Tag Archives: Pgcps corruption

Where was PGCPS CEO Maxwell?

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CEO DR. Kevin Maxwell

So January 25th was the annual Beg-a-thon in Annapolis, where the superintendent and relevant personnel from every county and Baltimore City are called before the Board of Public Works to explain their needs and plead their case for their requested money.

CEO Maxwell was a no-show this year, opting instead to send the school system’s chief operating officer.  When asked where Maxwell was, the man stammered something about a council meeting scheduled for this morning, but then said that it had been cancelled.  He clearly had no idea where Maxwell was, and why he wasn’t there. The Council meeting in question was scheduled for 1030am, opposite the Beg-a-thon, which started at 10am.  But the council meeting was rescheduled, and the emails sent out show the change in date and time was sent by 845am.  So with his schedule now cleared, why didn’t CEO Maxwell attend the Beg-a-thon, where PGCPS was asking for an additional $90 million dollars ABOVE the already fully funded school budget?  Where was he?

Understandably, Governor Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot were a little upset at the disrespect shown the Board of Public Works by CEO Maxwell. After hearing the weak excuses and confusion about CEO Maxwell’s whereabouts, Comptroller Franchot asked, “So nobody knows where he is?”  Governor Hogan pointed out that PGCPS gets more money from the state than any other county or city, so this 90 million the COO was sent to beg for is ABOVE the already largest pile of money handed to any jurisdiction. As Governor Hogan said,

“Prince George’s County received the most money of any jurisdiction in the entire state, and they were fully funded again this year.  You’re asking for $90 million dollars from us today. The fact that the County Executive, Superintendent, and none of the Council members, nobody felt it was important to show up is discouraging. You might want to pass that on to them when you get back. Next time they want to ask us for $90 Million dollars, they might want to come address us themselves.”

Governor Hogan went on to say that complaints of lack of education funding from County Executive Baker were “insulting,” because PGCPS is fully funded by the state per the formulas set forth by the legislature, and would be fully funded once again this year. He also said he was tempted to withhold the funds from Prince George’s County until the Superintendent or any of the other top elected officials in the county came to talk to the Board in person, but he would not do that because it wouldn’t be fair to the students and hard working staff.

I don’t know where CEO Maxwell was, but I know where County Executive Rushern Baker, several members of the PG County Council and even a few School Board Members were.  No, none of them were at the beg-a-thon to impress the Governor and BPW with the need for the extra $90 million.  Nope.  They were all across town, in Annapolis, holding a press conference complaining about Anne Arundel Hospital getting a cardiac unit that might be in competition with the one at Prince George’s Hospital, as well as complaining that Governor’s budget was again shorting Dimensions Healthcare some funds.  The governor’s spokesperson has responded to accusation by saying that the Prince George’s County Hospital was giving exactly what UMMS – who is now in charge of the building – said it needed, nothing more, and nothing less.  CE Baker has said he won’t announce until after the legislative session whether or not he’s running for governor, but his grandstanding here lends all kinds of credence to long-standing rumors that he wants the Governor’s mansion next.

The video from the meeting can be found on BPW website. The PGCPS official appears before the board at the 2:01:23 mark of the third video from the January 25, 2017 meeting.  The time given for the start of that lives stream video is 1:30 pm, so the PGCPS official made his appearance sometime around 3:30 in the afternoon.  That means that even if the Council meeting had proceeded as planned, CEO Maxwell would have had plenty of time to get to Annapolis.

So where was CEO Maxwell?

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Ex-School PGCPS Aide Pleads Guilty to Sexual Abuse of at Least 11 Students

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Deonte Carraway, 23

GREENBELT, Md. – A former elementary school volunteer in Prince George’s County appeared in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Maryland, Monday morning and entered a guilty plea in connection with a child pornography case that shocked the county’s school system.

Deonte Carraway, 23, pleaded guilty to all 15 federal counts of sexual exploitation of a minor to produce child pornography. He faces 60 to 100 years in prison when he is sentenced in June.

Carraway admitted to directing young students to engage in sexual activity with each other and with himself. Federal prosecutors say he used cellphones to record the sexual acts, had victims send him pornographic videos and photos and also sent child pornography to victims.

The sexual acts occurred at several locations including Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School and inside private homes, according to prosecutors.

