Monthly Archives: June 2018

Prince George’s County Liquor Board Scandal: Who knew what and when?

FBI

By: Lindsay Watts

 – It’s the biggest corruption scandal to hit Prince George’s County in years. Federal investigators call it Operation Dry Saloon, and it centers on bribery, corruption and liquor. So far, eight people have been convicted, including two former Maryland state delegates.

A whistleblower tells FOX 5 that he came forward years ago with evidence the man at the center of the scandal, David Son, was engaged in illegal activity. He says inaction at the highest levels of the state allowed Son to continue to break the law.

Son, who served for years on the Prince George’s County Liquor Board, orchestrated a cash for votes scheme where liquor store owners paid thousands of dollars to public officials because they wanted a new law passed that would let them sell booze on Sundays. Son was arrested in early 2017.

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Franklin Jackson was chair of the Prince George’s County Liquor Board, working for many years alongside Son.

Franklin Jackson was chair of the Prince George’s County Liquor Board, working for many years alongside Son. He says in early 2014, he found out that months earlier Son held a campaign fundraiser for then-Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown. It was who Son invited that caught Jackson’s attention.

“People who own liquor stores, people who were attorneys and represented liquor store owners, and at the fundraiser, David Son actually solicited and collected several thousand dollars on behalf of Anthony Brown’s political campaign,” Jackson told FOX 5.

Campaign finance records show within two day of the fundraiser, thousands of dollars in donations to Brown’s campaign from Prince George’s County bars and liquor stores. A spokesman for Rep. Brown says Brown recalls attending the event and that all donations, expenditures and disclosures from that period “complied with every law and regulation.”

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Congressman Anthony Brown

The law governing the liquor board says employees can’t solicit political donations from licensees or any person or corporation engaged in liquor sales in the county. The state of Maryland governed the liquor board, so Jackson says he first went to State Sen. Doug Peters, the head of the Prince George’s County Senate Delegation. He says Peters already knew of the fundraiser.

“It did not concern him and, in fact, instead of him reporting it to the governor, which is the action that I thought he would take, he actually communicated to David Son that I had expressed these concerns to him,” Jackson said.

Jackson says he then wrote a letter to then-Gov. Martin O’Malley himself, detailing the allegations and providing receipts from the event and campaign finance records. According to the letter, Jackson asked that Son be removed from the board for the alleged illegal behavior.

O’Malley’s former chief of staff, John Griffin, confirmed that the governor’s office received a complaint about Son and investigated. FOX 5 asked what the investigation found, but Griffin cited legal limitations on what can be revealed because “this investigation was a personnel matter.” He pointed out that Son resigned from the liquor board a few months after the complaint was made.

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then-Gov. Martin O’Malley himself

While Son did resign from his position, he did so on his own terms. A resignation letter provided by Jackson says Son wanted to spend more time with his family.

Despite the accusations that he broke the law, Son quickly got another government job as an expert in the law. Son was hired by the Prince George’s County Senate Delegation, which was chaired by Peters. Son assisted with legislation that would allow some Prince George’s County liquor stores to sell on Sundays.

Then just a year after his resignation from the liquor board, Son returned to work there again.

“It was unbelievable to me that they would rehire him,” Jackson said.

Many of the bribes that landed Son and his cohorts in prison centered on that Sunday sales bill and Son’s position on the liquor board. To this day, Jackson says he can’t comprehend why the state never took action.

“All those things point to an indifference to corruption,” Jackson said.

FOX 5 has learned it’s not last call yet for Operation Dry Saloon. An FBI source says the investigation is still ongoing.

FOX 5 requested an interview with Sen. Peters and asked him for his response to the claims made by Jackson.

An emailed statement reads:

“Senator Peters is running against a Trump Administration contractor, so it’s no surprise Fox News would be part of this last minute smear. But the facts are clear – Senator Peters has been a voice for clean government, and always will be no matter how many last minute attacks come from Fox News and Trump Administration contractors.”

A spokesman for the Baltimore Field Office of the FBI is urging anyone with information about this case or any public corruption case to contact investigators at 410-265-8080.

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Senator Douglas JJ Peters

Via Fox5DC

 

 

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Major Reasons Why Rushern Baker III Lost Big – preliminary opinion.

