- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Federal prosecutors want the University of Maryland at College Park to produce a wide range of records related to grants the school received from the state, part of an ongoing probe of an organization headed by Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.
Prosecutors asked for all records from 21 grants totaling $6 million that university research centers received from the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP), according to copies of two subpoenas released yesterday by the school.
The university also was ordered to present to a federal grand jury personnel records, correspondences, work reports and other information about 31 employees, many of whom work for the school's Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR).
The agency has close ties to the state crime office.
The subpoenas shed more light on a federal investigation of the state crime office that distributes $45 million annually to law enforcement agencies and community groups to fight crime.
The crime office yesterday made public a subpoena it received April 22 from federal prosecutors, seeking records of a $503,000 federal grant it gave in March 2001 to Safe Streets 2000 Inc. and its subsidiary, Community Services Coalition of Prince George's County.
Safe Streets partnered with Los Angeles-based National Homes Trust for the Diamonds of Opportunity program, which tried to rehabilitate juvenile offenders. The state withdrew funding after several months because of problems with the program, but later funneled $42,000 through another group to pay contractors of Diamonds of Opportunity.
Safe Streets is led by Delegate Joanne C. Benson, Prince George's County Democrat, and Terry Lawlah, daughter-in-law of state Sen. Gloria Lawlah, Prince George's County Democrat.
Mrs. Townsend, who is running for the Democratic nomination for governor, has called the investigation "political garbage" and an effort orchestrated by Republicans to hurt her. The U.S. attorney, Thomas DiBiagio, was appointed on a recommendation from Mrs. Townsend's likely Republican opponent, U.S. Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.
Mr. DiBiagio's office did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Robert Weinhold, spokesman for the state crime office, wouldn't comment on the subpoenas.
The subpoenas were released after the U.S. Attorney's Office said it would not object, according to university spokesman George Cathcart. The school has until Aug. 21 to present the information to the grand jury, and Mr. Cathcart said it would comply.
The state crime-control office acts as a conduit for many federal grants, including money to stem underage drinking, juvenile-justice programs and substance-abuse prevention. The agency also administers federal grants for the Hot Spots crime-prevention effort and programs to prevent violence against women, among others.
The grants listed on the subpoenas were awarded between 1999 and 2002, with most going to CESAR. The center receives much of its annual funding from the state crime office.
Founded in 1989, CESAR studies drugs and other national and state substance-abuse trends and reviews prevention and treatment programs. It is part of the university's college of behavioral and social sciences.
Prosecutors are looking for records of 12 grants given to CESAR, including one for $1.74 million in 2001 and another for $1.18 million in 2000. CESAR's director, Maryland criminology professor Eric Wish, did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Mr. Cathcart said the university does not believe it is the target of the investigation.
"We have looked at the files that have been requested, and we don't think anybody would conclude that," he said.
The subpoenas also seek records for the university's Community Justice Institute Project and information on grants given to the school's criminology department.
Most of the 31 persons included in the subpoenas work for CESAR or the state crime office, according to employee directories for both.
The state crime office's subpoena included personnel files for 37 staffers, including Stephen P. Amos, the executive director. Most of the names were the same as those on the university subpoena.
Mr. Cathcart said the university would release specific information on the subpoenaed grants today.

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