Former delegate was ‘stupid’ and ‘unethical’ his trial lawyer says but not guilty of bribery

9a-Vaughn-Michael-Delegate28MF.jpg

Former Maryland Delegate Michael Vaughn was not working a lone. Problems in Prince George’s county continues to occur. The county deserves new leadership and a breath of fresh air.  The culture of corruption and conspiracy must be cleaned out. 
The only thing sadder than those who abused their political positions, are the complicit people who stood by in silence, putting their political careers ahead of the people. At the moment, District 25  continues to be the epicenter led by Delegate Dereck Davis.  

Former Maryland State Del. Michael Vaughn was “stupid,” “unethical,” and financially “desperate,” but he did not sell his vote for cash. Instead, he thought he was receiving bundles of cash from liquor store owners as campaign donations, not bribes.

That was the defense his court-appointed attorneys put up on the first day of trial for the disgraced ex-lawmaker charged with voting to expand liquor sales in Prince George’s County in exchange for cash.

The proceedings Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Maryland offered the first time Vaughn has tried to explain why FBI agents allegedly caught him accepting thousands of dollars in cash from liquor store owners seeking a competitive business edge in the county that sits just outside the District.

Vaughn, 59, was charged last year with bribery and conspiracy in an alleged scheme that shocked Prince George’s County. The wide-reaching investigation included the use of secret wiretaps, the exchange of bundles of cash and an FBI raid on the offices of the local liquor board.

Vaughn and the government agree he accepted stacks of cash on four different occasions and that he took the money to solve his personal financial problems. But they disagree on Vaughn’s rationale for pocketing the cash.

As the trial opened, Vaughn’s attorney Teresa Whalen said her client never agreed to sell his vote for cash and that the 2015 legislation to allow the county to start selling liquor on Sundays would have passed without his influence.

“He never took cash to sell his vote,” Whalen said. “He was always going to vote for it.”

Prosecutors countered that Vaughn and the former chairman of the Prince George’s County liquor board, David Son, had hatched the pay-for-play scheme at a restaurant a block away from the statehouse in Annapolis: $20,000 in exchange for Vaughn’s help to advance legislation liquor store owners had been failing to get approved for years.

Vaughn had $30,000 in credit card debt and a dwindling bank account when he took the money, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Windom.

“It was a simple motive, but a strong one,” Windom said. “He was flat broke.”

The case against Vaughn spans 2015 to 2016, when he is accused of accepting five cash payments from liquor store owners Young Paig and Shin Ja Lee, according to the federal indictment. With chief liquor inspector Son as the go-between, prosecutors say Vaughn accepted bribes ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 each while promising to vote for bills that would expand liquor sales in Prince George’s or lobby against legislation that would hurt Paig’s and Lee’s businesses.

Related: [In ‘Operation Dry Saloon,’ FBI confronted Md. delegate with bribery allegations in a College Park hotel]

The Democrat from the county served in the Maryland House of Delegates for 14 years before resigning in January 2017 after the corruption probe became public. Vaughn cited health reasons for stepping down.

Vaughn would help Paig and Lee, but “he wasn’t going to do it for free,” Windom said.

According to Windom, Vaughn accepted cash payments of $2,000 to $5,000 on four different occasions: in the bathroom of a Starbucks bathroom a block from the statehouse, at a Safeway shopping center in Greenbelt, in the parking lot of a Panera in Bowie, and at a hotel restaurant in College Park.

“I understand I’ve dug myself into a hole,” Vaughn told FBI agents who confronted him after the cash exchange in College Park, according to Windom.

Whalen conceded that Vaughn violated campaign finance rules, which limit cash contributions to lawmakers to $100 over four years. She also said he should not have used campaign money to fund his personal expenditures, “but that is the end of his wrongdoing.”

“What he is guilty of is making it look like to an outsider that he was taking a bribe,” said Whalen, who is defending Vaughn along with William Purpura.

The trial is expected to take two weeks in the federal court in Greenbelt, Md.

