Associated Press

 

DONOVAN ASKS FOR SPECIAL PROBER

 

Date: 12/23/1981

Labor Secretary asks prosecutor be appointed to clear his name.

Donovan told a news conference that he had written Attorney General William French Smith to ask Smith to appoint the prosecutor to investigate the allegations that Donovan and the construction company he headed had made illegal payments to a union official.

Donovan called his accuser, former union official Mario Montuoro, a "damnable and contemptible liar." He denied that he or his company had done anything illegal.

The Justice Department already was conducting a preliminary investigation into whether to appoint a special prosecutor. Donovan said he was taking the unusual step of asking for the prosecutor himself because he wanted the matter cleared up as quickly as possible.

Smith notified President Ronald Reagan on yesterday afternoon of Donovan's request, said White House spokesman David Gergen.

"Of course it will be up to the Department of Justice to decide how to handle the situation," Gergen added.

Montuoro, former secretary-treasurer of the Blasters, Drillers and Miners Union, has told government investigators that Donovan was present at a luncheon in 1977 in New York City when an official of Donovan's Schiavone Construction Co. handed $2000 in an envelope to Louis C. Sanzo, president of Local 29, of the International Laborers' Union.

Donovan said "I absolutely and unequivocally deny that any officer or employee of Schiavone Construction Co. has paid any sort of bribe to Mr. Sanzo or anyone else at any time or any place."

"So there will be no misunderstanding, I want all of you to know that I am sick and tired of being bludgeoned constantly by a man who has convictions for possession of five ounces of heroin and a deadly weapon. He also has been previously charged with stabbing an officer while he was in the military - a man who I wouldn't know if he walked into this room," Donovan said in a statement.

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