuesday night, the [WORD ILLEGIBLE] report says:
[WORDS ILLEGIBLE] stated unequivocably [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] payment to Wallau [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] in any way to si- lence Wallau or influence his statements or conduct. Arledge stated that, in his opinion, Wallau could not be influenced in this regard by money . . .
"And that Wallay is such a highly motivated and principled person, with great desire to be accepted and valuable, that he would probably be offended if he thought he was receiving money in order to influence his statements or conduct."
According to the report and testimony, Wallau was hired by ABC on a temporary basis a little more than a year ago to produce on-air promotions. He was reassigned last September to be special adviser and associate producer on the U.S. Boxing Championships.
After researching the qualifications of the 56 boxers selected by Don King Enterprises to participate in the tournament, Wallau discovered that 31 were unqualified.
He so informed ABC Sports vice president Jim Spence last Dec. 21 in a memo that also referred to a forthcoming analysis of "potential damage" to the network's reputation from having been associated with the tournament.
Wallau was reassigned to his first job last February because of a personality conflict with Howard Cosell, Wallau and Arledge said. King also had wanted Wallau removed. Wallau said he was having difficulty dealing with promoters and thought his effectiveness as associate producer was impaired.
According to testimony yesterday and interviews compiled for the latest Fortenza report, Wallau went to Irwin Weiner, then ABC's vice president for finance, last April to discuss a number of matters.
Accounts among the various principles vary as to who initiated what and when, but Wallau did inquire about the possibility of getting a permanent job and a salary increase.
Wallay reportedly said he felt that, as a temporary employee, he had not been given an annual raise he would have been eligible for as a full-time employee. Because he had spent many hours of his own time researching fighters for the tournament, Wallau also asked for overtime.
Arledge testified yesterday that Wallay had become "a very valuable asset and should get paid for it. He thought he had been downgraded and that his credibility had been harmed. I told him his assistance and investigation was invaluable."
The supplemental report also says the $10,000 bonus was "not disporportionate to the substantial amount of work on boxing matters performed by Wallau and the quality of that work."
Because of Ring Magazine's reputation for accuracy and honesty (the magazine supplied the records for the fighters picked for the tournament), Arledge and Spence said, Wallau's initial reports were viewed somewhat cynically.
Spence said he felt Wallau's report was too detailed, although he said he never read beyond the covering letter because of his preoccupation with going to Moscow to bid for the 1981 Olympic television rights.
According to testimony, Spence eventually received two other warnings from staff members about irregularities in the rankings of competing fighters. Boxers, trainers and promoters were asked to give affidavits attesting to the validity of the rankings.
Arledge and Spence said they were surprised to find that some of those giving affidavits lied.
It also was revealed that when ABC Sports became worried about the situation, sportscaster Cosell was asked to help confirm some of the rankings.
Cosell said he talked to trainer Angelo Dundee - "who wouldn't dare lie to me" - about the qualify of the fighters selected for the tournament.
"Hee (Dundee) said, 'Overall, the quality is as good as you can get,'" Cosell testified, adding in response to a question that he did not know at the time of the conversation that Dundee had four of his boxers in the tournament.