FBI requests review of files on crime-control office grant

Money is in city program that teams inmates after release with mentors

March 06, 2003|By Gail Gibson | Gail Gibson,SUN STAFF

FBI agents investigating a state crime control office once overseen by former Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend asked this week to review the agency's files on a Baltimore program that pairs felons leaving prison with mentors in the city's business community, sources close to the investigation said yesterday.

The Yes NetWORK received a $180,000 grant from the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention to launch the mentoring program more than a year ago. The nonprofit group was supposed to receive an additional $50,000 from the state agency, but its executive director said that funding was blocked this year after an outside evaluation raised questions about spending practices.

Marcus Pollock, who has headed the Yes NetWORK for the past year, said the allegations were unfounded, and that he welcomed any outside review of the spending and accounting records. Pollock said he had not been contacted by the FBI.

"I didn't know that they had an interest in our program at all, but I would be very happy to talk with them about anything they'd like to know," he said. "We kept a very careful paper trail that would speak honestly and forthrightly to all the issues."

An FBI spokesman said he could not confirm or deny the latest request for records.

Investigators previously have requested from the crime control office thousands of pages of records related to other grant files and personnel matters. No new subpoena was issued this week, but Jervis S. Finney, legal counsel to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., said the records requested were expected to be produced under the broad parameters of earlier subpoenas.

The federal grand jury probe has focused on whether employees of the office improperly used federal crime-fighting funds.

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