Slander Defendant Will File Response

A Medical School official who last month filed a $250,000 slander lawsuit against a former Harvard architect has granted her a three-week extension in which to formally respond, the official's lawyer said yesterday.

Paul W. Shaw, attorney for Nicholas J. Johnson, the Med School's associate dean for facilities and administration services, said former project architect Janet S. Baum has hired a lawyer and will file her response by October 17.

The suit alleges that Baum maliciously told other Harvard employees that Johnson accepted a $100,000 kickback to award a building contract on the Med School's 'D Annex,' a Longwood Avenue office building.

Shaw said such extensions are fairly common and that granting Baum's request was not the result of a specific bargain.

Baum resigned in March after more than a decade of work here "citing the appearance of corruption" by Johnson, Peter S. Stevens, director of the Medical School architectural planning office, has said. Stevens, who supervised Baum and worked under Johnson, said Baum reviewed contract bids and Johnson had final authority on the awards.

No Comment, No Comment

Both Baum and Johnson have repeatedly refused comment on the suit. Harvard Vice President and General Counsel Daniel Steiner '54, who Stevens and Shaw said conducted an internal investigation, also refused to comment.

Stevens said it was "probable" that Baum supported or recommended a bid to renovate the D Annex which was priced lower than the $363,000 contract awarded in February to William A. Berry and Son, Inc. of Danvers.