Maryland Senate Budget and Taxation Committee Chairman Ulysses Currie Indicted Along With Company Executives
Number of Pages:3
Date Created:September 2, 2010
Date Uploaded to the Library:February 20, 2014
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U.S. Department Justice United States Attorney District Maryland Rod Rosenstein United States Attorney Vickie LeDuc Public Information Officer Charles Street 410-209-4800 Fourth Floor TTY/TDD:410-962-4462 Baltimore, Maryland 21201-2692 410-209-4885 FAX 410-962-3091 Vickie.LeDuc@usdoj.gov September 2010 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT AUSA VICKIE LEDUC http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/md MARCIA MURPHY (410) 209-4885 MARYLAND SENATE BUDGET AND TAXATION COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN ULYSSES CURRIE INDICTED ALONG WITH COMPANY EXECUTIVES FOR TAKING BRIBES FROM SHOPPERS FOOD WAREHOUSE RETURN FOR OFFICIAL ACTIONS Charges Include Conspiracy, Bribery, Extortion, Mail Fraud and False Statements Payments Grew from $3,000 Per Month 2003 $7,600 Per Month 2007 But Were Never Reported Five Annual Government Ethics Forms Baltimore, Maryland federal grand jury has indicted Maryland State Senator Ulysses Currie, age 73, Forestville, Maryland; and Shoppers Food Warehouse Corp. (SFW) executives, former President, William White, age 67, Annapolis, Maryland and Jupiter, Florida; and the former Vice President for Real Estate Development, Kevin Small, age 55, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, connection with scheme from 2002 2008, which the supermarket chain allegedly paid Senator Currrie exchange for using his official position and influence matters benefitting White, Small and the supermarket chain. addition, separate criminal information was filed against Shoppers Food Warehouse Corp., which has agreed enter into deferred prosecution agreement. part that agreement, which must approved the court, SFW has agreed pay $2.5 million penalty. The indictment was announced United States Attorney for the District Maryland Rod Rosenstein and Special Agent Charge Richard McFeely the Federal Bureau Investigation. Government officials cross bright line when they accept payments return for using the authority their office, whether they take cash envelopes checks labeled consulting payments, said U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein. When businesses can obtain valuable government benefits putting senator the payroll, diminishes public confidence and disadvantages companies that refuse along with the pay-to-play approach. Most government officials use their official power pursue the public interest and not personal profit, Rosenstein added. There has zero tolerance our system laws for official who uses his elected office for personal gain. Our entire system government based trust and confidence our elected leaders; those that break this trust undermine this foundation and must held accountable, said FBI Special Agent Charge Richard McFeely. The 18-count indictment alleges that soon after Ulysses Currie became chair the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee 2002, asked placed the payroll Shoppers Food Warehouse Corporation and agreed use his government office and authority pursue specific state action benefit his private employer. Chairman Currie allegedly signed contracts reflecting the cover story that would provide services unrelated his government office; failed file legally required conflict-of-interest statements with the Maryland General Assemblys Joint Committee Legislative Ethics; and lied under oath public financial disclosure forms filed with the Maryland State Ethics Commission for five consecutive years, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. Meanwhile, Chairman Currie caused introduced and voted legislation benefit the corporation and sought benefits its behalf from state officials. The indictment alleges that Chairman Currie prepared list twelve specific projects which used his Senate office and influence benefit the supermarket chain, and offered bring many more government benefits the future. Chairman Currie allegedly wrote that was in unique position assist the supermarket chain in expanding its mission and increasing its bottom line. The indictment alleges that Currie received payments $3,000 per month beginning February 2003, raised $3,416.67 July 2004, $3,800 June 2007, and ultimately $7,600 per month December 2007. order conceal his arrangement with White, Small and the corporation, the indictment charges that Chairman Currie did not disclose any income from the corporation five separate annual ethics disclosures, from 2004 through 2008. part his work for the company, the indictment alleges that Chairman Currie: Contacted the Administrator the State Highway Administration repeatedly 2003 and 2004, including letter official letterhead the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, concerning the supermarket chains request for traffic signals the site store Route 140 Baltimore County and the site store Route 198 Laurel, Maryland; Convened meetings his Senate office, which White and Small attended, with the Secretary the Maryland Department Transportation December 23, 2003, and with the Secretary the Maryland Department Business and Economic Development January 14, 2004, effort secure million public funds for project Mondawmin Mall Baltimore, reduce his employers costs opening supermarket; Met with the Chairman the Prince Georges County Liquor Board 2004, along with Small, regarding the transfer liquor license from one the supermarket chains stores another, arranged for another senator introduce legislation necessary accomplish the transfer, then voted legislation authorizing the transfer April 2005, and faxed copy the bill from his Senate office Small the day the Governor signed into law; Contacted the Maryland Energy Administration December 2004 seek delay the implementation energy efficiency standards for chillers and commercial refrigeration units under the Maryland Energy Efficiency Standards Act, the request Small, order reduce costs the supermarket chain; Convinced government officials 2006 and 2007 give the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commissions right purchase land Chillum owned the WMATA, that portion the property could acquired, without competitive bidding, and used expand one his employers existing supermarkets. Convened meetings his Senate office 2006 and 2007 with high-ranking state officials effort obtain grant million for the developer Ritchie Station Marketplace for the cost road improvements the Ritchie-Marlboro interchange, that the costs would not passed the supermarket chain, which was prospective tenant. The indictment alleges that Chairman Currie signed written agreements falsely representing that Currie would assist in minority recruitment and outreach, community relations and public affairs, and to work with [corporate] executives provide visibility and community leadership opportunities, when, fact, the defendants had agreed that the company would pay Currie take official acts and use his official position and influence ways that would benefit the business and financial interests White, Small and the company. The indictment further alleges that Currie, White and Small used e-mail and facsimile carry out the bribery Chairman Currie; that from 2002 2008, Chairman Currie, assisted White and Small, extorted $245,816.79 from the company obtain his assistance his official capacity and during the same time frame used the mail and email deprive the citizens Maryland and the State Maryland their right the honest services Chairman Currie. The indictment also alleges that White and Currie made false statements FBI agents during the investigation. The indictment seeks forfeiture $245,816 allegedly paid Chairman Currie during the scheme. convicted, Currie, White and Small face maximum sentence five years prison for the conspiracy; maximum five years prison for each count bribery; maximum years prison for each two counts mail and six counts wire fraud; and maximum years prison for extortion; Currie and White face maximum sentence five years prison for making false statement. court appearance has been scheduled for the defendants. indictment criminal information not finding guilt. individual corporation charged indictment criminal information presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty some later criminal proceedings. United States Attorney Rod Rosenstein commended the FBI for its investigation this case and thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Kathleen Gavin and Mark Crooks, who are prosecuting the case.