Lobbyist Bereano's suspension is upheld

November 10, 2006|By Andrew A. Green | Andrew A. Green,Sun Reporter

Maryland's second-highest court yesterday upheld the suspension of one of Annapolis' top lobbyists, Bruce C. Bereano, who was penalized by the state Ethics Commission for entering into a contract that paid him contingent upon his success in securing government work for a client.

The ruling would force Bereano to give up lobbying the legislature and executive branch of the state government for 10 months and pay a fine of $5,000. Bereano could not be reached for comment last night, but in a letter he sent to clients, he said he will appeal the decision.

"Respectfully, the decision of the Court of Special Appeals is grossly wrong, makes no sense at all and, in particular, conflicts with and ignores a unanimous ruling issued by the state's highest court, the Maryland Court of Appeals, in a very similar case," Bereano wrote.

State law prohibits lobbyists from entering into contingency contracts. But in 2001, a company that provides foster care services agreed to pay Bereano 1 percent of its first year receivables on any contracts he helped it secure with the state government. In yesterday's letter, Bereano denied that he did anything wrong and said that his appeal will enable him to lobby during the 2007 legislative session.

Bereano has been in trouble before. More than a decade ago, he was convicted of mail fraud, served a 10-month sentence and paid a $30,000 fine. Gov.-elect Martin O'Malley pledged during the fall campaign that if elected, he would not work with any lobbyists who have been convicted of felonies, a stab at Bereano, who is close to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

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