WASHINGTON - Florida businessman Stanley G. Tate withdrew as President Clinton's nominee to head the Resolution Trust Corp. on Tuesday, accusing Senate Banking Committee Chairman Donald Riegle of scuttling his nomination.
Mr. Tate called his own press conference in the swank Willard Hotel to announce the decision.
The millionaire developer said he met with Deputy Treasury Secretary Roger C. Altman the day before Thanksgiving, and that Mr. Altman told him "it was obvious that Sen. Riegle would not set a confirmation hearing" on his nomination.
Phone Calls Not Returned
Mr. Tate placed more than 40 calls to the senator's office, which he said went unreturned.
Reading from an eight-page letter he had delivered to President Clinton, Mr. Tate said "I have absolutely no knowledge of information as to why Sen. Riegle will not meet with me, or why he obviously does not want me to become the chief executive officer of the RTC."
Mr. Tate said a majority of committee members supported him.
Sen. Riegle said in a statement, "Several serious questions had arisen with respect to the nomination of Stanley Tate. It is the standard committee practice to fully examine all areas of possible concern prior to scheduling a formal confirmation hearing."
Role as Consultant
Mr. Tate has worked as a,consultant to the Thrift Depositor Protection Oversight Board since his nomination last July.
In several press reports, unnamed sources said Mr. Tate sat in on an internal RTC meeting, where he interceded to help a congressman's former law firm keep its agency contracts. Mr. Tate denies the charge.
Mr. Altman will remain interim CEO of the agency, a post he can hold through March, a Treasury spokeswoman said.
Mr. Tate said he had found evidence of waste and fraud at the RTC. The Florida Republican also claimed to have received death threats and to have spent about $75,000 of his own money on expenses while in Washington. He called his experience "devastating."
Support from Treasury
The Treasury said it supported Mr. Tate to the end. Treasury spokeswoman Joan Logue-Kinder said, "We did ask Mr. Riegle very strongly to hold a hearing. We certainly were continuing those efforts up until the close of the 103d" Congress. "We are very appreciative of the time and effort that Mr. Tate had put in."
Mr. Tate also said he compiled a 200-page booklet of recommendations for reforming the agency, and planned to make it public until the Administration insisted that he not do so.
"I was told that it would be a Justice Department matter if I released it," Mr. Tate said. He said oversight board officials told him that under the terms of his employment contract he could not release agency data that might be confidential.
Mr. Tate said he would resign from the oversight board today.
Message to Taxpayers
He would not reveal the booklet's contents, but said, "The American taxpayer would not be happy if they were aware of what I found out concerning wastage of taxpayer monies at the RTC."
The Treasury Department, oversight board, and RTC refused to release a copy of the document.
But according to a press release apparently prepared before he was asked not to distribute the 200-page booklet, "The message contained in those documents is the story of ubiquitous mismanagement, wastage, and possibly fraud at the RTC.
Mr. Tate also handed out a summary of his recommendations for changes at the agency, but said in an interview late that he could not elaborate because they were in the booklet. Those recommendations are:
* No more waste and get-rich-quick deals.
* A program of strengthened postemployment restrictions.
* Support of whistle-blowers.
* Zero tolerance of sexual harassment and discrimination.
* Further advancement of Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen's 10-point management reform program.
* Continued emphasis on an RTC agenda of critical areas: Planning, financial management and control, operations, and public policy.
Mr. Tate painted a bitter picture of his experience as a Clinton nominee.
"Washington is a vicious city, with all kinds of hidden agendas," Mr. Tate said. "It is a city full of rumors, allegations, and accusations, without much, if any, regard for truthfulness or factuality."
The nominee's time in Washington was traumatic, he said. "Living in a hotel or in other temporary quarters for this length of time, without my family, has been expensive, lonely, and emotionally trying, to say the least."
Mr. Tate said the Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into a death threat he received.
"The nominee is both dispensable and disposable. There are no concerns for the nominee's emotions, his or her needs, his or her feelings, and unfortunately, not, even for the nominee's levels of competency."