Stories & Grievances
Former Maryland Senator Thomas Bromwell, his Wife Mary, and W. David Stoffregen of Poole and Kent are Investigated
Stoffregen used a series of audacious schemes to loot more than $1 million from the company he led, the firm's corporate parent alleged in court documents. The indictment accuses Bromwell of accepting concealed payments of more than $190,000, free or discounted construction services at his home and other favors.
Figure in Md. corruption case allegedly took $392,000, liquor, TVs
Washington Post, 06 January 2006
The Maryland construction executive at the center of the state's largest corruption probe in many years used a series of audacious schemes to loot more than $1 million from the company he led, the firm's corporate parent alleged in court documents made public yesterday.
The court filings, supported in part by affidavits from participants in the arrangements but disputed by W. David Stoffregen's attorney, say Stoffregen improperly took $392,000 as well as $40,000 in liquor and wine, at least 15 televisions and a gazebo.
Stoffregen, who was fired as chief executive of Poole and Kent in March, enlisted the company's vendors to file false or inflated invoices, according to the filings by parent company EMCOR Group Inc. The vendors then supplied Stoffregen with items of value or retained small portions of the payments, while the balance was split between Stoffregen and a confederate, the filings say.
The documents, filed in a dispute over whether EMCOR must pay Stoffregen's legal fees, allege a raft of previously undisclosed misconduct. The schemes were not included in the public corruption and racketeering indictment returned in October against Stoffregen and former state senator Thomas L. Bromwell, a Baltimore County Democrat.
Vickie E. LeDuc, a spokeswoman for Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein, declined to comment on whether prosecutors are investigating the allegations. The filings, however, say that Stoffregen's primary confederate in the thefts was former Poole and Kent executive Michael C. Forti, who has pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
Bromwell and Stoffregen have pleaded not guilty to racketeering and other charges. Stoffregen's attorney, Barry Levine, called EMCOR's allegations shameful and suggested that Forti, whom he described as a "one-person crime wave," might have acted on his own and then falsely implicated Stoffregen to curry favor with prosecutors.
"I think that if it happened, it was Michael Forti corrupting his colleagues," Levine said, adding later that "the link to Stoffregen requires believing Forti that he shared the proceeds of that loot."
The documents suggest that in some cases, Forti was central to the alleged schemes.
In one case, they say he arranged a bogus auction at which Poole and Kent would purchase equipment and machinery that the company already owned.
According to the filing, the auctioneer issued checks to Forti totaling $254,000, and Forti split the proceeds with Stoffregen.
The indictment announced in October alleges a six-year conspiracy ending in 2004. It accuses Bromwell of accepting concealed payments of more than $190,000, free or discounted construction services at his home and other favors.
In exchange, the indictment says, Bromwell used his influence inside and outside government to benefit Poole and Kent and Stoffregen.
In federal court in Baltimore yesterday, Judge J. Frederick Motz ruled that EMCOR is not obligated to pay Stoffregen's legal fees.
The FBI investigation of Bromwell's activities stretches back several years. Poole and Kent paid Stoffregen's legal fees until, according to EMCOR's filings, Stoffregen refused to cooperate with investigators in March.
Stoffregen filed a civil lawsuit to force EMCOR to pay Levine's $200,000 retainer. Arnold Weiner, an attorney for EMCOR, gathered and presented evidence of alleged looting to further the argument that Stoffregen is not entitled to a criminal defense paid for by a company he allegedly defrauded.
Motz did not rule on that issue, finding instead that EMCOR was not obligated to indemnify employees of Poole and Kent, which it acquired in 1999.
© 2006 The Washington Post Company
Department of Justice Indictment Press Release
Bromwells enter not-guilty pleas
Ex-state senator, wife charged on extortion, racketeering counts
By Matthew Dolan, Sun reporter, November 1, 2005
Former state Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell and his wife, Mary Patricia, pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges that they traded their political influence for a lucrative, no-show job and off-the-books construction work on their Baltimore County home.
When asked by the court clerk for their pleas, both Bromwells - appearing in court for the first time since being charged - somberly announced they were "on all counts, not guilty."
