INVESTIGATIONS: Bernard Goldfine's Two Faces

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From two days of testimony before the House Special Subcommittee on Legislative Oversight last week emerged the two faces of Bernard Goldfine. The first face, carefully shaped by lawyers and flacks (see box next page), was that of a humble, eager-to-please immigrant who had come to wealth and awakened astonished one day to find his name "in the newspapers all over America because of gifts and hospitality to a friend of almost 20 years." The second Goldfine told more about how he had become a millionaire in Massachusetts' tough, no-quarter textile and real estate world; that face was angry, the voice hard, the attitude belligerent, the answers evasive. And at week's end it was hard to say which Bernard Goldfine had most hurt his greatest friend, White House Staff Chief Sherman Adams.

The first Goldfine, groomed in a dark blue suit and "B.G."-initialed blue silk tie, walked into the packed subcommittee hearing room chin up but eyes downcast, escorted by a retinue of three lawyers, devoted employees and jewelry-hung wife. When Subcommittee Chairman Oren Harris administered the oath, Goldfine helplessly mouthed words, cleared a frog from his throat and finally croaked: "I do." Then he launched into the 25-page statement that the lawyers and pressagents had written, right down to grammatical errors, to fit his role of the common but honest man.

Beyond Paper Work. "I was born 67 years ago in a little town in Russia, Avanta, Russia, and I came to America when I was eight years old," he began. "My business today is a family business, which makes good jobs for 1,200 people, including my two sons, Solomon and Horace, who are right here in this room." Going on from there, with many a homely axiom and many a catch in the throat, Goldfine:

¶ Spoke proudly of his long friendship with Sherman Adams, who shared his faith in the industrial future of New England. On cue, during the reading he removed a gold wristwatch. passed it to the committee—"providing I get it back.'' Said he: "The watch I am wearing now. on the back of it is written 'to B.G.'—that means Bernard Goldfine—'from S.A.'—that's Governor Sherman Adams—dated Jan. 20. 1953. and we all know that date. That is the inauguration date President Eisenhower was inaugurated.''

¶ Complained that "this whole miserable massacre of character'' resulted from the vengeful attitude of John Fox, former publisher of the defunct Boston Post (TIME, July 7)—and all because Goldfine had demanded payment from Fox of a legal debt. Said Goldnne: "It's not pleasant to have to talk about Mr. Fox because he seems like a sick man to me. He's crazy like a fox."

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