A hearing on conflict-of-interest allegations against Neil Bush opened Tuesday with an administrative law judge rejecting former Silverado Chairman Michael Wise's attempt to invoke the Fifth Amendment and offering to take his testimony in private.

The federal Office of Thrift Supervision is trying to bar the president's son from the banking industry. The regulators in February accused Neil Bush of wrongdoing in his former role as a director of Silverado Banking, Savings and Loan, which failed in late 1988 at a cost to taxpayers of $1 billion. He could be banned from the banking and savings industry.The president's son, a Denver oil and gas developer, was not present when the hearing began Tuesday. Bush, 35, who adamantly denies wrongdoing, was expected to be the final witness of 11 scheduled to tes-tify this week.

After Wise asserted his Fifth Amendment rights, Judge Daniel Davidson disagreed that the right could be claimed at such a hearing.

He then adjourned the hearing, and participants went into a closed session in his chambers.