Bromwell takes a deal
Former state Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell Sr., the ex-tavern owner who became one of Annapolis' most prominent politicians, agreed Friday to plead guilty to accepting payoffs from a Baltimore construction company executive in return for securing publicly funded contracts, defense lawyers said.Except, and this is truly bizarre, everybody else may get off free and clear:
The result of weeks of negotiations, the plea agreement came almost two years after federal prosecutors hit the Baltimore County Democrat and his wife, Mary Patricia, with an 80-page federal racketeering indictment in October 2005.
Bromwell was accused of using his political power to help Baltimore-based Poole and Kent in exchange for more than $200,000 in cash, bogus salary and discounted home-improvement materials.
Notably, and somewhat unexpectedly, Bromwell's agreement does not require him to provide any details to authorities about other possible crimes that might implicate public officials. Bromwell's original attorneys told The Sun more than two years ago that prosecutors indicated they would accept a guilty plea from the former senator only if he in turn provided incriminating information about other officials.Now this is truly surprising. The fact of the matter is that if anybody was in a position of strength to bring down a ton of people in the General Assembly, it was Bromwell. The fact that prosecutors did not go for the home run and try to use Bromwell in an effort to bring these other officials down is particularly peculiar, especially given the language that Bromwell used in reference to other members of the General Assembly.
Had the case gone to trial, prosecutors were expected to air excerpts from secret FBI tapes in which Bromwell used crude language to lambaste fellow politicians and boast of his ability to make lucrative deals happen.
Potential witnesses included a state legislator, one of the city's wealthiest developers and several former state Cabinet secretaries, court papers show.
It was no secret that other members of the Senate Finance Committee and Senate leadership were incredibly nervous about Bromwell's position and the information that Bromwell knew. I wonder if all of these officials are breathing a sigh of relief. Or should we be considering the fact that maybe, just maybe,further investigations and more indictments are coming down the track.
One thing is for certain. For the first time in a long time a member of the General Assembly has actually taken the fall for being on the take. It is one of Annapolis's worse kept secrets that he is not the only one. How long will it take before the truth sees the light of day?