New Revelations in Prince George’s Corruption Probe

By Chris Gordon
|  Thursday, May 19, 2011  |  Updated 6:32 AM EDT
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We're learning more about the pay-to-play political scandal that rocked Prince George's county. One day after former County Executive Jack Johnson pleaded guilty to corruption charges, we now have the plea agreements of three others he conspired with. Court documents reveal Johnson's co-conspirators offered airline tickets, rounds of golf and sexual services to state and local officials who played a role in the county's decision making.

Chris Gordon

We're learning more about the pay-to-play political scandal that rocked Prince George's county. One day after former County Executive Jack Johnson pleaded guilty to corruption charges, we now have the plea agreements of three others he conspired with. Court documents reveal Johnson's co-conspirators offered airline tickets, rounds of golf and sexual services to state and local officials who played a role in the county's decision making.

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Money, rooms, airline tickets, rounds of golf, sexual services and employment were all used to in the pay-to-play culture of Prince George’s County, Md.

On the same day that former County Executive Jack Johnson entered his guilty plea, investigators unsealed three plea agreements from other defendants in the corruption investigation who agreed to cooperate with the government.

James Edward Johnson was the director of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He admitted funneling tens of thousands of dollars from developers to Jack Johnson.

Mirza Hussain Baig admitted that Jack Johnson agreed to get an associate employment as a physician at the Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly in exchange for $50,000.

Patrick Q. Ricker was a developer who sought to build a mixed-use development near the Greenbelt Metro Station.

In all, prosecutors allege that for official acts Jack Johnson received more than $400,000.

But the plea agreements of these co-conspirators reveal more than money was involved. They also took rooms, airline tickets, rounds of golf, sexual services, and employment to state and local offices that exercised decision making authority.

The IRS and FBI continue the investigation to ferret out corruption in Prince George's County and throughout the state.

Other defendants are still presumed innocent of corruption charges. The owners of Tick Tock liquors are charged with making contributions to campaigns at Johnson's request and receiving untaxed cigarettes and alcohol delivered by police officers. They have all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

And finally, there’s Jack Johnson’s wife, Prince George’s County Councilwoman Leslie Johnson, who still faces charges of witness tampering and destroying evidence. Some thought that Jack Johnson entered his guilty plea to protect her from prison, but U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein said the two investigations are independent. So as of now, it appears that Leslie Johnson will have to appear in court. If she is convicted or pleads guilty, she could be removed from the seat she won in the fall.
 

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