Police arrested Carraway last year after a family member of one of the victims discovered nude images on the victim’s phone and reported it to authorities. Federal prosecutors outlined their case against Carraway Monday, saying he had victimized at least 12 children between the ages of 9 and 13 between October 2015 and February 2016.

In addition to the federal case, Carraway faces 270 Maryland charges related to child abuse and child pornography. The local charges were pending as the federal case unfolded, and it is not clear if Carraway will enter a guilty plea in connection with them.

Between the local and federal cases, prosecutors believe he is responsible for abusing at least 23 children between the ages of 9 and 13.

The case caused outrage among parents who have filed lawsuits against the school system, claiming administrators did not do enough to stop Carraway.

School leaders established a student safety task force in response to the case last year. In May, the task force released a report and education officials announced they would set up a new office of accountability and would roll out dozens of policy, training and even curriculum changes in an effort to protect students from physical and sexual abuse at the hands of adults they are supposed to trust.

via WTOP

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Student Board Member Juwan Blocker files a Grievance to @PGCPSCEO

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PGCPS Student board member Juwan Blocker (pictured)

Student board member Juwan Blocker has created a petition urging the Prince George’s County CEO  Dr. Kevin Maxwell to keep Hyattsville Middle School’s creative writing program.

The Petition states:

Dear Prince George’s County Public Schools students, parents, and community leaders,

My name is Juwan Blocker and I am the Student Member of The Prince George’s County Public School Board, representing all PGCPS Students. The Creative Writing Major at Hyattsville Middle School has been planned to be terminated after the 2017-2018 school year. Hyattsville is a Creative Performing Arts (CPA) Middle School that requires students to audition to get into one of five CPA programs Dance, Music, Theatre, Visual Arts, TV/Media Production, and Creative Writing.

The Creative Writing Program has been in existence for 15 years. Since its start, the program has helped strengthen the writing and critical thinking skills of students by having them analyze various literary genres and providing opportunities to express themselves through speaking and writing. Many students have tremendously benefitted from the program.

A recent PTSA Meeting and letter from Dr. Maxwell’s administration have changed the future of the program. The letter states that the Maryland State Department of Education does not recognize the Creative Writing Program as a fine arts major. The letter then states that based on parent input and concern the program will be continued for the 2017-2018 school year, but will be offered as an elective course for subsequent school years.

There are several problems and concerns with this sudden change.

1.     Why weren’t School Board Members made aware of this change?

2.     Why were parents and students just notified about this change?

3.     Why weren’t parents and students apart of the decision-making process?

4.     Has Dr. Maxwell’s administration evaluated all possible options to keep the program the way that it is?

5.     How do you terminate a program without evidence that proves that the program isn’t effective or needed to better prepare students for college or a career?

6.     Why are we cutting a program that helps strengthen the writing and critical thinking skills of our students?

The reality is that if our county indefinitely terminates this program then the rest of the Creative Performing Arts Program will not be the same, we will be taking away the additional opportunity for students to increase their writing and critical thinking skills that prepares them to be college and or career ready. This program attracts students and families from various backgrounds and if this is cut then we will also see a decrease in diversity at the school.

Replacing the Creative Writing Program with offering it is an elective course would extremely water down the course. The way that Dr. Maxwell and his administration is handling this situation is unacceptable and we deserve better!

Juwan Blocker,

Student Member of the Prince George’s County Board of Education

>>> Read more

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CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell (pictured) has been used by corrupt cartels since 2013 to advance personal careers for several individual politicians in Prince George’s County at the expense of the families, students and staff in the Prince George’s county.  Due to evolving corruption with ties to the local judiciary, the students have been forced to fight for themselves while unrest escalates in several areas within the county.

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PGCPS Student board member Juwan Blocker (pictured)

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The Day Former PGCPS Executive Cornered With Corruption Walked Away.

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Metro Schools director Dr. Shawn Joseph (Former PGCPS Executive) ordered his staff not to answer NewsChannel 5’s questions about his hiring practices, planning instead to attack the station’s reporting after a story aired.

That’s according to emails obtained under the Tennessee Public Records Act.

Joseph’s directive came after NewsChannel 5 Investigates questioned the hiring of two individuals with connections to the new schools director.

As previously reported, one of those hires, Kathleen Dawson, was named an executive lead principal to supervise other principals – even though she has never worked a full year as a lead principal in any school. Another hire, Tamika Tasby, was put in charge of professional development for teachers even though she has no classroom experience.