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Rushern Baker III

Via @pgpolitics 

The media and pundits seem to be overlooking the extent to which Rushern Baker’s sorry record may have contributed to his defeat.

Baker promised to never allow gambling in PG County, then fought for a casino.

Baker promised to create a strong Inspector General position during his first 30 days, but waited 330 days to come up with a toothless “ethics” office.

Baker promised to not try to repeal TRIM, then pushed through a TRIM-busting, charter-violating tax increase anyway.

Baker said he was for Transit Oriented Development and would fight for transit across the Wilson Bridge–then pushed for major development projects with no transit address and finally bragged about adding infrequent bus service across the bridge, to and from places that would not help solve commuter traffic problems. Baker did nothing to make transit access a prerequisite for approval of his casino site.

Baker said he would not make another attempt to take over the schools. When he broke that promise, he said he wanted to be held accountable. Then appointed his brother-in-law to chair the school board, the wife of the delegate who helped with his coup as deputy superintendent, and took no responsibility for the resulting financial scandals, loss of grant money, grade and graduation fraud, and employment of child sex abusers and kiddie pornographers.

Although Baker got the most votes in his own county, it was much less than he expected.

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Two PGCPS teens charged in MS-13 gang-related killing in Maryland, police say

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Two Hyattsville Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) teens were arrested in the gang-related stabbing of a 19-year-old found dead in the woods, police said.

Brothers Lenin Mancias-Callejas and Bryan Mancias-Callejas, both 16, have been charged as adults with first-degree murder in the death of Herson Mejia-Alvarez, 19, of Riverdale, Prince George’s County police said Wednesday. Police said they are still looking for a third suspect, 18-year-old Francisco Sosa, in connection with the killing.

Officers found Mejia-Alvarez’s body in a wooded area shortly before 1 p.m. May 23 in the 8900 block of New Hampshire Avenue in Silver Spring, police said.

Mejia-Alvarez was killed four days before his body was found in the woods, with cell phone records showing he and the Mancias-Callejas brothers were at an apartment building together before they travelled to an isolated location where Mejia-Alvarez’s body was eventually found, according to charging documents.

The Mancias-Callejas brothers and Sosa are members of MS-13, charging documents state.

The brothers are being held in the county jail without bond. An attorney for the brothers could not be immediately reached for comment.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Homicide Unit at 301-772-4925. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477), go online at www.pgcrimesolvers.com or use the “P3 Tips” mobile app.

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PGCPS Teacher thoroughly beaten up by a Principal finally speaks out.

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Lawyers for a Prince George’s County teacher involved in an altercation with a principal at Ardmore Elementary are speaking about the incident. MORE: https://on.wusa9.com/2ljh5pA

The teacher shown above wearing a black jacket to the left is not alone. There are many others who have experienced such bullying/harassment including within Information Technology Department (IT Help Desk). The County needs to do better job at holding folks accountable for their actions.

The courts in Maryland are increasingly being used to cover up for the administration when violations like these occur in the county.  In addition, Association of Supervisory and Administrative School Personnel (ASASP) is not transparent and President Dwayne Jones himself a Principal at Laurel High School is involved in questionable activity. ASASP is like a fox guarding the henhouse. Rules needs to change, if you are ASASP president, one should resign the Principal position until their time is over as ASASP President.

Below is the press conference.

Read more>>> 👇👇👇

 

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Major Breaking News: Supreme Court Rules 5-4 to Support Janus vs. Unions

Lesa Curtis

Lesa Curtis of Westchester, N.Y., right, who is pro agency fees and a former president of her union, rallies outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, as the court heard arguments in the ‘Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association’ case. The justices heard arguments in a case that challenges the right of public-employee unions to collect fees from teachers, firefighters and other state and local government workers who choose not to become members. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

As widely anticipated, the US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against a law in Illinois requiring non-members of public sector unions to pay fees for the benefits they receive from collective bargaining. This decision is expected to reduce the membership and revenues of unions, a long-sought goal of reactionaries.

The named plaintiff is Mark Janus. In Roman mythology, Janus is represented as two-faced.

