Former Games fund-raiser expected to enter plea deal Accused of stealing $15,000 from program

August 02, 1992|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

A former fund-raiser for the Maryland State Games who was accused of cashing a $15,000 sponsorship check meant for the scandal-ridden youth program is expected to enter into a plea agreement in Carroll Circuit Court tomorrow.

Jerry Lee Osgood, 43, was charged with theft by state police when the check -- made out to Mr. Osgood in care of the Maryland State Games -- was cashed at an Annapolis bank rather than deposited in the State Games account, court documents show.

In December 1989, Mr. Osgood, who traveled around the state in search of corporate sponsorships for the program for troubled youth, picked up a $15,000 check from the Annapolis-based Maryland Council of Coca-Cola Bottlers, court records show.

"Instead of returning to the State Games office with the check, [Mr. Osgood] endorsed and cashed the check at the Farmers National Bank of Annapolis and has converted the entire check to his own use," court records say.

At the time Mr. Osgood was accused of cashing the check, the State Games were located at 6655 Sykesville Road in Sykesville.

The case was scheduled to be heard in front of a jury tomorrow morning. However, the State's Attorney's Office and the Office of the Public Defender, which represents Mr. Osgood, have been negotiating with each other, and apparently reached an agreement Friday afternoon.

Edward Ulsch, an assistant state's attorney, indicated last week that a jury trial might not be necessary. Edward Barry, a public defender, echoed the sentiment. Mr. Barry was expected to raise several issues during a 45-minute pre-trial hearing scheduled tomorrow.

"I can tell you there will be no trial and there will be no motions hearing," Mr. Barry said Friday. "Throughout this entire ordeal, my client has steadfastly maintained his innocence."

Mr. Osgood's case is the latest development in the State Games scandal.

The Maryland State Games program was established by former state Department of Health Secretary Adele A. Wilzack to promote amateur athletics. Its goal was to discourage young people from using drugs.

General Assembly auditors in 1990 disclosed improprieties in the way the program was run.

James E. Narron, the executive director of the program and at one-time a potential prosecution witness in Mr. Osgood's case, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit misconduct in office in May.

When he was sentenced last week to two years of probation, he trembled and cried as he told a Baltimore Circuit judge he was sorry for taking part in the scandal.

Narron's co-defendant, former Deputy Health Secretary James M. Staubitz Jr., also pleaded guilty in May to the same charge. He failed to appear last week for his sentencing, and remained a fugitive late last week.

Prosecutors said that Narron and Staubitz sold thousands of dollars worth of "glow sticks," which were paid for with public money, and took the bulk of the proceeds for themselves. Narron also used State Games money to pay for trees planted at his house, for country club fees and for a Las Vegas vacation.

Prosecutors said more than $12,000 of State Games money was used to purchase a corporate membership at the Turf Valley Country Club, $4,500 was used to pay for a band for a party for the governor's staff and $3,000 of program money was used to pay for tuition for a niece of Staubitz's.

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