On November 10, in anticipation of that news report, NewsChannel 5 submitted specific questions to the district about the hiring of the two women.

According to the emails, the district’s senior communications director, Janel Lacy, forwarded that request to Joseph and other members of his leadership team.

“I believe it’s in our best interest to respond, since he’s likely to go forward with a story regardless,” Lacy wrote. “The story will be much worse without a response from us.”

Joseph’s chief of staff, Jana Carlisle, responded that same day: “Dr. J is disinclined to engage.”

The next day, Lacy again pushed Joseph’s team to respond to NewsChannel 5’s questions.

“I think at the very least we need to answer whether the positions were posted or not,” she emailed. “If they weren’t posted – and legally didn’t have to be posted – then let’s own that and the decisions to hire them…. Better to address it head on.”

Lacy prepared a draft statement in which Joseph would say he felt “confident that time will show we have the right people in the right places – and that we are moving at a rapid pace to give our students higher quality instruction in every school.”

Joseph responded: “No, I do not like it.”

“I don’t want us to respond,” he continued. “If he does a story, we will follow up with a very direct statement towards his conduct…period.”

JOSEPH: “I DON’T WANT US TO RESPOND” (p. 1)

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It’s not clear what Joseph intended, but the district ignored NewsChannel 5’s questions and never gave any explanation about why no statement was issued.

Since there was no response to our questions, NewsChannel 5 Investigates filed a public records request for the emails in an effort to determine Joseph’s thinking and understand his refusal to respond.

That attitude followed an earlier on-camera interview in which Joseph had become agitated about questions about his use of district employees as chauffeurs.

Ironically, in a separate exchange, emails show that Metro Council member Russ Pulley told the district’s lobbyist that “taxpayers should be more concerned about the money we are spending answering these open record requests from Phil Williams.”

That comment came after NewsChannel 5 Investigates raised questions about spending by the district under Joseph’s leadership.

Pulley shared his response to a constituent about Joseph’s spending. He told the constituent, “I agree the optics of this or [sic] not the greatest, but the reality is we can do a much better job of finding waste other than this.”

But, then, in an email to the district lobbyist, Pulley showed no concern over “the optics.”

“Please let Dr. Joseph know that he has my full and complete support,” Pulley wrote. “And I also have absolutely no problem with how he conducts his business.”

via NewsChannel 5

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Shawn Joseph was the Prince George’s district’s deputy superintendent of the teaching and learning division and oversaw numerous departments, including the early education department that oversaw the Head Start grant in which the federal government revoke a $6.4 million due to teachers mistreating students.

The notice of the revocation, sent to the PGCPS district on Aug. 12, 2016 found that teachers used corporal punishment on children, as well as humiliated them in the county’s Head Start program in the Maryland district, according to a Washington Post report.

Shawn Joseph was not listed in the report or in the notice of revocation. He officially began the Metro Schools job on July 1, 2016 in Nashville. However, emails shared later shown that, Mr. Shawn Joseph was made aware of the issues but failed to act.

The first incident of child neglect was first reported in December 2015, according to the report, and the revocation document says that a 3-year-old boy at a Prince George’s early learning school was forced to mop his urine in wet clothes.

The teacher sent a photo of the student mopping the urine to the parent, the report says. It adds that a family services worker likely discouraged the parent from filing a complaint, which was eventually filed in mid-January 2016.

The deficiencies in reporting the incident of neglect were shown to be corrected in April 2016 during a follow-up visit, according to the report. And Shawn Joseph said the investigation was handled by human resources personnel.

But further incidents occurred on June 10 2016 and June 15, 2016 according to the report, and led to the eventual revocation of the federal Head Start grant. It said efforts to ensure staff followed the standards of conduct training outlined by administrators weren’t effective.

Other issues were also found including during that time where a student left the school’s campus and walked home unnoticed by employees. Staff did not know the child’s whereabouts for more than an hour. Rather than address the issues, Prince George’s County public schools personnel together with others engaged in cover ups rather than address the issues properly.

Just like Tennessee Metro School District under Shawn Joseph,  Prince George’s County Public Schools is run in similar version in which appointments are made based on family or friends without proper regard to their qualifications to positions of authority.