W. David Stoffregen, the former chief executive officer of Baltimore contracting firm Poole and Kent Co., also has been charged in the indictment. Stoffregen's initial appearance is scheduled for tomorrow.
The 80-page indictment - so voluminous that U.S. District Magistrate Judge Paul W. Grimm struggled to thumb through it yesterday - accuses the Democratic former senator from Baltimore County of steering millions of dollars in building contracts to Poole and Kent.
In return, prosecutors allege, Mary Pat Bromwell was paid a salary for a fake job at a company controlled by Stoffregen. Stoffregen also arranged for some $85,000 worth of discounted work to be done at the Bromwell home, according to the indictment.
Together the Bromwells are charged with racketeering, mail fraud and extortion. The former senator also has been accused of providing a false statement to FBI agents and filing false tax returns. Stoffregen has been charged with one count of obstruction of justice relating to alleged witness tampering.
Bromwell's hearing lasted less than a half-hour yesterday.
Prosecutors did not ask the judge to incarcerate Thomas Bromwell, once considered one of the most powerful politicians in Annapolis, and his wife until trial. Nor will the couple be restricted by home monitoring.
"We don't believe they're a flight risk," said Vickie LeDuc, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Baltimore.
The couple held hands as they walked out of U.S. District Court in Baltimore late yesterday morning, declining to talk to reporters about the case. But Robert Schulman, Thomas Bromwell's attorney, said he welcomed the chance to return to court and help prove the couple's innocence, adding that they still had many supporters from Bromwell's long political career.
The Bromwells' court appearance comes after prosecutors secured guilty pleas from three other defendants, who also agreed to cooperate against the Bromwells.
Geraldine and Michael Forti pleaded guilty to a fraud charge earlier this month. They are accused of helping Poole and Kent prop up a subcontractor known as Namco. The minority business gave Poole and Kent, its parent company, an edge in getting government contracts, prosecutors said.
Mary Pat Bromwell was paid by Namco, but the job was fictitious, according to prosecutors.
David M. Jackman, a former project manager for a Baltimore construction company, admitted in federal court last week that he lied to investigators about discounted work done for the Bromwells.
In court papers, the two sides began their first battle over a search of the couple's home last week.
FBI agents on Thursday raided the Bromwells' Ravenridge Road house, seizing a computer and documents, including financial records.
Schulman filed a court motion the next day asking a judge to appoint a special master to review the seized documents.
"It's a motion demanding that the government not review any confidential information that could be considered attorney-client privilege," Schulman said.
So far Bromwell, the president and chief executive officer of the Maryland Injured Workers' Insurance Fund, a quasi-public agency, has the backing of his employer. That support could be critical as he mounts a defense while prosecutors move to seize his assets.
Earlier this month, the U.S. attorney's office sought to take thousands of dollars worth of bank accounts, pensions, retirement accounts, cars and real estate from Stoffregen and the Bromwells, a somewhat unusual step for prosecutors to take before conviction.
Copyright © 2006, The Baltimore Sun | Get Sun home delivery
Former Md. State Senator Accused of Contract Fraud
By CATHERINE TOMASKO, ESQ., Andrews Publications Staff Writer
A grand jury sitting in Maryland federal court has indicted former state Senator Thomas L. Bromwell Sr. on charges of racketeering and fraud in connection with the awarding of public contracts.
The indictment also accuses his wife, Mary Patricia Bromwell, and the former head of a contracting company, W. David Stoffregen, of participating in the scheme.
The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, charges that in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Bromwell allegedly used his position to help Stoffregen and his company, Poole & Kent Corp., win a multimillion-dollar contract to perform work at a Baltimore facility owned by the University of Maryland Medical System.
The former senator allegedly intervened on Stoffregen's behalf in disputes between Poole & Kent and the university, and in the company's dealings with the state related to a juvenile justice center construction project.
Prosecutors charge that Bromwell aided Stoffregen, who, in turn, provided the senator with more than $85,000 in construction work on a new Baltimore County residence.
