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Mr. STROBEL. I think that is correct; yes, sir.
Mr. KEATING. And you sent to them, as you did to many other big firms—you said, “Here is a questionnaire, if you are interested in doing Government work fill this questionnaire out and return it to us.'
Mr. STROBEL. That is correct.
Mr. KEATING. And as far as you know Ferrenz & Taylor to this very day have not actively solicited business while you have been there?
Mr. STROBEL. That is correct.
Mr. Fins. The basic question is, Is the inclusion of the firm on the list the equivalent of soliciting business?
Mr. STROBEL. No, sir.
Mr. RODINO. May I ask one further question, Mr. Strobel. Did Ferrenz & Taylor respond to the Government's request for information in order to be included on such a list prior to the time that the solicitation came from Mr. Schwarz?
Mr. STROBEL. I have to answer this way, that personally I have no knowledge as to whether they actually submitted full information or not. If they did it is in our file. But I don't personally know about it.
Mr. FINE. Mr. Rodino wanted to know whether or not the Government solicited the information from Ferrenz.
Mr. STROBEL. We did.
Mr. STROBEL. The Government did. And the answer was—the question was, the way I understood
I understood it, Did they submit such information ?
Mr. RODINO. That is right.
Mr. RODINO. In other words, the Government would on its own initiative solicit certain information from certain outstanding firms; is that it ?
Mr. STROBEL. Right.
Mr. RODINO. And whether or not this information was submitted by Ferrenz & Taylor at that time that this solicitation developed, you do not know.
Mr. STROBEL. That information was not submitted to me personally; it was requested to be mailed in to the Acting Director of Design and Construction. He has charge of the file.
The CHAIRMAN. Any other questions?
Mr. MALETZ. Now I turn to the Petroff matter, Mr. Schwarz. Were you in this room when Mr. Strobel testified that on August 26, 1954, he, as Commissioner of Public Buildings, recommended to his subordinate, Mr. Lawton, Deputy Regional Director of GSA, that Mr. Lawton consider or award a Government architectural contract to Serge Petroff? Did you hear that testimony?
Mr. ROBB. Did you say “consider or award”?
Mr. SCHWARZ. I heard the testimony. Whether it is exactly as you say I don't know, but I heard the testimony.
Mr. MALETZ, Mr. Lawton testified, page 101:
The CHAIRMAN. He used the words “absolute instruction." I am trying to find out what he meant by it.
I will read Mr. Lawton's answer: Mr. LAWTON. I meant by that that Mr. Strobel inferred that I was to do business with Petroff and not with any other firm. I welcomed the suggestion from Mr. Strobel because of the time problem involved in this work.
Now, do you recall that testimony?
Mr. STROBEL. Mr. Counsel, isn't it also true that Mr. Lawton also testified that my request or my mention of the name of Petroff did not mean that he exclusively had to deal with that man?
Mr. MALETZ. Let me read at page 101, Mr. Strobel :
Mr. MALETZ. When you left Mr. Strobel's office, did you consider awarding this contract to anybody but Petroff?
Mr. Lawton. No; I had no reason to at that time.
Mr. LAWTON. Mr. Strobel had recommended Mr. Petroff to me, I had confidence in his knowledge of the firms in New York City, and I saw no reason to question it until I had talked with Petroff.
Mr. ROBB. Mr. Counsel, would you mind reading the next question and answer?
Mr. MALETZ. Yes; I will read the rest of the page: The CHAIRMAN. You said that you do not consider that it was absolute instruction. Do you mean by that that there was an instruction ?
Mr. LAWTON. I do not consider that it was an order to do business with Petroff to the exclusion of any other firm.
The CHAIRMAN. But the fact that Mr. Strobel had had this conversation with you and told you about Petroff, in view of the fact that Mr. Strobel was your superior, you felt that that was an instruction, did you not? It might not have been absolute instruction, but it was an instruction.
Mr. KEATING. You are putting the words in his mouth.
The CHAIRMAN. He used the words "absolute instruction," I am trying to find out what he meant by it.
