State Digest

STATE DIGEST

January 04, 2007

State to reimburse official for legal fees

The state agreed yesterday to reimburse Gov.-elect Martin O'Malley's nominee for budget secretary $8,489 for attorney's fees that she incurred in the prosecution of money manager Nathan A. Chapman Jr.

T. Eloise Foster was a witness in the case against Chapman, an ally of former Gov. Parris N. Glendening who was convicted in 2004 of defrauding the state pension system of almost $5 million. Foster, who was also state budget secretary at the time, testified that Glendening's chief of staff urged her to encourage the state pension board to invest more money with Chapman's firm. She testified that she did so.

The attorney general's office recommended that the state reimburse Foster for her attorney's fees, concluding that she followed proper procedures for a state employee to hire outside counsel in such a situation. Foster was not charged in the criminal case or charged with violations of state ethics laws.

The reimbursement was unanimously approved by the Board of Public Works at yesterday's meeting. Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said the process for considering the matter was unusual - typically, such an item would be brought to the board by the Department of Budget and Management, but the attorney general advised that would be problematic because of Foster's past and future roles in that department.

But Ehrlich said he had no question about the merits of the issue.

Kevin Enright, a spokesman for the attorney general's office, said the request was made under the authority of J. Joseph Curran Jr., who was attorney general until Tuesday. Enright said the office took up the matter after Foster requested reimbursement in October.

Andrew A. Green

Baltimore: U.S. District Court

Olympian sent back to Canada

Jailed Olympic gold-medalist Myriam Bedard will be transferred to Canadian custody within 36 hours, a U.S. prosecutor told a federal judge yesterday.

Bedard did not speak during a short U.S. District Court hearing. Her attorney, Kevin McCants, said afterward that she was disappointed the judge did not free her on bail.

McCants has said the Olympian came to the area with her daughter and common-law spouse, Nima Mazhari, to talk to U.S. government officials about a scandal involving a government sponsorship program in Quebec between 1996 and 2004.

Bedard, 37, who won two gold medals in the biathlon competition at the Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway, in 1994, was arrested Dec. 22 in Maryland. She is being held on a warrant as an international fugitive for allegedly violating a child custody order by bringing her 12-year-old daughter to the United States. U.S. marshals found her and the girl, Maude, at a hotel in Columbia.

The Quebec native has been in the custody of U.S. marshals at the Howard County Detention Center since the arrest. Her daughter is back in Canada. Bedard could receive up to 10 years for child abduction if convicted, but McCants contends that she did not break the law.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

GARRETT COUNTY: SWANTON

Man accused in death of family

A Garrett County man was drunk when he drove his pickup truck off a country road early New Year's Day, killing his wife and their 11-year-old daughter, state police said.

John Dale Carden, 41, of Swanton was treated for minor injuries and charged with two counts of homicide by motor vehicle while intoxicated, two counts of homicide by motor vehicle while impaired, driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, negligent driving and failure to drive to the right of center.

Georgina Marie Alton, 45, and Precious Alton, 11, died when the truck hit a tree near Swanton about 1:20 a.m. Monday, police said.

A Baltimore lawyer who represented Carden on unproven theft, embezzlement and assault charges in Garrett County in 2005 and 2006 didn't return a telephone call from the Associated Press.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON COUNTY: HAGERSTOWN

Arlington removes killer's ashes

The cremated remains of a double murderer have been removed from Arlington National Cemetery and turned over to his sister, the cemetery's superintendent said.

The removal of Russell Wayne Wagner's ashes marks a victory for the son of his victims, Vernon Davis of Hagerstown, who waged an 18-month campaign to have the ashes removed. Davis' parents were killed by Wagner in 1994.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski, a Maryland Demcrat, and Sen. Larry E. Craig, an Idaho Republican and chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, added a provision requiring removal of Wagner's ashes to a veterans' bill, which President Bush signed into law last week.

"The removal of Russell Wagner's ashes closes this tragic chapter for the Davis family," Mikulski said in a statement. "My promises made to the Davis family were promises kept, and I am so proud to have not only helped them but to have created a law to ensure that nothing like this will ever happen again."

Wagner, 52, a Vietnam veteran, died of a heroin overdose in prison in 2005. He was sentenced in 2002 to consecutive life terms for killing the Davises during a burglary. They were found bound and stabbed in their ransacked home.

Wagner's sister, Karon Anderson of Silver Spring, arranged for Wagner's remains to be placed at Arlington National Cemetery. He qualified for the privilege because he had been honorably discharged from the Army in 1972.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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