Probe of crime office is revived

U.S. issues subpoena for director's records

Focus is on grants compliance

February 04, 2003|By Greg Garland | Greg Garland,SUN STAFF

After many weeks of little visible activity, the U.S. attorney's office is stepping up its investigation into the practices of the governor's crime control office.

Among other things, prosecutors appear to be examining whether the agency's executive director, Stephen Amos, complied with federal rules that restrict the amount of money from crime control grants that can be used for administrative expenses.

In a subpoena, authorities asked for records of "meetings with Stephen Amos, notes, spreadsheets, charts, graphs or any other form of communication regarding administrative costs." It also asked for any records concerning "the exceeding of the administrative costs allowed in grants" from the U.S. Department of Justice, a major funding source for the Governor's Office on Crime Control and Prevention.

Those documents, and the records of e-mail correspondence of 18 current and former staffers at the crime control office, were ordered to be submitted to a grand jury Wednesday of last week, according to a copy of the subpoena, obtained under Maryland's public records act. The request covers the period from Oct. 1, 1998, to the present.

The criminal investigation, which has been going on for nearly a year and surfaced publicly in the summer, is focused on an agency that had been overseen by then-Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

Federal agents have been looking into whether employees of the crime control office improperly used federal crime-fighting funds to pay for political tasks or ghost employees.

Townsend called the investigation "political garbage" and accused U.S. Attorney Thomas M. DiBiagio of colluding with her Republican opponent in the governor's race, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

The list of names in the subpoena includes Amos and his predecessor, Michael Sarbanes.

Others are Kimberly C. Doyle, Carol Macowiak, Lisa DelBaso, Barbara Reed-Pearson, Gregory Leyko, Sonya Proctor, Denise McCain, George Ludington, Robert Weinhold, Cherylle Y. Brown, Everett J. Hawkins, Ian Brennan, Beverly L. Steimel, Margo M. Wilson, Larry H. Dawson and James A. Edmonds.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Welsh, who is overseeing the investigation, declined to comment on the subpoena.

Ludington, a spokesman for the crime control office, said that the agency "will remain responsive" to any request by federal authorities for records and information. He said Amos was unavailable for comment.

"We're not in a position to discuss the investigative or prosecutorial movements," he said.

The subpoena was the first to surface publicly since late August. A flurry of subpoenas issued that month demanded personnel and other records.

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