Mr. LAWTON. I meant by that Mr. Strobel inferred that I was to do business with Petroff and not with any other firm. I welcomed the suggestion from Mr. Strobel because of the time problem involved in this work.
Now, let me ask you this, Mr. Schwarz. Is it or is it not correct that at that time, August 27, 1954, Petroff was a regular and active client of Strobel & Salzman?
Mr. SCHWARZ. That is correct.
Mr. MALETZ. Now, after August 27, 1954, how many jobs did Strobel & Salzman get from Petroff?
Mr. SCHWARZ. What was that date?
Mr. MALETZ. I have the information here, and I can ask you whether it is correct. On December 1, 1954, did Strobel & Salzman get a contract from Serge Petroff ?
Mr. SCHWARZ. Well, I would have to look through here now.
Mr. FINE. Mr. Chairman, the record shows that he did, why do we have to repeat the same facts?
The CHAIRMAN. The question will be propounded and answered as Mr. Maletz indicated.
Mr. SCHWARZ. What date was that?
Mr. MALETZ. Why don't you tell us what jobs Strobel & Salzman got from Petroff after August 27, 1954?
Mr. SCHWARZ. I don't know that I can say that, tell those jobs definitely, I don't know for sure. I know these jobs that are listed in this list, and I know what has happened in those jobs.
The CHAIRMAN. Tell it in your own words.
Mr. SCHWARZ. This one which you speak of as December 1, 1954, is a job which has not up to the present time been started, or no contract has been determined on it, even though it is shown in this record; and so we have no contract at this moment on that particular job.
We have made an expenditure of money in connection with it; and if the job doesn't go ahead we won't get any fee on it. That is the way I can answer the question on that first one.
Mr. MALETz. That is the December 1, 1954, job?
Mr. SCHWARZ. The next one on this list, which is January 5, 1955, we did that job for-we did that job on which Mr. Petroff was the architect, that is correct.
Mr. MALETZ. And what was the fee?
Mr. SCHWARZ. I would say that the fee on that job would be something in the neighborhood of $12 to $13 thousand.
The CHAIRMAN. Any others?
Mr. SCHWARZ. On the other one, which is dated August 31, 1955, which was to determine whether a safe could be put on a floor of a building at 217 Broadway, from which the fee is going to be about $50, was done by us.
The CHAIRMAN. Just $50 ?
Mr. SCHWARZ. The job listed there as February 9 is not from Mr. Petroff, it is from somebody else.
Mr. MALETZ, I see.
Mr. FINE. Mr. Chairman, I would like to make a statement on this Petroff thing. I have stated it many times already, but I am going to state it for the record once and for all.
It is my personal opinion from what I have heard here, and from the record that I have read very carefully, that the Petroff matter has been blown up beyond proportions, that Mr. Lawton did testify that the Petroff firm, as any other architectural firm, would be doing the Government a favor if they were to take this job.
And under those circumstances, and knowing the background of the facts as they appear in the record, I think we are making a mountain out of this molehill. And I think the next time I hear anything about this Petroff matter I am going to vote definitely, and I will tell you now, that that matter not be considered an indictment against this
witness. I think it is outrageous to have us go over and over again a matter which Mr. Lawton testified to, and from whom we elicited the information very definitely that it was one of those very unusual circumstances. And unless Petroff did it, nobody else could have done it within the time limit.
The CHAIRMAN. I think the gentleman from New York makes an excellent advocate for Mr. Strobel.
Mr. FINE. If being an advocate means, I want to get the facts, then that is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. We can't conduct an inquiry with precision like instruments.
Mr. FINE. Then why, every time you or counsel asks a question, have you got to put in the hypothetical question or the facts.
The CHAIRMAN. When you become a judge of the Supreme Court of the State of New York I know you are going to be an excellent judge
Mr. FINE. I won't tolerate this line of questioning:
The CHAIRMAN. But this is not a hearing in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, this is a committee where there is a considerable latitude, as is the case in all committees of Congress.