Read more >>>BOE political cronyism-nepotism refresher

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PGCPS Student Shot Near Suitland High School; Search for Gunman Underway

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A high school student opened fire near a high school in Prince George’s County, Maryland, Friday afternoon, shooting a fellow student and sending a bullet through the window of a school building, police say.

The student fired multiple shots in an apartment building parking lot within sight of Suitland High School in District Heights, police said.

The search for the shooter is ongoing.

A teen boy was shot in the leg and is expected to recover.
The school was placed on a lockdown that later was lifted.
Many parents rushed to the school, fearful that their children had been shot.

“Police can’t tell you anything, the school can’t call parents and let anybody know anything,” one mother said, nearly in tears. She said she had two daughters who attend the school.

Upon learning that boys had been involved in the shooting, not girls, the mother exhaled and clutched her hand to her chest.
“Thank you,” she said.

According to the initial investigation, a group of students left the school and argued in the apartment building parking lot, a Prince George’s County Police Department spokeswoman said.
One student opened fire and hit the teen. A classmate dragged him into the high school for help.

Prince George’s County police and fire and rescue was called to the scene about 12 p.m. Soon after, they found the victim near the school annex building, which houses art and music classes.
He was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Police later found a bullet lodged in the ceiling of that school building. A student and a teacher were inside the classroom but were not hurt.

At least five shell casings were found.

Suitland High is a performing arts school known for its students’ achievements.

A witness told News4 he saw three students involved in the conflict: one who was shot, one who helped the victim and another who ran away.

Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor posted on Twitter that this was “NOT an active shooter” situation.

“The investigation has moved into the neighborhoods, where we’re currently searching for the suspect,” Lt. David Coleman said.

Student Kelai’ah Wheelen said she just wanted to go home.
“It was terrifying,” she said.

Anyone with information for police is asked to call 301-772-4910. To leave a tip anonymously, call 866-411-TIPS, send a text message with PGPD plus your message to CRIMES or visit http://www.pgcrimesolvers.com.

Source: Student Shot Near Suitland High School; Search for Gunman Underway | NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Student-Shot-Suitland-High-School-prince-georges-co-410650005.html#ixzz4VnEWjIue
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Police: PGCPS Student involved in shooting near Suitland High School

– Police say a student was shot after an argument with another student near a Prince George’s County high school.

The incident happened around 12 p.m. at an apartment complex adjacent to Suitland High School in Suitland, Maryland.

Police spokeswoman Jennifer Doneland told the press that police believe two students left the school and walked to the nearby apartment complex when an argument broke out.

One of the students pulled a gun shot the other before fleeing the area. The Injured student made their way back to school for help. The school was placed on lockdown at that time.

The victim is being treated on the scene with what were believed to be non-life-threatening injuries.

A medic treated him on the scene. The victim is now being taken to a hospital.

Police are searching for the suspect at this time.

The school is on lockdown.

Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor posted on Twitter that this was “NOT an active shooter” situation.

Suitland High School is located in District Heights, Maryland.

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How PGCPS Executives transferred Corruption And got Caught.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – An exclusive NewsChannel 5 investigation has discovered that Metro Schools Director Shawn Joseph put unlicensed educators in positions of power inside the district.

Now the state has ordered the district to remove any unlicensed principals — and it’s taking a hard look at other top district leaders.

When Joseph took the helm back in July, he brought with him a large group of people with whom he had worked in other states.

But our investigation discovered that, for months, many were not actually licensed to work in Tennessee — and some still aren’t.

Metro Nashville Education Association President Erick Huth says he first heard from teachers back in December that Cumberland Elementary’s Carolyn Cobbs — the highest paid elementary school principal in the district — did not have a Tennessee license.

She finally got it just Tuesday — more than halfway through the school year.

“To me, it was pretty much understood that you had to have an administrator license in hand that was valid in order to be a principal,” Huth said.

“It’s the state’s indication to the public that these individuals are qualified to be administrators. So, in the absence of a license, we don’t know what the qualifications of an individual are.”

We checked and found that Joie Austria, prinicipal at Paragon Mills Elementary, wasn’t licensed. She finally completed the paperwork and got her license just Wednesday.

Keiva Wiley, principal at Antioch High School, still isn’t licensed in Tennessee, nor is LeTrecia Gloster, an executive lead principal who helps supervise other Metro Schools principals.

We took those cases to the state Department of Education.