Vaughn also has been charged with three counts of wire fraud in accusations he moved campaign funds around to hide that he was illegally using the money to cover personal expenses. A judge ordered a separate trial on the fraud charges to be held at a later date.

Seven others have pleaded guilty in the liquor board case, including Son, Lee, Paig and former state delegate William Campos (D-Prince George’s).

Via Washington Post

PC110202.jpg

(L-R) Delegate Darryl Barnes, State Senator Ulysses Currie, Delegate Dereck Davis and Council Member Mel Franklin. The wave of public corruption driven for personal gain in district 25 is unbelievable. (The entire team seen here needs to retire from the county politics) >>> Read more

***

Advertisements

Postponed Press Conference -Re: Calvin Hawkins

Press conference

The press conference event concerning Calvin Hawkins which was scheduled to take place in Upper Marlboro on February 20th, 2018 from 1pm – 3pm has been postponed by the organizers.

We will let you know the new date once a tentative date has been set up. In the meantime, Please speak up and out to everyone you know. Calvin Hawkins and Rushern Baker should take the high road and bow out of politics. They are destroying communities.

***

Major Press conference Re: Calvin Hawkins

Press conference

When : February 20th, 2018 – 1pm -3pm

Where: 14741 Governor Oden Bowie Dr, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772-3043, United States

***

23172957_1927767707546846_7537211638300988261_n

Democratic at-large council candidate Calvin Hawkins is a well known sexual predator and robber (Pictured).

This will be a press conference in regards to Calvin Hawkins’s candidacy. Calvin Hawkins is running for an at-large seat on the Prince George’s County Council. The Washington Post published a story this past week detailing the situation surrounding Mr. Hawkins’s sexual harassment charges (Assault Second Degree, Sexual Offense Fourth Degree, and False Imprisonment). This blog also published a history of Mr. Hawkins criminal behavior including conviction of violent crime using guns.

Calvin Hawkins is a man who works as a SENIOR ADVISER to Rushern Baker, our county executive. Let that sink in for a minute. A man who all but admitted he sexually assaulted Ms. Hariston (read the WP article), is a senior ADVISER for our county executive here in Prince George’s County.

We cannot afford to elect any more men who have disregarded our rights to not be viewed upon as sexual objects for their enjoyment. These are not the men who have a woman’s best interest at heart. These are men who only think for themselves.

Prince George’s County has already paid almost $150,000 for the actions of this man against a woman. He has continued to get a county paycheck while working as a SENIOR ADVISOR to Rushern Baker and now he wants us to TRUST him with our county and give him a larger salary paid for out of our hard earned tax money? Haven’t we paid enough for this man?

Join us and speak up and out!!

3FDBFF83-6EAB-45F4-A08D-0B198A46B7D9

E8E48B60-CE41-43CE-9F5F-C86C65FAADAC.jpeg

County Executive Rushern Baker, III (left) with sexual predator and convicted robber Calvin Hawkins, Jr. (right) at Busboys and Poets in Hyattsville. Photo courtesy Rebecca Bennett.

***

Major Breakfast to dupe parents hosted at TGI Friday’s in Forestville, Maryland

19396643_1851483055178867_2255871746372563966_n

Democratic at-large council candidate Calvin Hawkins (right) and Delegate Mr. Darryl Barnes (left)  Mr. Hawkins is a well known sexual predator and robber who made the county to get sued in Federal court for his sexual misconduct. Mr. Hawkins is also involved in violating rights of other minorities in Prince George’s County. He needs to suspend his campaign and go home. The County residents must demand the withdraw of this candidate for a better future. On the other hand, Delegate Mr. Darryl Barnes activities are controlled by Delegate Dereck Davis, Calvin Hawkins and others to derail the agenda for the county. Both must go home by electing new leaders who mean well for the county.

Following our exposé about Sexual Predator and Convicted Robber Mr. Calvin Hawkins who is running for public office in PG County, a major plan has been organized to bribe key parents and leaders in Prince George’s county for the purposes of facilitating certain key facilities and organizations using unethical means to win fraudulently in 2018 election.

