Conviction in BDC extortion

Former official had sought $2,500 from businessman

February 22, 2003|By Gail Gibson | Gail Gibson,SUN STAFF

A federal jury convicted a former Baltimore Development Corp. official yesterday of extorting $2,500 from a local businessman, a transaction secretly recorded by the FBI.

Terry P. Dean, 47, who was fired a year ago from his job as a senior BDC economic development officer, also had been charged with soliciting another $2,500 payment from a second businessman. There was no recording of that alleged transaction, however, and jurors acquitted Dean of charges relating to it.

Chief U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg scheduled sentencing in Dean's case for May 30. Defense attorney Kenneth W. Ravenell said he would appeal the verdict.

"Obviously, I was disappointed the jury did not find him not guilty on all counts," Ravenell said.

Dean was accused of taking the $2,500 payments from Bruce Iannatuono, owner of Chesapeake Advertising, and Thomas Brooks of 6100 Seaforth LLC - both businesses that had received financial assistance from the BDC, the city's quasi-public development agency.

In connection with the payment from Brooks, jurors convicted Dean of one count of extortion under the color of office and one count of accepting illegal gratuities in a federal program. Dean was acquitted on the same charges in connection with Iannatuono.

The jury heard FBI recordings of meetings between Dean and Brooks during which Dean sought the money in August 2001, a month before he and his wife purchased a home in Forest Park for $108,000. Prosecutors said Dean needed the money to help pay settlement costs on the house.

At one point on the tapes, Brooks expressed concern that both men could go to prison because of the money being exchanged. But Dean responded: "Don't nobody know about this but me and you."

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