From CNBC:

Supreme Court rules nonunion workers cannot be forced to pay fees to public sector unions
Tucker Higgins | @tuckerhiggins
Published 57 Mins Ago Updated 18 Mins Ago
CNBC.com

The Koch brothers must be celebrating!

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Wednesday in Janus v. AFSCME that non-union workers cannot be forced to pay fees to public sector unions.

The case concerns whether public employees can be forced to pay so-called “agency fees” to fund the work of public sector unions.

Experts said that a holding in favor of Janus would be the most significant court decision affecting collective bargaining rights in decades.

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Wednesday in Janus v. AFSCME that nonunion workers cannot be forced to pay fees to public sector unions.

The case, one of the most hotly anticipated of the term, is the second in two days to hand a major victory to conservatives, following Tuesday’s holding by the court that President Donald Trump’s travel ban is constitutional. Some experts have said that a holding in favor of the plaintiff, Mark Janus, would be the most significant court decision affecting collective bargaining in decades.

Janus, an employee at the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Human Services, asked the court last summer to overrule a 40-year-old Supreme Court decision. It found that public sector unions could require employees affected by their negotiations to pay so-called “agency fees,” which have also been called “fair share fees.”

Those fees, approved by the court in the 1977 case Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, cover collective bargaining costs, such as contract negotiations, but are meant to exclude political advocacy.

Janus argued that his $45 monthly fee to the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees was unconstitutional. He said the fees infringed on his first amendment rights, and that, in the case of public employees whose contract negotiations are with the government, the fees were a form of political advocacy.

Hyattsville Mayor’s Response after former Hyattsville journalist and current local TV news employee files a grievance on social media.

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Hyattsville Mayor Candace Hollingsworth run for Prince George’s County Council, District 2 race and came second. During the race, she faced challenges after a local news reporter filed a grievance on social media. Photo courtesy of Candace Hollingsworth

June 28th, 2018 – Hyattsville Mayor Candace Hollingsworth has filed a response to former Hyattsville journalist and current local TV news employee Rebecca Baldwinin who claimed retaliation in a grievance filed on social media. To be fair, we decided to post the mayor’s response which was posted on social media denying the allegations. There is evidence Divorce and politics both can be ugly. Below is the mayors response as presented on facebook:

I am saddened that Rebecca Baldwin has chosen to use challenges in her personal life to scandalize my name, tarnish my reputation, and take advantage of an election season to further do so.

I was one of at least two credible witnesses called by Ms. Baldwin’s husband to provide testimony of an incident in August 2016 involving Ms. Baldwin, another Hyattsville resident who will remain anonymous unless he/she chooses not to be, and me. All I will share here is that the resident and I were trying to get Ms. Baldwin home safely by walking with her from Mount Rainier to Hyattsville.

To be clear: I testified as a private citizen. I did not volunteer myself to her case, and I did not insert myself into this. Although she has raised this in a public way, for her and her family’s sake, I prefer not to air the rest of the unfortunate and uncomfortable details of that incident in this forum.

As to the remainder, her claims regarding the Life & Times are grossly (and demonstrably) inaccurate. I have not filed any ethics complaint against the publication or any of its members. For the rest, my record and my accomplishments as Mayor speak for themselves and for that I am proud.

I am happy to talk with anyone about anything raised in Ms. Baldwin’s post, including the circumstances of my testimony.

And to the colleagues of mine who are sharing this for their own political gain and gamesmanship—shame on you. Our constituents and neighbors deserve more and better from you.

-Candace Hollingsworth

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Maryland Democrats in enchanted territories as Old leadership is rejected after a Major Civil war! Oh Lord.

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Former NAACP President Ben Jealous

Former NAACP president Ben Jealous won the Democratic nomination for Maryland governor on Tuesday, handing progressives a big win in a contest that offered two competing visions for how the party should run this fall and transform Maryland for the better.

With the vast majority of the ballots counted, Jealous led his main rival, our own Prince George’s County executive Rushern Baker III, by roughly 10 percentage points—40 percent to 30 percent, in a crowded field. Baker who misled a vast majority of his constitute in order to win the nomination has been left with an egg to his face after several major scandals erupted in Prince George’s County during the nomination process.

