$50 million suit accuses Bereano of malpractice

July 20, 1999|By Candus Thomson | Candus Thomson,SUN STAFF

ROCKVILLE -- Annapolis lobbyist Bruce C. Bereano is being accused of legal malpractice by a bankrupt dump owner who was a key witness in Ruthann Aron's murder-for-hire trial.

In a $50 million suit filed in Montgomery County Circuit Court, William Mossburg Jr. says Bereano abandoned him during a legal battle with county officials over the cost of fighting a fire in 1994 at his North Potomac dump.

Mossburg hired Bereano from July 1995 to July 1996 after the county sued him to recover the $2.6 million it spent putting out the fire and removing the debris.

The suit, filed July 8, says Bereano "failed to do any and all things regularly necessary to both defend against the claims filed by Montgomery County [and/or] initiate permissible counter-claims."

Mossburg filed for bankruptcy, but the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled in September 1997 that he was responsible for the expenses the county incurred.

Bereano said the suit won't work.

Bereano said his employment ended "amicably" when Mossburg said he could not afford to pay him.

"I saw him just two months ago at a fund-raiser in Gaithersburg and not once did he mention he was unhappy.

"Not a word," Bereano said.

Bereano was released this month from a Baltimore halfway house, where he served a five-month sentence for mail fraud.

Mossburg made headlines two years ago when Aron, a former U.S. Senate candidate, asked him to help her find a hit man to kill her husband and another man.

Police persuaded Mossburg to wear a wire and helped him steer Aron to an undercover officer posing as a hit man.

Aron pleaded no contest to the charges last year and is serving three years in the county jail.

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