1 Sep 2010
Longtime Maryland Sen. Ulysses Currie (D-Prince George's) was indicted Wednesday on charges that he took bribes from a grocery chain in exchange for using his position to benefit the company.
The indictment, handed down in federal court in Baltimore, comes after a years-long investigation into consulting work Currie did for Shoppers Food and Pharmacy.
Currie, 73, chairman of the powerful Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, has served more than two decades in the state General Assembly and is a fixture in Annapolis. He holds one of the most coveted positions in the legislature, leading the panel responsible for handling the state's $32 billion annual budget. Its jurisdiction includes tax policy as well as slot-machine gambling -- a major issue in Maryland in recent years.
Currie declined comment Wednesday, saying he had not yet talked to his attorney, Dale P. Kelberman. Kelberman, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland who specializes in white collar crimes, did not immediately return calls for comment.
According to the indictment, Currie allegedly wrote that he was "in a unique position to assist" the supermarket chain in expanding its mission and increasing its bottom line.
The indictment alleges that Currie prepared a list of a dozen Shoppers projects in which he had used his position to benefit the chain, and offered to bring the company "many more" benefits.
"Government officials cross a bright line when they accept payments in return for using the authority of their office, whether they take cash in envelopes or checks labeled as consulting payments," U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein said in a statement.
Bill White, the former chief executive of Shoppers, and Kevin Small, a former Shoppers official, also were indicted.
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