Grand jury questions ex-aide to Young, two health officials

July 14, 1998|By Walter F. Roche Jr. and Scott Higham | Walter F. Roche Jr. and Scott Higham,SUN STAFF

ANNAPOLIS -- A top aide to former state Sen. Larry Young was summoned before a grand jury yesterday as state prosecutors intensified their focus on a health care firm with close ties to both the former senator and his one-time aide.

Zachary Powell, a longtime aide and confidante of Young, was called yesterday before the grand jury probing corruption charges against the West Baltimore Democrat.

Powell also worked as a consultant for a firm affiliated with PrimeHealth Corp., the Lanham firm that won a state license and contract with Young's help.

"They subpoenaed me, so I showed up," said Powell, who testified before the grand jury for about 50 minutes yesterday.

Asked if he was cooperating or had been given immunity in return for testimony, Powell said: "I am not going to answer any questions. They're asking me questions, and we'll see what happens."

Powell's testimony came after two PrimeHealth officials were brought before the grand jury during the daylong session. The officials, Anthony "Ike" Isama and R. Glenn Beatty, declined to comment afterward. Both were accompanied by lawyers, who also refused to comment.

Isama and Beatty are listed as shareholders in Goldmark Friendship LLC, the holding company that owns PrimeHealth.

Convened by the state prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli, the Anne Arundel grand jury has been investigating charges that Young used his legislative office to benefit corporations he headed and ran from his district office. A federal grand jury also is investigating Young, the former chairman of a Senate health panel.

Young was expelled from the Senate in January for ethics violations.

"I can't say anything," Montanarelli said as he left the Arundel Center yesterday.

In a 32-page affidavit filed in Washington, D.C., on April 2, investigators from Montanarelli's office said they had reason to believe Young may have been paid as much as $91,175 by PrimeHealth and its owners in return for helping the fledgling firm win a license and a lucrative state contract to serve Medicaid recipients.

On hand for the session yesterday was Sean Burke, a Baltimore County detective assigned to Montanarelli's office. Burke co-signed the affidavit filed in Superior Court in Washington that was used as probable cause for raiding PrimeHealth's offices.

Among the payments cited in the affidavit was $4,500 in fees collected by Powell from Diagnostic Health Imaging Systems, a firm closely linked to PrimeHealth.

Powell said in April that the payments were for consulting work he had performed for the company. He said his DHIS assignments did not overlap or conflict with duties performed while on the public payroll.

Pub Date: 7/14/98

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