Housing Authority engineer pleads guilty to taking bribes

January 13, 1994|By Marcia Myers | Marcia Myers,Staff Writer

A Baltimore City Housing Authority engineer pleaded guilty yesterday to soliciting a $2,500 bribe from a contractor in exchange for helping the company get $150,000 worth of work at the George B. Murphy Homes.

John L. Dutkevich, 46, of Timonium will be sentenced March 30.

As part of a plea agreement, he admitted accepting more than $25,000 in bribes in connection with Housing Authority contracts between 1990 and 1993, including the $2,500 from Pittsburgh-based Classic Contractors Inc. in 1990.

Federal prosecutors have agreed to drop the remaining 13 counts of his indictment when Dutkevich is sentenced.

His responsibilities as a project engineer included work done at Murphy Homes, Lakeview Tower, the Monument East senior citizens high rise, Emerson-Julian Homes and The Broadway.

In exchange for Dutkevich's recommendation on certain jobs, contractors paid him by cash or check. One example: Classic Contractors paid more than $1,000 for his airfare, food and lodging during a trip to the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens in 1991.

An FBI investigation began last February, after a representative of a local company, Proceres Building Restoration Inc., reported that Dutkevich had solicited a bribe from him. Company officials agreed to cooperate in the investigation.

In July, Dutkevich solicited $3,000 from FBI Special Agent James Whitenight, who posed as a private contractor.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary P. Jordan said yesterday that the investigation is continuing and that more charges are expected. He said he will recommend a sentence of 21 months in prison when Dutkevich is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Frederic N. Smalkin.

Daniel P. Henson III, executive director of the Housing Authority since last April, said the investigation has led to changes in how his office monitors contracts.

"Clearly, one of the things this has caused is closer attention by me to the procurement process," said Mr. Henson, explaining

that he now regularly questions change orders.

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