WESTMINSTER — A former Baltimore Public Works Department employee pleaded guilty Monday to bribery for steering equipment contracts to several firms inexchange for more than $185,000 in cash, vacations in Ocean City andcowboy boots and hats.
Floyd W. Dearborn, 64, of Fallston, Harford County, used his position in the Public Works Department between 1984 and 1991 to ensure that more than $1.5 million worth of city business went to International Harvester Co., its successors (Navistar International Corp. and Beltway International Trucks), Waddle Truck Equipment Inc., and several subcontractors, according to the case presented in Baltimore Circuit Court.
The subcontractors were identified in court as Snyder Body Inc. of Hampstead, under the ownership of James C. Snyder, and K & L Truck Equipment Co. Inc. Snyder Body was purchased in 1988 by Mark Snyder, a former Westminster councilman who says he has not done business with Dearborn or the city since he purchased the company.
State prosecutor Thomas M. McDonough said International Harvester and its successors are not under investigation and the state's case focuses on a sales staff member, whom he declined to identify.
As part of a plea agreement, Dearborn will "cooperate fully" with an ongoing city grandjury investigation into the award of millions of dollars worth of city contracts for the purchase of dump trucks, police wagons, snow plows and other pieces of equipment, said McDonough. He added that otherindictments are expected later this year.
A central figure in thestate's investigation, Keith E. Graham of Westminster, was working for Snyder in 1984 when the change in distributors occurred. After Graham left in November 1986, he started his own firm, K & L Truck Equipment Co., and the city business followed him.
In the second bribery scheme, Dearborn received $115,000 in cash from C. William Waddle of Manchester, owner of Waddle Truck Equipment Inc., of Baltimore, in exchange for persuading several chassis firms to hire the Waddle firmas subcontractor.
McDonough said Waddle is cooperating with the state investigation and has agreed to pay $115,000 in restitution.
SUIT SETTLEMENT EYED
WESTMINSTER -- A settlement conference has been scheduled in the $4.2 million defamation lawsuit filed last year by Jeff Griffith against an Eldersburg man.
Griffith, a Westminster attorney who was previously a county commissionerand an unsuccessful candidate for the state Senate, and his friend Donna Jean Lappas had filed separate lawsuits charging that retired businessman Hoby Wolf defamed them with a paid advertisement run in a Westminster newspaper.
Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. last monthscheduled a settlement conference for Aug. 10 and a subsequent hearing on the merits of the case for Sept. 10.
In the suits -- which were consolidated by the judge -- Wolf was charged with defamation, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Sykesville Mayor Lloyd R. Helt Jr. is representing Griffith and Lappas.
The ad, run days before the September 1990 primary for the District 5 seat won by Larry Haines, did not name Griffith, but is said tohave made allusions to his private life.
Griffith is a columnist for The Carroll County Sun.
WILT PLEADS FOR BOYFRIEND
WESTMINSTER -- Convicted murderer Julie R. Wilt was the only witness called to testify in behalf of her boyfriend, Byron P. Pantazonis, Monday as he tried to convince a judge to reduce his prison sentence on an unrelated theft charge.
Wilt and Pantazonis were convicted in thefts as part of a several-month scheme to steal more than$260,000 worth of antiques from the Westminster home of Emily Fink. Wilt was given probation before judgment by Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr.; Pantazonis was given a 12-year sentence with five years suspended by Circuit Judge Francis M. Arnold.
It was Arnold who heard testimony Monday by Pantazonis and Wilt; he will issue a decision on the matter in several days.
Pantazonis had requested to have his sentence reduced by two years.
"I want a better chance to make something of my life. Please, Judge Arnold, there is more good in me than my record shows," he wrote in a letter to the judge.
Wilt testified Monday that she was mostly responsible for the scheme, and that Pantazonis went along to help her financially.
Here is a compilation of some recent sentences imposed in Circuit and District courts:
Gayle Benesch: 1 year probation, 50 hours of voluntary community service, Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr., manufacturing a controlled dangerous substance, March 2.
Jerry Benesch: 3 years probation, 150 hours of voluntary community service, Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr., manufacturing a controlled dangerous substance, March 2.
Kevin Bryson: 1 year, all suspended and probation, Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr., night-time burglary, March 3.
Roy Collins Jr.: Probation before judgment, 2 years participation in Drunken Drivers Monitoring Program, Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr., driving while intoxicated, March 2.
Randal Hawker: 18 months in the Department of Corrections, all suspended, 3 years probation, Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr., indecent exposure, March 2.
Glen Hawkins: 18 months in the Department of Corrections, Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr., manufacturing a controlled dangerous substance, March 3.
James Keiser Jr.: 2 years in the Departmentof Corrections, all suspended, 5 years in the Drunken Drivers Monitoring Program, Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr., driving while intoxicated, March 2.
Matthew McKinney: 18 months in the Department of Corrections, all but 6 months in the Carroll County Detention Center suspended, 5 years probation, Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr., breaking and enteringwith intent to steal, March 5.
Michael Petry: 90 days Carroll County Detention Center, all but 30 days suspended, Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr., trespassing, March 4.