Among the key facilitators are Delegate Mr. Darryl Barnes and other delegates running for public office in PG County starting with the Chairman of the delegation Delegate Jay Walker and Delegate Dereck Davis (chairman of economic matters in Maryland).  According to people spoken to by Reform Sasscer Movement Secretariat,  there are plans to facilitate short underhanded methods to stay in power by key delegates involved in public corruption by calling shots from Annapolis. This comes after this blog exposed key players involved in the current fiasco in Prince George’s County.

Earlier this morning, delegate Barnes and others exposed in a wide ranging scheme decided to buy breakfast as part of the wider scheme to facilitated public campaign corruption in Maryland at TGI Friday’s in Forestville and to involve other organization.  Already one person who is familiar with the illegal plans has been threatened by persons associated with Delegate Barnes, Delegate Dereck Davis and Mr. Calvin Hawkins.

This morning breakfast at Forestville comes after Senator Antony Muse accused  Delegate Jay Walker of …..” not letting school board repeal bill out for a vote. This is wrong. This is politics at its worst. Yes all need to join in and put pressure on him from our district and County to return it to an all elected school board as my bill demands”, stated senator Muse.

HB 1107 law was supposed to be revealed this year but it is being blocked in a wide ranging scheme facilitated by key public officials in Maryland to maintain the status quo.   Read more >>Fiasco in the Maryland legislature<<<

In the meantime, Darrell Andre’ Miller whom we exposed in this blog a few months ago as being unfit to run for public office has withdrawn his candidature. This is good news for Prince George’s County and Maryland in general. We recommend Mr. Miller for soul searching and for doing the right thing.

There is no question these issues are so fraught, so weighted with unattended baggage that discussions about the legitimate concerns and frustrations of others and the double-standards and the limits on liberty faced by African Americans, and black males in particular, are never sustained, if not outright avoided.

Yes, we’ll move on from this, too. But we will be better people in a better place because of it.

More to come.

SuicideAwarenessWalk20178of23-500x300

Delegate Dereck Davis (chairman of economic matters in Maryland) is said to be the force behind the scenes to derail progress in PGCPS so that his wife can benefit from the fiasco and derailment for personal gain. Davis must go home from the Maryland legislature by electing new leaders to replace him. Dereck Davis is married to Deputy Superintendent Monique Davis

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

***

 

Firefighter Charged With Setting Fires at PGCPS High School and Home

tyree+torney.jpg

Tyree Torney, 19, of Hyattsville, Maryland, is charged with arson and attempted murder. (Courtesy Prince George’s Co. Fire/EMS)

A volunteer firefighter in Prince George’s County and a former Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) student has been arrested on arson charges in connection with three fires, one of them at a PGCPS high school this week, and one at an occupied house, the county fire department said.

The three separate fires affected an allay of individuals including one sparked at a townhome where four adults and a baby were asleep.

Tyree Torney, 19, has been arrested for starting a fire at Suitland High School on Monday while teachers and staff were inside the school, the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department said in release Friday night.

During the investigation, Torney admitted to causing two other fires in 2017, according to the department.

On June 10, 2017, he sparked a fire at a townhome in Upper Marlboro where his ex-girlfriend, three other adults and an infant were sleeping, fire officials say. The fire quickly spread up the outside of the home and into the attic.

Torney admitted to setting a bridge on fire on Stretford Way in Hyattsville in May 2017, the department said.

Torney was a probationary member of the Glen Dale Volunteer Fire Association. Following his arrest, Torney was “removed from all affiliations and operations” with the department, according to the release.

He faces a litany of charges including five counts of attempted first-degree murder, three counts of first-degree malicious burning, five counts of reckless endangerment, two counts of malicious destruction of property over $1,000 and multiple arson charges.

