Contractor fined $25,000 for bribes Payoffs on housing, Naval Academy contracts put man in halfway house.

May 16, 1991|By Kelly Gilbert | Kelly Gilbert,Evening Sun Staff

A federal judge today fined contractor Carroll R. Dunton $25,000 and sentenced him to six months in a halfway house for bribing an Annapolis housing director and a Naval Academy public works officer in order to get lucrative construction and repair contracts.

Judge John R. Hargrove, in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, also imposed three years of probation on Dunton, 65, of Annapolis, on a suspended prison sentence.

"There was greed on both sides," Hargrove told Dunton. "You weren't exactly innocent. You made some money out of it."

Dunton, an owner of Dunton Contracting Co., pleaded guilty last year to bribing Arthur G. Strissel Jr., former executive director of the Annapolis Housing Authority, with custom plumbing and other items for his home in 1984 and 1985, and to paying numerous illegal gratuities to Navy Capt. James E. Weston at the academy in 1986 and 1987.

Strissel is serving a 10-year prison term on his 1988 convictions on racketeering, bribery and wire fraud charges. Weston was convicted of conspiracy, bribery and obstruction of justice charges here May 3 and is awaiting sentencing.

"I would give anything to be able to change the things I've done, but I can't," Dunton said in court today. "I've ruined the business I worked hard to build, I've hurt my family, and my brother's family, and my sister's family. I want to apologize to all of them."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane F. Barrett said Dunton provided key prosecution testimony against Weston "but he came in three years late to cooperate," long after he had obstructed justice by lying to the federal grand jury that investigated Strissel.

Barrett, who prosecuted both Strissel and Weston, said Dunton was involved in a "pattern of activity" that included "greedy, corrupt officials and greedy, corrupt contractors willing to play the game."

Defense attorneys Allen Schwait and Thomas P. O'Neill 3rd said Dunton was a victim of the public officials' greed.

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