Former Md. Senator, Workers Comp Fund CEO Facing Federal Charges

October 20, 2005

A once-powerful former Maryland state senator and head of the state’s largest workers’ compensation provider was indicted this week on federal charges of influence-peddling in exchange for free contracting work on a new house and other favors.

Thomas Bromwell was indicted with his wife, Mary Patricia Bromwell, and W. David Stoffregen, the former chief executive officer of the contracting firm Poole and Kent Co.

The 30-count indictment alleges that during the late 1990s and early 2000s, Stoffregen provided various benefits to Thomas Bromwell in exchange for his agreement to use his influence to help the Baltimore-based firm, which has won multimillion-dollar local and state contracts.

Stoffregen allegedly gave Thomas Bromwell more than $85,000 in construction work on a new house in 2000 and 2001. Stoffregen also is accused of giving Mary Bromwell more than $192,000 from 2001 to 2003 for a no-show job at Namco Services Corp. Thomas Bromwell allegedly agreed to remain in the Senate in exchange for the payments to his wife.

Prosecutors allege that Mary Bromwell posed as Namco’s CEO so Stoffregen and his firm, who controlled the company, could get contracts intended for woman-owned businesses.

Thomas Bromwell, a Baltimore County Democrat, was a senator for 19 years and chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee from 1995 until he left the Legislature in 2002. He was then appointed president and CEO of the Injured Workers Insurance Fund, Maryland’s largest provider of workers’ comp insurance.

“The charges in this indictment allege a serious abuse of public office for private financial gain,” U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein said in a statement. “Citizens and business people deserve to know that government officials in Maryland will be held accountable if they sell their offices.”

No court hearings have been scheduled in the case.

Robert Schulman, an attorney for the Bromwells, said his clients are innocent. He alleged the government pursued “an investigation with vengeance” against Thomas Bromwell after he failed to provide damaging information to investigators about other Maryland lawmakers in a political corruption probe.

Poole and Kent issued a statement saying it was cooperating. It was unclear whether Stoffregen had an attorney.

The indictment comes after a federal investigation that began more than two years ago into Thomas Bromwell’s relationship with Poole and Kent.

The former senator also is accused of using his influence to help the firm win a multimillion-dollar contract on the University of Maryland Medical System’s Weinberg Building in Baltimore. The former senator also is charged with intervening in disputes on Poole and Kent’s behalf, including a state contract dispute relating to the Juvenile Justice Center construction project in Baltimore.

The three are accused of racketeering, mail fraud and extortion. The former senator also is charged with making a false statement to FBI agents and four counts of filing false tax returns. Stoffregen has been charged with one count of obstruction of justice relating to witness tampering.

Thomas Bromwell faces up to 35 years in prison while his wife faces up to 31 years. Stoffregen faces up to 44 years.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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