“We told Dr. Joseph that when we’ve learned about cases where we see a principal does not have the appropriate license that they need to be removed from that role and that somebody with the appropriate license can take that person’s place,” said department spokesperson Sara Gast.

On top of that, NewsChannel 5 Investigates discovered that many of Dr. Joseph’s own leadership team — the people supervising the district’s principals — are not actually licensed themselves in the state of Tennessee.

According to the state, chief academic officer Monique Felder doesn’t have a Tennessee license, although her predecessor did.

Chief of Schools Sito Narcisse doesn’t have a license either, nor does Mo Carrasco — the man who oversees the district’s most troubled schools.

And Dennis Queen, the executive officer for charter schools, is also unlicensed.

“Anyone who is really supervising instructional program, I would say, is supposed to be a licensed administrator,” Huth noted.

The state Department of Education said those positions must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to see if they meet the requirements for licensure.

But, in a written statement, district officials did not deny that all of those people needed licenses — which could potentially create new headaches for the new administration.

“If there is a situation where somebody is serving in a role that we determine needs a license and doesn’t have one,” Gast said, “we would ask the district to find someone else to take that place that has the appropriate license.”

School district spokesperson Janel Lacy issued the following statement:

Tennessee state law does not recognize out of state licenses. There were principals and administrators who were hired over the summer from out of state that needed to get Tennessee licenses. All of them had valid credentials in the districts they came from. All of them, with the exception of the Executive Officer of Priority Schools, have taken and passed the Praxis exam. We are simply waiting on the state to upload their paperwork into the licensure system.

The Executive Officer of Priority Schools has an out of state license but because he has not yet officially received his Tennessee license, he is not currently supervising principals until he receives the Tennessee license. He expects to complete his Tennessee license requirements in the coming weeks.

Two of the administrative positions you asked about – the Executive Director for Professional Development and the Executive Officer of Diversity and Equity – are in support positions (not certificated positions), and therefore, do not require a Tennessee license.

We understand the importance of licensure as required by state law and are taking the appropriate steps to ensure all certificated employees are appropriately licensed. We’ve recently welcomed new leadership to HR. We now have a strong leader who is assessing the state of HR and re-establishing and strengthening protocols.

However, Lacy said that the executive officer for priority schools, Mo Carrasco, would continue to draw his $155,000 salary until he is properly licensed.

Via News Channel5 Tennessee.

Read more >>A Look at How PGCPS Executives transferred Corruption to Tennessee.

Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph – He was  Deputy Superintendent of Schools in PGCPS.

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From PGCPS to Metro Nashville Public Schools.

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Pr. George’s liquor commissioner accused of bribery resigns –

img_7911A Prince George’s County liquor commissioner accused of accepting bribes resigned from his post Friday, and Gov. Larry Hogan called for the reform of Maryland’s system of regulating alcohol sales, which he called “antiquated” and “without oversight.”

Commissioner Anuj Sud was one of four people charged Thursday in a long-running federal corruption investigation. The others were two business owners and the administrator of the liquor board.

Sud, 39, is accused of taking money from a lawyer representing restaurants and liquor stores with business before the Prince George’s Board of License Commissioners.

In court filings, law enforcement authorities indicated that they expect to charge more people in connection with the case, including a former elected official and a state lawmaker, whose names have not been released.

Liquor board members are appointed by the governor. They wield significant regulatory power over about 600 business outlets in the county — authorizing alcohol sales, imposing fines for infractions and suspending or revoking licenses in response to serious violations.

U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, shown through a video camera viewfinder, speaks to news organizations at the U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Md. (Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post) 

In an interview Friday, Hogan (R) described the case involving the liquor board as a “real mess” and said he had accepted Sud’s resignation.

The governor said he is bound by tradition to appoint to liquor boards people who are nominated by state lawmakers and party officials from the specific counties. He also said the state government does not have the power to oversee the actions of liquor boards.

“Maybe that is something we can talk to the legislature about: How do we revamp the system? . . . It’s the last vestiges of the patronage system,” Hogan said. “We could have problems in other places, and this may be the tip of the iceberg, but certainly this is the worst case I’ve ever heard of.”

Maryland law requires governors to appoint local liquor board members from a list drawn up by party officials from the particular county. But it also allows the governor to reject those choices and demand new options.