Read more >>> WTOP  >>>Washington Post 

***

David Berliner Calls for a National Teachers’ Strike on May Day to Demand Sensible Gun Laws

27908165_10155151815827093_3962133907424739026_o

18 SCHOOL SHOOTINGS SINCE JAN. 1, 2018. Everytown for Gun Safety says this is the 18th school shooting in 2018 — which includes shootings where guns were fired accidentally and no one was injured. One shooting occurred here in Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) at Oxon Hill High School. Three were in Texas, including one where a teen at Italy High School shot and hurt a girl over a breakup. There have been more than 300 school shootings since 2013. That’s an average of one per week. bit.ly/2EFast8

David C. Berliner a Regents’ Professor Emeritus in the College of Education at Arizona State University, issued the following call for a national teachers’ strike on May 1. Teachers are now first responders, trained to protect their students if a shooter gets in the building. Some have given their lives for their students. Parents should join teachers. Enough is enough.

Berliner writes:

”It is way past time. Between now and May 1st teachers have to agree on the gun legislation they want. They can consult with Giffords and Kelly, and others who have suffered, such as the parents who have already lost children to this horrible characteristic of our culture. If by May 1st they have not received assurance that their legislation for sanity in gun ownership will be acted on soon, they need to walk out of our schools. It would be May Day, when workers should exert their strength.

“Our country’s legislators, and the voters who send them to make our laws, can then choose: Teachers and (most) parents for sane gun laws, or, the NRA that provides our legislators money to avoid making the laws that could reduce the carnage we see too frequently.

“Almost all of America’s 3 million teachers— nurturers and guardians of our youth– want sensible gun laws. They deserve that. But they have to be ready to exert the power they have by walking out of their schools if they do not get what they want. They have to exert the reputational power that 3 million of our most admired voters have. Neither the NRA nor their legislative puppets will be able stand up to that. My advice is to start meeting now, write model legislation, submit it to state and federal legislators, and if rebuffed, close down our schools until you get what you (and the rest of us) deserve.”

Save our children.

SanBernardinoSchoolShooting2017Getty_1518659620518_4962144_ver1.0_640_360

Officers stand guard at North Park Elementary School following a shooting on April 10, 2017 in San Bernardino, California. Two people died, including the suspected shooter, in the apparent murder-suicide attack. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

SHOOTINGS

Gun violence is affecting communities around our country. So far this year, 20 people have been killed while innocently attending or working in American schools.

usa-flag-wallpaper-01

***

Schools chief donates to board member amid job performance review

Kevin_Maxwell_-_commisioner_123

Kevin Maxwell, chief executive of the Prince George’s County school system, made a campaign contribution to a school board member during a period when he was being evaluated by the board.

By Donna St. George

The chief executive of the Prince George’s County school system contributed to the election campaign of a school board member as she and others were evaluating the CEO’s performance, according to recent campaign donation reports.

Kevin M. Maxwell, who has led the suburb’s public schools since 2013, gave $500 to the campaign of board vice chair Carolyn Boston on Dec. 21, while the school board was in the process of rating Maxwell’s work. The board committee evaluating him held one of its meetings Dec. 22, according to a document obtained by The Washington Post.

Maxwell, who has long enjoyed support from a majority of the school board, has come under fire amid an investigation of alleged fraud in district graduation rates. The contribution to Boston — and other donations — triggered fresh complaints directed at leaders in the state’s second-largest school system.

“I’ve never heard of a superintendent contributing campaign money to one of their board members, and the worst part is that Carolyn was on the evaluation committee,” said board member David Murray, who has been critical of Maxwell.

Maxwell, who is at a national meeting of school superintendents, declined to comment on the matter, a spokesman said Thursday.

It is unclear how often school superintendents make campaign contributions, but Damon Effingham, acting director of Common Cause Maryland, a watchdog group, said it can be problematic when money from top administrators flows to a board that oversees them.

“If you have someone who is contributing to the people who have oversight, it does raise concerns,” he said.

Boston, who faces election this year, said in an interview that she sought the advice of the district’s legal counsel two to three weeks ago and returned the donation, which accounted for more than 10 percent of her campaign contributions from late 2014 to early 2018.

