How fraud case developed against Evans and Fulton

July 15, 2000

A summary of key events in the mail fraud case against lobbyist Gerard E. Evans and state Del. Tony E. Fulton, based on court testimony:

December 1996: Fulton, a Baltimore real estate agent, begins helping Evans' lobbying firm look for new office space in Annapolis.

Early January 1997: Three paint companies agree to hire Evans to represent them in Annapolis to oppose possible liability legislation. Within days, Fulton requests General Assembly staffers to draft such legislation. Evans obtains a draft of the bill from Fulton but tells clients he got it from the legislative drafting office.

Jan. 28, 1997: Evans and paint company representatives meet with Fulton to discourage him from introducing the bill.

Jan. 29, 1997: Fulton writes Evans he will not introduce the bill, proposing instead to work with Evans on "nonlegislative" remedies, such as paint company contributions in his district. Paint companies decide to pay Evans full $60,000 fee for stopping the bill, rather than the $12,000 he would have been entitled to if a bill had not been proposed.

August 1997: Evans warns clients that Sen. Paul G. Pinsky of Prince George's County is planning to introduce a lead-paint bill in 1998. No bill is introduced and Pinsky later denies the claim.

August 1998: Evans tells clients then-Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke tells him he is preparing to introduce a lead-paint bill in 1999. No bill is introduced; Schmoke later denies the claim.

September 1998: Evans and his partners sign contract to buy $600,000 office building in Annapolis, with Fulton acting as agent. Fulton collects $10,000 commission when deal closes in December.

Early October 1998: Evans gives staffer a draft letter from Fulton to Schmoke saying Fulton would be sponsoring lead-paint legislation and seeking mayor's support. Evans boasts the letter will force paint companies to rehire him for 1999 session and has her fax draft to Fulton's office.

Oct. 29, 1998: Fulton stops by Evans' office to work on the real estate deal. Fulton discovers his office didn't send letter to Schmoke. Fulton instructs aide to mail copy to mayor's office and to fax one to Evans' office.

Oct. 30, 1998: Associate sees Evans using scissors, tape and White-Out to alter a fax to make it appear he had received a final copy of the Fulton-Schmoke letter from mayor's office, rather than from Fulton. Evans has associate send clients copy of Fulton-Schmoke letter. Paint companies do retain Evans.

Jan. 13, 1999: Sun article discloses Fulton's role in the real estate transaction.

Jan. 26, 1999: General Assembly's ethics committee decides against a formal investigation of Fulton's relationship with the lobbyist, concluding no state ethics laws were broken.

April 1999: FBI and U.S. attorney's office in Baltimore subpoena documents from Evans, Fulton.

December 1999: Federal grand jury returns 11-count mail fraud indictment against Evans, Fulton.

February 2000: Other legislators - not Fulton - introduce lead paint bill that Evans had warned was coming beginning in 1996. Bill dies in House committee.

June 12, 2000: Trial begins in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

July 14, 2000: After more than three days of deliberations, a federal jury clears Fulton of five charges and is unable to agree on six others. Evans is convicted on nine of 11 counts.

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