Durenberger indicted on two felony charges

April 03, 1993|By New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON -- Sen. David F. Durenberger, once a powerful figure in Republican circles and a leading Minnesota politician, was indicted yesterday on two criminal charges of submitting false expense claims to the Senate.

After a two-year investigation, a federal grand jury here accused Mr. Durenberger of conspiring with two other men in 1987 and 1988 to bill the government illegally for $3,825 in lodging expenses at a condominium he owned in Minneapolis.

At a news conference after the indictment was announced, Mr. Durenberger denied the accusations, which he called "groundless" and "completely false." He promised to battle his accusers in court and said he would not resign.

"I believe that fairness will prevail," the senator, 58, said. "So will the ideal of justice. So, in the end, will I. I don't expect to resign."

He said he was undecided about whether he would run for re-election in 1994 for a third full term.

Also charged were Michael C. Mahoney, his Minneapolis lawyer, and Paul P. Overgaard, described in the indictment as an adviser to the senator. Mr. Overgaard is president of Independent Service Co., a Minnesota pension advisory company.

The indictment said the three devised a scheme to bill the Senate for part of the cost of Mr. Durenberger's condominium, making it appear that he was renting the unit from Mr. Overgaard's company so that he could claim reimbursement from the Senate.

Mr. Overgaard denied any wrongdoing in the condominium deal. Mr. Mahoney could not be reached for comment.

If convicted on both charges, Mr. Durenberger could face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. Mr. Mahoney and Mr. Overgaard, who were also charged with one count each of perjury and making false statements, face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

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