In Sud’s case, state officials say, his appointment was not confirmed by the state Senate during the 2016 legislative session for reasons that remained unclear Friday.

A Hogan spokesman said the governor reappointed Sud, a College Park lawyer, to the board after the legislative session and after consulting with the office of Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert).

Miller could not be reached Friday to comment on Sud’s resignation.

FBI investigators were monitoring the commissioner as he met with a lawyer representing liquor sellers in September 2015, according to the charging documents. Sud allegedly promised that he could “make s— happen” on the county liquor board and asked how he could “start getting paid.”

The lawyer — who was cooperating with the FBI as an informant — offered to charge his clients an extra $1,000 that he would steer to Sud in exchange for favorable votes, the charging documents state.

In the months that followed, prosecutors say, illicit payments greased the wheels of routine liquor motions made by Sud, such as a restaurant’s request for a new liquor license and permission to sell alcohol on Sundays right before Christmas 2015.

According to minutes from that meeting, a representative for the restaurant promised that proceeds from some of those alcohol sales would help children through donations to St. Jude’s Hospital and soccer jerseys for local schools. Sud made a motion to grant the request, which was unanimously approved.

Two weeks later, Sud got into the lawyer’s car outside a restaurant, took $1,000 from the lawyer and put it into his left pocket, authorities say.

Almost a year later, charging documents and meeting minutes state, the lawyer greeted Sud at his office to thank him for helping a client with a drive-through sales application and offered a “wedding gift” — another $1,000.

Sud made a brief court appearance Thursday and was released until his next hearing.

In his legal practice, Sud has represented a company that federal and state agencies say violated the law by taking advantage of victims of lead-paint poisoning, many of whom are mentally impaired. The company made millions of dollars by persuading lead-poisoning victims to sell “structured settlements” from personal-injury suits for lump-sum payments worth a fraction of the settlements’ many incremental payments.

Sud’s resignation on Friday follows the December resignation of the liquor board chairman, Charles Caldwell, who was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving while leaving the grand opening of the MGM National Harbor casino.

David Son, who became the board’s chief inspector in 2015 after serving nearly a decade as a commissioner, was also arrested Thursday.

Authorities accuse him of facilitating three bribes to an elected official between 2012 and 2014 — while Son was a commissioner — and arranging bribes from a liquor store owner to that official and a state lawmaker in 2015 and 2016 for their work on legislation expanding alcohol sales.

Kenneth Miles, one of the three remaining Prince George’s liquor commissioners, welcomed Sud’s resignation and the governor’s call for changing oversight of liquor boards.

“They should monitor us,” said Miles, a former part-time liquor inspector and local Democratic Party official. “This should have never happened.”

But he disputed that local liquor regulation and politics were closely intertwined, saying he never hears from elected officials under normal circumstances.

Earl Howard, another commissioner, said the governor was overreacting by calling for an overhaul of liquor boards.

“You can get a bad apple in any barrel,” said Howard, who is the husband of Del. Carolyn Howard (D-Prince George’s).

“It can happen at the state level, it can happen at the county level, it can happen at the federal level.

“And it does happen.”

Via Washington Post

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Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert). controls parts of Prince George’s county and influential leader for liquor 

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Del. Carolyn Howard (D-Prince George’s) is married to one of the liquor  Board commissioners. 

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Sen. Ulysses Currie  (Seen here) In 2012, The ethics panel urged Maryland senators to strip Sen. Ulysses Currie of all but one committee assignment and to bar him from any role in House-Senate negotiations to resolve differences over bills due to his rampant corruption which became too much until he got arrested by the FBI >>> Read more

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To enable the eating to proceed smoothly, institutions like the Ethics and Anti-Corruption offices got crippled largely through appointment of user-friendly top brass. County Executive Rushern Baker III should not pretend he was not aware of these violations. He has enabled corruption to flourish in many ways including to the schools. 

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Federal bribery charges filed over Prince George’s County liquor licenses

img_7911Two liquor store owners looking for an advantage with Sunday sales bribed public officials in a scheme that involved money drops in the men’s restroom of a restaurant and bank deposits by an elected official who pulled stacks of cash from his pockets, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

Four people were charged in federal court in connection with what prosecutors said was a long-running conspiracy that paid off a Maryland state lawmaker and officials with the Prince George’s County liquor board.

