Ad agency, city developer paid BDC official, records show

May 08, 2002|By Gail Gibson | Gail Gibson,SUN STAFF

A former Baltimore Development Corp. official charged with extortion took payments from the head of a growing advertising agency and an East Baltimore property developer, court records show.

Terry P. Dean, 46, once a senior development officer with the BDC, was indicted last week on charges of extortion and accepting illegal gratuities for allegedly soliciting and taking $5,000 from two Baltimore businessmen.

Records in U.S. District Court in Baltimore identify the men as Bruce Iannatuono, owner of Chesapeake Advertising, which is building a new printing facility in the 900 block of East Fayette St., and Thomas Brooks of 6100 Seaforth LLC, a property developer at the Holabird Business Park in East Baltimore. Both projects received financial help from the BDC.

Neither businessman is accused of any wrongdoing.

BDC President M.J. "Jay" Brodie said in an interview that Dean admitted to him earlier this year that he asked the men for money. According to Brodie, Dean said he viewed the request as simply asking friends for financial help as he prepared to buy a new home. Dean could not be reached to comment.

Brodie, who approached Dean after learning of the federal investigation, said he moved swiftly to terminate Dean. Brodie said he also closely reviewed other projects Dean worked on and held a staff meeting to stress the impropriety.

"We're confident this is a unique incident," Brodie said.

The BDC is the city's quasi-public development arm. It provides financial assistance to help bring companies and jobs to Baltimore.

Court records say Chesapeake Advertising and 6100 Seaforth worked with the BDC to acquire city-owned land, with Chesapeake officials paying $850,000 for the property on East Fayette Street and Seaforth paying $322,700 for property at the Holabird Business Park.

The charges against Dean say he extorted two $2,500 payments, "by wrongful use of the fear of economic harm."

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