WASHINGTON -- The Office of Thrift Supervision, revealing that its probe of savings and loan auditors is wider than previously reported, is wider than previously reported, asked a federal court here Monday to force Ernst & Young to produce documents detailing work the accounting firm did for 23 failed savings and loans.

The OTS is investigating whether the accounting firm is liable for any of the government's losses from failed thrifts, including Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, Irvine, Calif.; Silverado Banking, Savings and Loan Association, Denver, and Vernon (Tex.) Savings and Loan Association.

Subpoena in June

The regulator has also been probing loans to partners of KPMG Peat Marwick by its thrift clients.

The OTS issued an administrative subpoena in June, giving Ernst & Young until Sept. 16 to produce work papers, diaries, and other documents from audits of failed S&Ls. An OTS official rebuffed the firm's effort to kill the request.

According to an OTS press release, Ernst & Young "has failed to produce a single piece of paper required by the subpoena and has offered no excuse for its failure to comply."

"We believe the subpoena is invalid for a number of reasons, and we plan to file a response," said Mort Meyerson, director of communications at Ernst & Young in New York.

The OTS filed its petition with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

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