Two people with the liquor board and two business owners in the county are accused of conspiring to influence public officials, and the investigation included undercover FBI agents, wiretaps and an envelope of cash stashed in a car’s glove compartment.

Among those charged were David Dae Sok Son, 40, the liquor agency’s administrator, and board commissioner Anuj Sud, 39, a College Park lawyer.

“The defendants allegedly paid cash bribes to state and local officials in Prince George’s County in return for favorable action concerning liquor licenses,” Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement. “Our government is not supposed to work that way.”

Prosecutors assert that the conspiracy dates from at least 2012 and extended through 2015, and includes a series of bribes, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. Rosenstein said Thursday that the investigation is ongoing. At least two more government officials are expected to be charged, according to court papers filed in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.

The affidavit does not name the officials but describes them as a former elected official and a state delegate, who is a member of the House Economic Matters Committee who voted to extend Sunday alcohol sales in 2015.

The arrests of the Prince George’s businessmen and public officials extend the county’s troubled history of pay-to-play politics, a history that second-term County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) has fought to leave behind since succeeding disgraced former county executive Jack B. Johnson (D).

Baker vowed to “root out any and all county employees or appointees that are involved in any nefarious activity.” He said he is concerned that “the perception of corruption will be directed at the county government, setting us back in our war against unethical and illegal behavior.”

 Johnson, Baker’s predecessor, was county executive from 2002 to 2010 and pleaded guilty to extortion and witness and evidence tampering after masterminding a corruption conspiracy in which prosecutors said he received more than $1.6 million in bribes. His wife, Leslie Johnson, made headlines when she flushed a $100,000 check down the toilet and hid $79,600 in cash in her underwear as federal agents pounded on the couple’s front door.

At the heart of the conspiracy outlined in court papers Thursday is the Board of License Commissioners, a state entity that regulates the sale of alcohol in the county at more than 600 liquor stores, restaurants and other businesses. The board’s five commissioners are appointed by the governor to three-year terms.

Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who appointed Sud in 2015, called the situation “a mess” and said that Sud should resign immediately in light of the allegations.

“It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea if we had the entire liquor board in Prince George’s County resign over these disgraceful things,” Hogan said.

Son, the current director of the board, was a commissioner from 2005 through 2014 and is accused of soliciting and arranging bribes from lobbyists and business owners, including being a middleman in arranging a $4,000 payment from a businessman to an elected official in the men’s bathroom of a restaurant.

An affidavit filed by a federal agent describes a series of bribes paid in return for government grants and to push through legislation to expand liquor sales in the county.

During the 2015 Maryland legislative session, Son served as a liaison for the county’s Senate delegation, the charging documents state. Son specifically worked with lobbyists and business owners who were interested in the passage of a bill to allow up to 100 permits to sell alcohol on Sundays in Prince George’s County.

Son allegedly asked an unnamed elected official to help get the bill passed by pressuring one of his colleagues. Both officials subsequently voted in favor of the bill, according to prosecutors.

 Two business owners also were charged Thursday: Young Jung Paig, 62, the owner of Central Avenue Restaurant & Liquor Store and Shin Ja Lee, 55, owner of Palmer Liquor Store.

After Hogan signed a Sunday sales bill into law in April 2015, prosecutors said Son arranged a lunch with Paig, Lee and the elected official whose help he had sought. During the lunch, prosecutors said Son told the elected official to meet Paig in a men’s bathroom, saying, “He’s going to hook you up, alright?”

In the bathroom, Paig allegedly handed the elected official a white envelope with $3,000 in cash and another envelope with $1,000. The official was working as an informant for law enforcement at the time, but stopped cooperating in July 2015, according to the affidavit. The official has agreed to plead guilty to bribery charges, according to the filing.

Prosecutors said Son later received a $4,000 payment from a lobbyist for his help in getting a client a Sunday license.

In November 2015, a second elected official who helped push the Sunday sales bill went with Son to a Panera Bread restaurant in Bowie with the two liquor store owners, according to the affidavit. When the four left the restaurant, the state delegate got in the car with Paig.

FBI agents watched as the delegate immediately drove to the Capital One Bank in the same shopping complex. He pulled up and deposited $2,000 in the drive-through ATM and went inside to deposit another $2,000 with the teller, according to surveillance footage and bank records.