She said the money did not affect her assessment of Maxwell’s performance.

“It never crossed my mind,” she said. “I never associated the two.” She said that when she was told it might look unethical, “the money was returned.”

The evaluation of Maxwell began last fall and concluded with a vote to approve the evaluation a couple of weeks ago, several board members said.

Maxwell’s donation to Boston’s campaign was one of six he made in November and December. They included $2,000 to the gubernatorial campaign of County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D), who appointed Maxwell to his post and reappointed him last year.

boston_boe

Board Member Carolyn Boston has now returned the $500 to Maxwell in a suspicious manner after being exposed. Ms. Boston needs to  Give all the money back!

The donations came to light after two parents with students in district schools — Keisha Chase and Yolanda Rogers — wrote this week to the State Ethics Commission to complain about alleged ethics violations, saying “the culture of pay to play, kickbacks, you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours must end if we are ever going to provide a quality education for our children.”

Michael W. Lord, executive director of the commission, said the panel has no jurisdiction over ethics complaints involving school boards or their employees. Those matters are considered under regulations adopted by each of the state’s 24 school systems, he said.

Told of jurisdiction issues, the two parents said they planned to bring the allegations to the Maryland State Board of Education and Gov. Larry Hogan (R). The parents said they had become increasingly concerned about district scandals. Both have children at DuVal High School, where several staff members have been removed amid violations regarding grading and graduation.

“We will continue to move forward,” Rogers said.

williamsboe

School board member Sonya Williams. Her father is a judge and it appears she is being used to quash things in Prince George’s County anytime they go to court or get sued.  Sonya has received more than $7,000 from Delegate Dereck Davis. She needs to  Give all the money back!

The ethics complaint also focused on a $3,000 contribution from a state lawmaker to school board member Sonya Williams. That donation came from a committee working on behalf of Del. Dereck E. Davis (D), who is married to Maxwell’s deputy superintendent, Monique Davis.

“How is it acceptable or ethical for Ms. Williams to accept 99.8 percent of her campaign money from the deputy superintendent’s husband?” the letter asked.

Williams could not be reached for comment by email or phone this week.

Dereck Davis said the $3,000 came from funds related to his aborted campaign for Congress, and he gave it to Williams because they have been friends for 35 years. “She is a competent and talented member of our community . . . and my support for her was so that she could continue to do great things for the children of Prince George’s County,” he said.

Davis’s wife is listed as his chairwoman in records for his state campaigns, but the lawmaker said his wife did not hold a similar position during his congressional bid and has had no role in his campaign’s spending decisions.

The Davises have “two separate and distinct careers,” he said.

Similar points were echoed in a statement by Monique Davis. “While I have been listed as the chairman of his state campaign account for nearly 20 years, for all practical purposes that designation just fulfills a legal requirement for the Maryland State Board of Elections,” she said. “All spending decisions are made by him and his campaign team.”

Critics found the Maxwell and Davis contributions troubling.

“It’s an inappropriate interaction,” said Raaheela Ahmed, a school board member who is part of the board’s minority bloc. “We are supposed to be overseeing system leadership, and I think it’s our duty to do that as impartially as possible — or at least without financial influence. Money should not be in the equation at all.”

via Washington Post

Read more >>> Drama at @pgcps as two parents file ethics complaint over campaign contributions – Delegate Davis in the Mix

23659697_10213817211960073_6991191524432518536_n

Keisha Chase and Yolanda Rogers (shown here) — wrote this week to the State Ethics Commission to complain about alleged ethics violations, saying “the culture of pay to play, kickbacks, you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours must end if we are ever going to provide a quality education for our children.”

SuicideAwarenessWalk20178of23-500x300

Delegate Dereck Davis (chairman of economic matters in Maryland) is said to be the force behind the scenes to derail progress in PGCPS so that his wife can benefit from the fiasco and derailment for personal gain. Davis must go home from the Maryland legislature by electing new leaders to replace him. Dereck Davis is married to Deputy Superintendent Monique Davis

***