$2,000 could buy former P.G. executive Johnson, tapes reveal

Top administrator was county’s ‘biggest crook’

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

After several cars were towed in January 2010 from the parking lot of Melhi’s Tick Tock liquor store in Langley Park, Melhi also dialed up Johnson to complain.

“Let me call the chief and find out who it is okay,” Johnson replied. “Yeah and I’ll call and I’ll, I’ll make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

Investigators recorded Melhi asking Johnson for at least seven separate favors, including help getting Tick Tock’s parking lot salted by county snowplows and guarantees that one of his restaurants would pass a county health inspection.

In the months after agreeing to help Melhi, Johnson repeatedly directed the liquor store owner to donate money to the campaign of his wife, Leslie E. Johnson, as she ran for a seat on the County Council. Leslie Johnson was elected to the council but stepped down after she pleaded guilty in June to witness- and evidence-tampering charges.

A transcript of a 2009 recording between an undercover investigator and a county police officer, who worked security for Melhi part-time at Tick Tock, shed some light on Jack Johnson’s relationship with Melhi.

“He donated to his campaign. They got close and Jack, every time Jack has a party he has to give him cases of wine so Jack comes through,” Sgt. Richard Delabrer said.

Delabrer pleaded guilty in May to corruption charges involving his role in protecting black-market shipments of liquor and cigarettes to Melhi’s stores and resigned from the police department. Other recordings transcribed in the sentencing memo show that Melhi asked Johnson to intervene when Delabrer was facing a transfer to a police district far from Tick Tock.

“He’s connected to the County Exec. Which is everybody’s boss in my county,” Delabrer said of Melhi, referring to him by his middle name, Singh. “When I pissed off my captain, he tried to send me to f–– Oxon Hill. You know, I had Singh just squash that s–.”

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks