Subject of probe into city contracts decides to retire Health concerns are cited for public works employee

August 08, 1991|By Ann LoLordo **HC lTB

A Baltimore public works employee who is the subject of a state criminal investigation into bid-rigging is retiring, city officials confirmed yesterday.

The retirement of Floyd W. Dearborn, who worked at least 10 years in the Central Garage, takes effect tomorrow, said George G. Balog, the public works director.

Mr. Dearborn announced his retirement this month, after state prosecutors delivered a subpoena to Mr. Balog's office for documents related to the purchase of heavy equipment.

David S. Goldberg, an attorney for Mr. Dearborn, said last night that his client's retirement "is solely due to health reasons."

"It has absolutely nothing to do with any investigation that may or may not be taking place," said Mr. Goldberg. "He has serious heart problems."

Last month, The Sun reported that the office of the state prosecutor was investigating allegations that a public works employee steered contracts for trucks and trucking equipment to a group of vendors. The alleged scheme, which is believed to have taken place over the last seven years, involved payoffs amounting to thousands of dollars, according to government sources. The sources identified the subject of the investigation as Mr. Dearborn, of Fallston.

The purchase of the city's fleet of vehicles -- from police patrol cars to snow plows -- is handled by staff at the Central Garage on Dickman Street with the help of a city purchasing agent. The city buys an average of $5 million in replacement vehicles a year, according to Ben Franklin, the acting chief of the garage.

The Public Works Department received subpoenas yesterday for documents involving the purchase of sanitation equipment and trucks, Mr. Balog said. Similar records were subpoenaed from the city purchasing agent and the Finance Department.

A year ago, Mr. Balog ordered an internal investigation into the operations at the garage after receiving a complaint of favoritism. Mr. Balog has refused to divulge the results of the investigation. He said, however, that Mr. Dearborn, the garage employee responsible for handling the contracts for 10 years, was transferred to another job in the department.

The state investigation centers on allegations that Mr. Dearborn tailored the specifications for certain equipment to match the stock manufactured by a handful of companies, according to government sources. As a result, only those companies would be able to provide the goods, the sources said.

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