Developer disputes Greiber

October 13, 1994|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Sun Staff Writer

A Baltimore-area developer has contradicted claims by John R. Greiber, the Republican candidate for state's attorney, that he provided legal advice to the developer's business ventures, which included building Dulaney Center I in Towson.

Lawrence J. Rachuba, whose family has been involved in commercial developments throughout the Baltimore metropolitan area, said Mr. Greiber, his former brother-in-law, never worked for him.

"I was never involved with any business deals with him," Mr. Rachuba said.

Mr. Greiber said in an interview Sept. 28 that he provided legal advice to the family in the early 1970s while he was married to Lois Rachuba, Mr. Rachuba's sister.

"My ex-wife's family was in business," he said. "They were into business big. I mean, the Truckers Inn and Towson Town Center. So I was not just advising mom-and-pop businesses. I was advising large corporations."

"He would tell people that he represented me," Mr. Rachuba said. "He would go look at buildings and then my name would come up and he would say that he represented me."

Yesterday, Mr. Greiber stood by his claims.

"Over that period of time, Larry paid for my first stationery that I used out of law school and he spoke to me about various business interests," he said. "Obviously, our memories are different."

Mr. Greiber's credibility and work history prior to 1989 has been questioned by his opponent, incumbent Democrat Frank R. Weathersbee.

Mr. Weathersbee has said Mr. Greiber has worked full time as a lawyer for about five years. He points to a search his staff did of phone books between 1970 and 1991 where Mr. Greiber's name either is not listed, or not listed as an attorney.

Mr. Greiber has said it was not necessary for him to advertise because he was getting referrals from his former wife's family.

"This is a desperate act by a good-old-boy politician in the waning hours of a failing campaign," Mr. Greiber said yesterday.

Moreover, the "Democratic machine in the county is desperately afraid of John Greiber becoming state's attorney because they know full well I will use the investigative powers of that office to expose political corruption," he said.

But Mr. Weathersbee, whose campaign staff has been aggressively checking Mr. Greiber's background, said his opponent's record demonstrates a lack of integrity.

"When we talk about the state's attorney's office what is truly important, besides experience, is integrity," he said.

Although Mr. Weathersbee has questioned his opponent's experience, Judge Howard Dawson, a senior judge in the U.S. Tax Court, said Mr. Greiber was an experienced lawyer when he attended graduate-level tax law classes in the mid-1980s.

"He was highly intelligent and had been practicing law for several years," Judge Dawson said. "He seemed to be handling a lot of business transactions. He was not a green lawyer at that time."

Mr. Greiber applied in 1970 for the license to Chadwick Liquor in the 7100 block of Security Blvd. and has said he practiced law from an office at that address in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Mr. Greiber moved to Gettysburg, Pa., in 1973, where he bought a 24-acre horse farm and raised championship quarter horses, but retained control of the liquor store. He lived in Pennsylvania until about 1980, he said.

Mr. Weathersbee said Mr. Greiber was not listed as an attorney in the phone books there or as a member of the local bar association.

Mr. Greiber sold the farm in the early 1980s and returned to Maryland, where he formed a partnership with Ray Sears, a Davidsonville man he met while working the horse circuit; his cousin, Thomas Greiber; and other relatives.

The partners opened a pizza parlor called Little Sicily's in Brooklyn Park that eventually went bankrupt.

According to court records, Mr. Sears sued Mr. and Mrs. Greiber and other partners, alleging they misappropriated corporate funds. After a series of suits and counter suits, all parties agreed to drop their claims.

According to court records, Mr. Greiber agreed to sell his interests in the business to Mr. Sears for $10.

But Mr. Greiber disputed that version of the settlement.

"I was paid money," he said. "I was guaranteed to be held harmless from all debts, they bought my interests out and my uncle's interest out. It went into bankruptcy under Sears. I was paid somewhere in the area of $30,000 between Ray Sears and Thomas Greiber."

There is no record available of such a payment in the court file.

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