Son did not enter a plea during his brief appearance in court Thursday. Prosecutors said he had agreed to work for law enforcement as an informant, but then allegedly began tipping off other targets. Son was the only one of the four arrested ordered to remain in federal custody due to fears from prosecutors that he would further obstruct the case. Son’s attorney Christopher Nieto disputed the prosecutors’ characterization.

Sud, who is accused of taking cash bribes in exchange for votes on liquor board matters, also made a brief court appearance Thursday and was released until his next hearing.

 In his legal practice, Sud has represented a company that federal and state agencies have said violated the law when it targeted victims of lead-paint poisoning in scores of financial deals that made the company millions of dollars.

Before the charges were filed, federal agents on Thursday morning searched the Largo offices of the liquor board, interviewing workers and gathering documents in the offices of the agency’s fourth-floor suite on Basil Court, in a Largo office park.

Last month, the board’s chairman, Charles W. Caldwell III, resigned after being arrested on drunken-driving charges outside the MGM National Harbor on the casino’s opening night.

Caldwell took the helm of the agency in March 2015 after a standoff with his predecessor, Franklin D. Jackson, who said he was never properly notified that he was being replaced.

via Washington Post 

Franklin D. Jackson, the former leader of the Prince George’s County Board of License Commissioners initially refused to hand over power  to Mr. Charles W. Caldwell III who resigned after being arrested on drunken-driving charges outside the MGM National Harbor. 

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Charles W Caldwell, III. The chairman of the Prince George’s County liquor commission was charged with DUI outside the MGM National Harbor resort in Oxon Hill. He denies he was drunk.

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Franklin D. Jackson, the former leader of the Prince George’s County Board of License Commissioners cradled the gavel with both hands, like a football. He then refused to surrender it to the new chairman, Charles W. Caldwell III leading to a power struggle due to corruption.

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Former PGCPS Student and Local Rapper Big Lyl Shot to Death Inside His Home.

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Khalil Wiggins who performed as Big Lyl, Suffered multiple gunshots wounds – He lived in Capital Heights and was an alumni of Fairmont Heights High School in PGCPS

An accomplished local rapper died after three masked men shot into his Capitol Heights, Maryland, home last week.

Khalil Wiggins, who performed as Big Lyl, suffered multiple gunshot wounds in the home in the 3900 block of Byers Street about 8:40 p.m. Thursday, Prince George’s County police said.

Wiggins, 44, was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police do not know a motive for the shooting.

“There were three masked suspects that were involved in this incident, so we’re asking for the public’s help,” Prince George’s County Police Cpl. Lamar Robinson said. “If they have any information, you can remain anonymous.”

Wiggins, who was Muslim, prayed after her was shot, witnesses told his brother, Jeyone Muhammad.

Wiggins’ rap group, Section 8 Mob, signed to a major label record deal in the late 1990s and appeared in the 2003 movie “Guilty by Association,” starring Morgan Freeman.

“This was in the ’90s, so I was away at school in Michigan and I remember one day sitting in my dorm watching BET and their video came on,” friend Gerald McNeal said.

Wiggins also worked with children, teaching them music, production and writing.

He was laid to rest Sunday.

“His spirit was so uplifiting that he would make you feel like you could conquer the world,” his brother said. “So this is a terrible situation. This is senseless, and my family is really feeling the brunt of it.”

Anyone with information for homicide detectives is asked to call 301-772-4925. Tips may be made anonymously by calling 866-411-TIPS, sending a text message to CRIMES that begins with PDPD or visiting www.pgcrimesolvers.com. A reward of as much as $25,000 is offered.

A Big Lyl tribute is planned for 8 p.m. Jan. 12 at Takoma Station at 6914 Fourth St. NW Washington, D.C., where Wiggins hosted open mic nights.

Source: Local Rapper Big Lyl Shot to Death Inside His Maryland Home | NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Local-Rapper-Big-Lyl-Shot-to-Death-Inside-His-Maryland-Home-409386815.html#ixzz4Ulh3V13a

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In Prince George’s County, homicides have gone up from 54 in 2014 to 77 in 2015 to 97 in 2016. Police Chief Hank Stawinski says there’s a connection between rising homicide rates and the decriminilization of marijuana. Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins talked to the chief about his plan to reverse the trend.

Source: Prince George’s Co. Police Address Rising Homicide Rate | NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Prince-George_s-Co_-Police-Address-

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