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Clinton pardons former U.S. envoy under Reagan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Clinton Tuesday pardoned a former U.S. ambassador who pleaded guilty in a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) scandal under former President Ronald Reagan.

The Justice Department announced Clinton's pardon for Philip Winn, who had served as an assistant HUD secretary, but gave no comment on the president's reasons for granting the pardon.

Winn was a prominent Colorado developer who returned to the private sector after a stint at HUD under Reagan, and was then tapped to be U.S. ambassador to Switzerland.

The HUD scandal came to light in 1989, after the Reagan administration left office, when the agency's inspector general released a scathing internal audit of a program intended to provide rent-subsidy grants to developers in order to improve substandard housing for poor families.

The program was promptly suspended by the new housing secretary, Jack Kemp, but the abuses spawned a series of congressional hearings and the appointment in 1990 of an independent counsel.

Winn was sentenced in April 1994 to two years' probation and a fine of $981,975 after he pleaded guilty to one count of scheming to give illegal gratuities.

No charges were brought against Samuel Pierce, who was HUD secretary at the time of the scandal. Pierce died last month. The highest former officials to be convicted were Winn, another former HUD assistant secretary, Thomas Demery, and Deborah Gore Dean, Pierce's former executive assistant.

Copyright 2000 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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Wednesday, November 22, 2000


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