N.H. Reporter Arrested in Newsroom, Charged With Holding a Stolen Letter

A reporter for the Concord, N.H., Monitor will be arraigned this morning for possession of an allegedly stolen letter that asserted bribery in the granting of a dog track license in Belmont, N.H.

Floyd H. Norris was arrested yesterday in the Monitor newsroom, under the authority of a warrant signed by Peter Lessard, former mayor of Laconia, N.H.

Norris last April 9 published excerpts of a letter from Lessard to N.H. governor Meldrim Thomson Jr., in which Lessard said he had been "bribed" to drop his bid for a track license.

Norris said that Lessard had said that someone had broken into his automobile last week and stolen a copy of the letter.

Lessard could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Lessard's letter said that one of the applicants for a license to build and operate a dog track had offered him $50,000 and a job last January if he would drop his own bid for a track license, Norris said yesterday.

Lessard had been representing a group called Tourism and Development, which had tried to obtain a license. The New Hampshire Greyhound Racing Commission refused licenses to Tourism and Development and eight other applicants, Norris said. Only two applicants received licenses.

After Lessard was refused a license, he "began calling around" to discover why he didn't get the license "which he had expected," Norris said.

"Lessard alleged one of the commissioners was obliged to an applicant," Norris said.

An aide to Thomson began an investigation January 23 of the income tax files of several of Thomson's "political enemies," Norris said. He said the state supreme court later ruled the investigation illegal.