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RTC Chief Casey to Quit Agency : Thrifts: The 72-year-old Bush appointee plans to step down in early April. He has been the target of increasing criticism.

WASHINGTON POST

Albert V. Casey, chief executive of the much-criticized government thrift-cleanup agency, told his employees Wednesday that he is resigning.

In a letter to employees of the Resolution Trust Corp., Casey, 72, said he will leave government by early April, giving President Clinton six weeks to find a replacement to take over the task of disposing of billions of dollars in assets from failed savings and loans.

Casey, who declined comment Wednesday, has come under increasing fire for what critics contend has been billions of dollars of waste and mismanagement at the RTC.

Casey was taken to task by Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen earlier this week over the RTC’s decision to hire 1,300 workers and pay them an estimated $25 million for photocopying work at a California S&L;, bypassing the agency’s own contracting office in the process.

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Casey will be called before a Senate subcommittee Friday to account for the fees being paid for the photocopying at Homefed Savings Assn. in San Diego. Wednesday night, the RTC announced that it has renegotiated the copying contract with the accounting firm Price Waterhouse & Co., cutting the cost by about $4 million.

Another panel, the House banking investigations subcommittee, announced on Wednesday its own hearing on the RTC next Tuesday and asked Casey to come prepared to answer questions about a list of 14 troublesome agency operations, from unloading hard-to-sell assets to billing for legal fees.

Casey, who was appointed by President Bush in the fall of 1991 and given wide latitude in running the agency, pronounced from the beginning that the S&L; cleanup was nearly done. His role, Casey said, was to finish the job and shut the doors at the RTC. In recent months he has said the task is near enough to completion that the RTC should be merged into the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. this fall.

Critics in Congress, the General Accounting Office and in real estate markets have contended, however, that a huge task remains--selling off more than $100 billion in troubled assets that the RTC has inherited from S&Ls;, plus whatever else it takes in from as many as several hundred more sick thrifts that may fail. They have complained that Casey has been premature in declaring victory over the politically unpopular S&L; mess.

In his letter to RTC employees Wednesday, Casey said: “While it may be currently fashionable for critics to speak unfavorably of the RTC, it is my firm conviction that history will judge otherwise. I have no doubt that clarity of hindsight will show that you tackled an extraordinary challenge in difficult times, and carried out your mission with admirable resolve and competence.”

Many employees already have been laid off because Casey said they were no longer needed to sell assets and close down institutions.


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