Balto. County liquor inspector denies Bromwell held sway

Kilduff was campaign chief for ex-senator

March 22, 2007|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Sun Reporter

The longtime chief inspector of the Baltimore County liquor board denied yesterday that former Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell Sr. had unusual influence over the board as he boasted to an undercover federal agent in a series of wiretaps released this week.

Bromwell, under indictment for corruption charges, was recorded in 2001 assuring the agent that his connections could secure permission for an off-track betting facility in Baltimore County. Bromwell said he could get the state's major thoroughbred racetracks to go along, as well as the county's liquor board.

"I control the [expletive] liquor board," he said.

Gerard Kilduff, the county liquor board's longtime chief inspector, is a former Bromwell campaign manager, but he said Bromwell had "absolutely" no unusual influence.

"I have a personal relationship with him. I was his campaign manager when he first started out in politics. As a senator, there were times he would voice his opinion to the liquor board. He would advocate for people in his district - just what most politicians do," Kilduff said yesterday. "I've known the Bromwell family since I was 15 years old. I played ball with his older brother."

While in office, Bromwell awarded a scholarship to Kilduff's daughter, Kolleen, from a program that set aside money for lawmakers to disperse to college students.

A younger Bromwell brother, Richard, was also a board inspector during the late 1990s, but left the job shortly after current County Executive James T. Smith Jr. took office.

Current county liquor board chairman Thomas Minkin, an attorney in the law office of Peter G. Angelos, said Bromwell "has no influence whatsoever."

"We're cognizant of the reputation that this board had many years ago. Jim Smith is Mr. Clean. When he asked me to serve, he said `I want this board to be as clean as Lot's wife,'" said Minkin, who was appointed to the board in 2003 and was named chairman last year. "There's not a thing going on that's askance. I blanched when I saw that quote."

Smith spokesman Don Mohler said the county executive has appointed four of the five current board members since taking office in December 2002 - "none of whom had any ties to Senator Bromwell."

"It's clear that Senator Bromwell has absolutely no influence on the current liquor board," Mohler said.

George Abendschoen, a former Baltimore County Council candidate who Smith appointed board administrator in 2003, said he has had no contact with Bromwell since taking the job.

"I haven't heard from him since I was here," he said.

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