The indictment also alleges that in 2000, Stoffregen and Bromwell agreed that rather than leave public office to accept a position with a private firm, Bromwell would remain in his position as a senator in exchange for an $80,000 payment. The money was funneled to Mary Bromwell through a company called Namco Services Corp.
Namco owner Geraldine Forti allegedly allowed Stoffregen to use the company to satisfy minority contracting mandates on public construction jobs in exchange for payment, according to the charges. Namco was allegedly controlled by Stoffregen and employees from Poole & Kent. Mary Bromwell acted as CEO, U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein of the District of Maryland said in a statement.
Stoffregen used Namco's status as a minority-owned company to obtain millions in public contracts, the indictment charges.
Forti previously pleaded guilty to charges of filing a false tax return, federal prosecutors say.
Thomas Bromwell is charged with conspiracy and violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, wire and mail fraud, extortion, making false statements, and filing false tax returns, according to prosecutors.
Mary Bromwell is facing similar charges but has not been charged with wire fraud. Stoffregen is charged with obstruction of justice, conspiracy to violate RICO, wire and mail fraud, and extortion, prosecutors say.
"The charges in this indictment allege a serious abuse of public office for private financial gain. Citizens and businesspeople deserve to know that government officials in Maryland will be held accountable if they sell their offices," Rosenstein said.
The Bromwells and Stoffregen face significant prison time if convicted on all charges, as well as fines and forfeiture of assets purchased with proceeds from the scheme, according to federal prosecutors.
United States v. Bromwell et al., No. 05CR358, indictment filed (D. Md. Oct. 19, 2005).
Government Contract Litigation Reporter
Volume 19, Issue 15
Third Guilty Plea In Bromwell Case
By Eric Rich, Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 27, 2005; B05
A construction company official admitted yesterday that he lied to the FBI about work the company performed at the home of former Maryland state senator Thomas L. Bromwell, pleading guilty to a felony offense and disclosing that he has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in a criminal case against Bromwell and the company's former president.
The guilty plea from Poole and Kent project manager David M. Jackman is the third to emerge from a probe that centers on a lawmaker who was once a force at the highest levels of state government. Bromwell (D), indicted last week on corruption and fraud charges, was the Senate Finance Committee chairman when he resigned in 2002 to head a state agency, the Injured Workers' Insurance Fund.
Jackman, 49, oversaw the company's work at a home that Bromwell was building in Baltimore County in 2000 and 2001. Jackman admitted in federal court that, contrary to what he previously told the FBI, he did not always intend to bill Bromwell for the services, valued at more than $85,000, and that he did so belatedly -- and partially -- only at the request of the company's then-president, W. David Stoffregen.
Federal prosecutors say Bromwell received Poole and Kent's services free or at a steeply discounted rate and concealed payments of $190,000 in exchange for using his influence to benefit the company and Stoffregen.
After the guilty plea, an attorney representing Bromwell again asserted his client's innocence. "The evidence will clearly show he paid several times based upon invoices submitted to him," Robert B. Schulman said.
Jackman, who expects leniency in exchange for his cooperation, is not accused of benefiting personally, said his attorney, Charles G. Bernstein. The agreement could allow him to avoid prison, Bernstein said. "Dave Jackman's a good guy who was an excellent project manager," he said. "He has one fault, and that is that he is loyal to a fault."
Jackman was fired yesterday, Poole and Kent said. The company, which forced Stoffregen out in March, repeated that it is cooperating with authorities in the investigation. Stoffregen's attorney, Barry Levine, has declined to comment since the indictment was issued.
According to a factual statement accompanying Jackman's plea, Jackman prepared two invoices for the work at Bromwell's residence, one dated October 2001 and the other, November 2002. The timing and amounts of the invoices were directed by Stoffregen, the summary says.
The indictment against Stoffregen, Bromwell and his wife, Mary Pat, says the company deviated from its regular billing practices for the work on the Bromwell residence, charging a portion of the costs to other Poole and Kent projects, including a University of Maryland Medical System hospital. It says the second invoice, accounting for more than half the cost of the work, was prepared belatedly only after Bromwell was interviewed by the FBI.
© 2005 The Washington Post Company