Mr. KEATING. There certainly is latitude when you can spread over the newspapers that the gentleman is being investigated by the FBI.
Mr. FINE. Will the gentleman yield?
The CHAIRMAN. I think the gentleman from New York wants to withdraw his statement that the Chairman wants to be fair and objective.
Mr. FINE. The chairman knows that I love and respect him as a personal friend. I want to discuss this with him. Are we trying to win a case or trying to get the facts? If we are trying to win a case, that is one thing, and if we are trying to get the facts, that is another. I assume from what I said and the chairman said that what we are trying to get is the facts unbiased.
The CHAIRMAN. I wonder whether the gentleman from New York is unbiased when he makes those statements as far as the Chair is concerned ?
Mr. FINE. No, I said I love you.
Mr. RODINO. I think, Mr. Chairman, we had better get on with the hearing. I am interested in conducting an impartial, fair hearing, that is what I seek to do.
Mr. KEATING. I want to say at this time that I love the chairman too, and I don't want to have my friend from Brooklyn as the only one displaying all of this affection for the chairman
The CHAIRMAN. No; he is from the Bronx. Mr. KEATING. It may be that the chairman had an idea that the facts were somewhat different from the evidence that has been brought out here, and I am frank to say that in our executive session when I was made to understand what evidence was going to be unfolded I was rather surprised, and I am still looking for that evidence that we talked about in the executive session. But we aren't through yet.
The CHAIRMAN. If anybody looks with myopic eyes of course he can't see. And I am afraid the gentleman from Rochester and the gentleman from New York are looking with myopic eyes on this testimony. I see it different than they do, and I don't think my eyes are myopic. But go on with the questions.
Mr. KEATING. I haven't worn glasses in a long time, and my eyes are considered pretty good.
Mr. RODINO. I have 20–20 vision too. But I think we had better wait before we make the conclusions. I don't think anyone here intends to be an advocate, I think everyone intends to judge fairly.
The CHAIRMAN. I think that is a very fair observation.
Mr. MALETZ. Now, Mr. Schwarz, did the August 30, 1955, list of firms which you prepared, with which Strobel & Salzman negotiated, include the firm of Wilcox & Erickson?
Mr. SCHWARZ. That is correct.
Mr. MALETZ. Could you tell us when Strobel & Salzman negotiated with Wilcox & Erickson?
Mr. SCHWARZ. I don't think that I can give you the exact date, but I can tell you what happened.
Mr. MALETZ. Sure.
Mr. SCHWARZ. Mr. Erickson required the services of a man to do some work in his office, and Mr. Strobel was kind enough to loan to Mr. Erickson that man who worked for us who was qualified to do the type of work which was required. And when the work was finished, we billed Wilcox & Erickson for the amount of this man's service, and we did a favor to Mr. Erickson. That is the reason why his name is on this list.
Mr. MALETZ. Has Strobel & Salzman sought to obtain work from Carson & Lundin, a New York architectural firm?
Mr. SCHWARZ. I can't answer that “Yes” or “No."
Mr. SCHWARZ. One of the people in Carson & Lundin called up Mr. Salzman some time
offered us a job, and we wouldn't take it; we didn't take it, that is. I know about the soliciting of business with Carson & Lundin.
Mr. MALETZ. They offered you, Strobel & Salzman, a job, but you wouldn't take it?
Mr. SCHWARZ. Yes. It was the New York City Fire House.
Mr. SCHWARZ. I don't know what the exact date was. He came into our office, I don't know when it was.
Mr. MALETZ. About when would that have been?
Mr. SCHWARZ. Well, it might have been sometime the latter part of last year, November or December.
Mr. MALETZ. And he came into your office!
Mr. SCHWARZ. He told me at that moment that if we wanted some work from an architectural firm, he would arrange to have me meet somebody from that firm.
Mr. MALETZ. Will you name the architectural firm?
Mr. MALETZ, Did he indicate to you that he had met with Mr. Strobel prior to visiting you?