March 24, 2005
FORMER STATE EMPLOYEE CONVICTED OF ACCEPTING BRIBES
Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today
that Vivian McLean Odom was convicted on her plea of guilty to
Bribery, in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. Ms. Odom, a
former employee of the Division of Corrections (Baltimore Pre-Release
Unit), admitted to Judge Lynn Stewart that between October, 2002
and February, 2003 she received bribes from Stone Cold Chemical,
Incorporated, a janitorial and maintenance supply company from
whom she ordered numerous items, using her State credit card.
She was sentenced to two years in jail, with all but 30 days
suspended. Odom was also ordered to pay a $500 fine, and was
placed on supervised probation for two years.
In return for ordering from Stone Cold, Ms. Odom received various
pieces of fishing gear and equipment valued at over $300, for the
purpose of influencing her in the performance of her official duties
as a State employee and for neglecting and failing to perform the
According to the State’s Statement of Facts, Stone Cold kept
detailed records of the bribes they paid Ms. Odom, on what they
whimsically called "catch reports". Each of their salespeople
were trained to charge as much as 12 times the value of the items
sold, and to persuade potential buyers like Ms. Odom to pay those
high prices by offering to them bribes valued at approximately
10% of whatever they ordered. Buyers were given a choice of gift
certificates from such establishments as Outback Steakhouse, Victoria’s
Secret, Toy R Us and Wal-Mart, or fishing equipment from Bass Pro
Shop or Cabela’s.
As one example of exorbitant pricing, Stone Cold sold paper
towels to Odom for $259 for 180 towelettes, whereas the
of the product only charges $28.64 for the same quantity. Ms.
Odom also paid $21 for a can of de-icer and $15 a bottle
In return, she was sent rods and reels, fishing knives, a fishing
rod display rack and numerous other items of fishing accessories
State procurement officers, such as Odom, are supposed to check
first whether an item they wish to order for their agency is
available from either Blind Industries or State Use Industries.
vendors offer most of the items Odom purchased, but at significantly
lower prices. In addition, neither vendor charges freight,
whereas Stone Cold charged twice the freight expenses incurred,
that unnecessary expense along to the State.
Stone Cold’s owners and salespeople have been successfully
prosecuted in Georgia and Florida State Courts for bribing
This case was referred to the AG’s Office by the Department
of Public Safety and Correctional Services, and investigated by
the AG’s Criminal Investigations Division and the Maryland