If he can win again in November, Jealous would become the state’s first black governor. But history won’t come easy. Gov. Larry Hogan is widely popular in the state with both Republicans and Democrats, and he will enter the general election as the odds-on favorite. A Washington Post poll earlier this month found Hogan with a 12-percentage-point lead in a hypothetical matchup against the Democrat.

State Delegate and Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Joseph F. Vallario, Jr is out of a job. Corruption within the Maryland court system has been off the hook under his leadership.

While the nomination of Ben Jealous is a watershed moment in Maryland Democratic Party history, another major  monumental shift occurred in the General Assembly and in Prince George’s County Council. Former convicted Robber and sexual predator Calvin Hawkins was elected to the council. (more on this story later).

While Senate President Mike Miller easily dispatched his overhyped challenger (Rushern Baker III), the following legislative leaders are out of a job following Tuesday’s primary:

  • Nathaniel McFadden, President Pro Tem of the State Senate
  • Joan Carter Conway, Education, Health & Environmental Affairs Committee Chair
  • Thomas “Mac” Middleton, Finance Committee Chair
  • Joe Vallario, Judiciary Committee Chair
  • Rushern Baker III, Prince Georges County Executive

Combine that with Budget & Taxation Chair Edward Kasemeyer (retirement), Budget & Taxation Vice-Chair Rich Madaleno (failed campaign for Governor), Finance Committee Chair John Astle (retirement), and Rules Committee Vice-Chair Ed Degrange, Delegate Carolyn J.B. Howard – Maryland Deputy Speaker Pro Tem (retirement), that’s eight of twelve Senate Democratic Committee leadership posts and parts of general assembly that need to be replaced.

This is an amazing set of losses for the Annapolis Democratic establishment. The three Senators who lost, as well as Vallario and delegate Howard who retired after a scandal, were career politicians who ran their committees and the chamber with iron fists. Vallario, in particular, was infamous for his bills that protected criminals and threw roadblocks in the way of common sense bills like Jessica’s Law. The Maryland judiciary is also tied to a lot of public corruption which continues to go on despite rules to protect the public from scams.

The Democratic temper tantrum that manifested itself with Rushern Baker after he run a disastrous campaign affected these races too. And that is what will make our legislative races even more important this year. These Democrats who lost their primaries yesterday are what some (not us) would consider “moderate” Democrats. Sure, they were notably left-wing when compared to the beliefs of the common man or woman, but they were establishment Democratic politicians who followed in lockstop with what legislative leadership wanted. But at some level, they understand what it means when it is said that Maryland has a “middle temperament” and their positions were not as radicalized as their counterparts.

This new group? We will wait to see what happens next. However, the democratic party in Maryland is in major water due to many scandals fueled by left wing.  They’ll try to move the General Assembly even further to the left than it already is without a doubt.

Their replacements in those leadership positions are not going to be nearly as “moderate” as these folks. They are going to be replaced with the type of left-wing, socialist sympathizers that would love nothing more than to shepherd the radical  agenda for the Democratic speaker and Senate President through the General Assembly.

The good news in all of this is that, Senator Muse and former congress woman Donna Edwards will stay involved in the process and help shepard the many resources the county has to offer.

The Democrats are clearly in enchanted territories as their legislative leadership prepares to test the new waters after many years. This, might make the perfect case for Governor Hogan’s re-election and the election of a more conservative General Assembly. However, it might also play the other way around if Governor Hogan fails to resolve outstanding issues in Prince George’s County before November 2018. Many of the problems in Prince George’s County started when Governor Hogan was already running the state. Those issues involve problems in Baltimore City. If Governor Hogan can handle these issues well, it will confirm a widely shared belief in this blog that,  Democratic party machine in Maryland is set for major losses in November 2018 after coverups.

However, If Ben Jealous presents his agenda carefully with much thought to the people on how to fight public corruption and help fix schools, He will beat Governor Hogan hands down in November.  After all, Maryland is a blue state with more Democrats than Republicans.

More to come.

Rushern Baker III seen here is in major trouble after he failed terribly to clinch the Governorship nomination by the Maryland democratic party. He is set to retire permanently from politics and settle in Cheverly as he guides his two daughters to find husbands and care for his wife. His son Rushern just recent got married.

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