Builder reportedly telling authorities of corruption in P.G. Guilty in hit scheme, Shapiro said to seek leniency for information

September 25, 1996|By William F. Zorzi Jr. and Thomas W. Waldron | William F. Zorzi Jr. and Thomas W. Waldron,SUN STAFF

A millionaire developer who pleaded guilty to hiring a hit man to kill his cousin is talking to federal authorities about possible public corruption in Prince George's County, law enforcement sources confirmed yesterday.

Charles S. Shapiro, 56, a Bethesda developer who has worked in Prince George's, is awaiting sentencing in Montgomery County Circuit Court on a charge of conspiracy to commit murder.

He is trying to strike a deal for leniency in exchange for information on possible wrongdoing in Prince George's, sources said.

The time frame and scope of Shapiro's assertions were unclear. Sources said some cover periods before December 1994, when many members of the Prince George's County Council left office and then-County Executive Parris N. Glendening stepped down to become governor.

Law enforcement officials said Shapiro's allegations are being examined by federal agents, but said it would be premature to call the inquiry "an investigation."

No allegations have been substantiated to date, the sources said.

Spokesmen for the U.S. Attorney's office and the FBI declined to comment yesterday.

Efforts to reach Shapiro were unsuccessful.

Shapiro pleaded guilty in July to arranging two unsuccessful murder attempts in 1993 against his 70-year-old cousin, Marvin Greenfield of Bethesda, over a long-simmering business dispute.

His sentencing was scheduled for last Wednesday, but was postponed after Shapiro asked for more time to get his financial affairs in order.

The sentencing is now set for Oct. 30.

Shapiro remains free on a $75,000 bond.

His first trial on the contract-murder charge ended with a hung jury last February.

In July, Shapiro surprised prosecutors when he pleaded guilty to the murder conspiracy as a retrial was set to begin.

At the time, he made the plea without any promise from local prosecutors to seek a more lenient sentence.

One of the prosecutors in the case, Montgomery County Deputy State's Attorney I. Matthew Campbell, declined to comment yesterday on reports that Shapiro is talking with federal authorities.

"From our perspective, we're scheduled for sentencing Oct. 30 and looking forward to it," Campbell said.

Shapiro's discussions with federal authorities have prompted intense speculation in Maryland political circles.

Shapiro, like his late father, Mike, has been active in county and state politics and was a frequent contributor to the campaigns of state and local officials.

This is not the first time that federal authorities have cast their attention on Shapiro's development ventures.

Four years ago, a federal grand jury subpoenaed Prince George's County records pertaining to projects involving Shapiro and seven other businessmen. No one was charged in that investigation.

Shapiro's projects in Prince George's have included several office buildings, apartments and shopping centers. On many of those projects, Shapiro had to win approval from the County Council and other county officials.

Prince George's County Executive Wayne K. Curry, who succeeded Glendening, declined comment on the Shapiro case yesterday.

Judi Scioli, a spokesman for Glendening, said the governor also would have no comment.

Pub Date: 9/25/96

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