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For Immediate Release
May 13, 2005
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

ANOTHER CONVICTION IN CURRAN’S STONE COLD CORRUPTION INVESTIGATION

Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that Esther Coombs of Brooklyn, Maryland pled guilty to bribery in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County. The Honorable Judge Joseph Manck sentenced Ms. Coombs, 39, a former employee of the Annapolis State Highway Administration maintenance facility, to two years in jail with all but 60 days suspended. Judge Manck called Coombs’ actions “pretty blatant.” Coombs is the sixth person convicted in Curran’s investigation; the investigation is ongoing.

The Statement of Facts showed that between January 2001 and December 2002, Coombs (using her State credit card) purchased more than $15,600 in overpriced janitorial supplies from Stone Cold Chemical, Incorporated, a janitorial and maintenance supply company. For example Ms. Coombs purchased an aerosol can of deodorizer for $29: that same can cost Stone Cold only $3. In exchange for purchasing overpriced supplies Ms. Coombs received more than $1200 in gift certificates from Wal-Mart and ToysRUs, for the purpose of influencing her to ignore her duty to purchase products at the best and lowest prices for the State.

Stone Cold’s owners and salespeople have been successfully prosecuted in Georgia and Florida State Courts for bribing State employees, and the company has lost its privileges to do business in Maryland by virtue of Attorney General Curran’s Antitrust Division’s petition to the Board of Public Works.

The matter was referred to the Attorney General’s Office by the Legislative Auditor, and was investigated by the Attorney General’s Criminal Investigations Division and the Maryland State Police.

   

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