Roos Discloses Wedding Gifts Worth $18,985

Times Staff Writers

When Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Mike Roos of Los Angeles got married last year, he and his bride were showered with wedding gifts worth $18,985, many of them from special-interest groups and fellow politicians who deal with him as a ranking Democratic leader in the Legislature.

In addition to wedding presents, Roos, who regularly presides over Assembly sessions, received $20,667 in gifts and trips in 1988, plus $24,950 in speaking fees.

Roos was not alone in enjoying the perquisites of public office.

Last year, lawmakers enjoyed free trips to Europe, China, Israel, Egypt and New Zealand. They were given free football and basketball tickets, passes to Disneyland, theater admissions and golf weekends. Many were paid to deliver speeches, often to groups seeking legislative favors.


It is part of the life style of legislators as revealed in annual financial disclosure reports that continued to arrive Thursday at the office of the Fair Political Practices Commission. The postmark deadline for the reports was midnight Wednesday.

Roos was paid $5,000 by the California Beer and Wine Wholesalers Assn. for a speech to its members last January. The group is frequently embroiled in legislative battles over such issues as the establishment of exclusive territories for beer distributors.

In February, Roos traveled to New Zealand with other lawmakers on a 10-day trip to look at the use of methanol-fueled vehicles. The expenses--$3,904 for Roos--were picked up by Atlantic Richfield Corp., ICI Americas Inc., Chevron U.S.A. Inc., Dow Chemical Co., the government of New Zealand and the California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy, a nonprofit group that arranged the trip.

Roos could not be reached for comment Thursday.


Others on the trip were Sens. Marion Bergeson (R-Newport Beach), Waddie Deddeh (D-Bonita) and Milton Marks (D-San Francisco), and Assembly members Jim Costa (D-Fresno), David G. Kelley (R-Hemet) and Lucy Killea (D-San Diego).

Another foreign traveler last year was Assemblyman Frank Hill (R-Whittier), who went to Europe with his wife on a $13,956 trip paid for by Atlantic Encounter, a Paris-based group. The group was described by the trip’s participants as an organization financed by multinational corporations that is interested in promoting trade with the European Economic Community.

Among others who reported receiving trips or payments from Atlantic Encounter were Assembly members Patrick Johnston (D-Stockton), Tom Hannigan (D-Fairfield), Stan Statham (R-Oak Run) and Assembly Speaker Willie Brown (D-San Francisco).

Hill, one of the targets of the FBI’s Capitol corruption probe, reported receiving $52,411 last year in gifts, travel and speaking fees, including a $2,500 honorarium from Peachstate Capital, a bogus firm seeking support for a special interest bill that was part of the federal sting operation.

Hill also reported receiving a $4,000 honorarium from Sunrise/Desert Partners, developers of a proposed major resort community in Indian Wells. The company supported legislation last year to permit the city to construct low-income housing outside the city limits.

Hill also reported a $2,000 honorarium from the California Retailers Assn., a group that fought for a bill that eliminated the limit on interest rates that retailers can charge their credit card customers. Hill sponsored the legislation on the Assembly floor.

A spokesman for Hill said that he has been advised not to talk to the press.

The Legislature’s top Republican speechmaker was Sen. William Campbell of Hacienda Heights, who reported collecting $46,900 in speaking fees last year. Only Brown and Senate President Pro Tem David A. Roberti (D-Los Angeles) received more.


Campbell, known for his quick wit and entertaining rhetoric, delivered speeches to a number of organizations with a interests in pending legislation, including the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Medical Assn. and the California Building Industry Assn., each of which paid him $2,000 for speeches in 1988.

Campbell’s biggest speaking fee of $5,000 was for an address on Soviet Jewry to a Jewish organization, the Friends of Lubavitch, while he was in New Orleans to attend the Republican National Convention.

Assemblyman Pete Chacon (D-San Diego), who generally receives only small fees as a speaker, was paid $7,500 by the California Check Cashers Assn. More than half of the payment--$4,000--was made on the day he abandoned legislation he was carrying to cap the fees that check-cashing businesses can charge their customers. He collected an average of $321 for his seven other speeches last year.

Although Chacon reported the $7,500 as payment for being a “speaker at meetings,” he said Thursday that the group paid him the money for touring check-cashing stores in Los Angeles and then meeting with the association’s board of directors.

Assemblywoman Doris Allen (R-Cypress) reported an unusual gift--$14,488 in legal services from Santa Ana attorney Lisa K. Hughes, who represented Allen in her divorce.

Under Proposition 73, which went into effect in January, lawmakers no longer may accept more than $1,000 annually in gifts or honorariums from a single source.

Also contributing to this story were Times staff writers Noel K. Wilson and Daniel M. Weintraub.