- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Federal crime money meant for the University of Maryland was often used instead to pay staffers of a state crime office headed by Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, according to records released yesterday.
The university made public more than 20 grant files that the U.S. Attorney's Office in Baltimore has subpoenaed. Prosecutors are probing whether federal grants made through the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention, or GOCCP, were improperly used for political purposes.
A federal grand jury is investigating the agency, a probe that Mrs. Townsend said is part of a Republican effort to hurt her campaign.
University of Maryland officials said yesterday they would review the school's close ties with a state crime office. Many of GOCCP's employees are also listed as research associates for the school's Center for Substance Abuse and Research, enabling them to be paid with federal money.
The center also used some of its grant money to build and maintain a Web site for GOCCP, a site that included information touting Mrs. Townsend's accomplishments as head of the crime office. The school also loaned GOCCP staff state cars, according to the records.
University of Maryland officials said that it is common for employees of the school's substance abuse center to be detailed to GOCCP, and that proper procedures had been followed in hiring practices with federal money.
But in light of the federal scrutiny of its relationship with GOCCP, the university officials said they would review school policy.
"We will take another look at these practices to see if we need to make changes," said Cynthia Hale, assistant dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, which oversees the research center.
The grand jury has been investigating the crime agency since at least April, when subpoenas were sent to GOCCP about grants given to a Prince George's County nonprofit organization working with juvenile offenders. Prosecutors sought records on 37 GOCCP employees.
The University of Maryland also received subpoenas last week asking for information on 31 employees, most of whom were detailed to GOCCP and appeared on the subpoena sent to the crime office. Prosecutors also wanted records of 21 grants the school received.
Crime issues were Mrs. Townsend's largest responsibility in her two terms as lieutenant governor. As head of GOCCP, she oversaw an agency that gave out $45 million annually in state and federal grants to study crime and develop crime-fighting and prevention programs.
Mrs. Townsend has said the investigation by Republican U.S. Attorney Thomas DiBiagio is an attempt to smear her campaign. She said yesterday she hasn't received a subpoena and doesn't expect one. GOCCP staff aren't involved in promoting her campaign, she said.
"They wouldn't do that. It would be wrong. It's not my style," she said.
But a former GOCCP employee said she was instructed last year to create a computer database that tracked Mrs. Townsend's record at the crime office in order anticipate anything that could hurt her impending campaign.
Margaret Burns said GOCCP Director Stephen Amos and Mrs. Townsend's chief of staff, Alan Fleischmann, instructed her to create the database, which she was told to keep on a computer at home.
"My job was to pull together a historical database to prevent any public relations disasters for the lieutenant governor on the campaign trail," she said.
Mr. Fleischmann said that Miss Burns' statements were untrue, and that he didn't know of any database.
"I didn't ask her to do anything," he said. "Marty Burns has had zero contact with the campaign."
The grant files released by the university show an intertwined relationship between GOCCP and the Center for Substance Abuse Research. GOCCP employees were routinely added to grants the center received, causing them to grow.
That included GOCCP employee Marce Scarbrough, who frequently oversaw the administering of grants to the center. In June 2000, for example, the center reappointed him as a faculty research assistant and budgeted $50,281 for his salary as part of a $1.18 million grant.
Eric Wish, director of the university center, said that GOCCP and the center had close ties, and that it wasn't improper to use grant money to fund their work. Mr. Scarbrough was not involved in how the grants were spent, he said.
"He is doing the budget part of the grant. Once the decision is made to fund it, he has minimal substantive input into the projects," he said.
The files also show the research center, also know as CESAR, maintained the GOCCP Web site with Mrs. Townsend in mind. In a Sept. 5, 2000, memo to Mr. Amos asking for money for a new Web developer position, Mr. Wish wrote:
"The staff of CESAR and GOCCP feel that it is essential to not only maintain the Lt. Governor's presence on the web but make her activities more accessible to the citizens of Maryland."
Mr. Wish said it was standard procedure to give credit to the head of an agency on its Web site.

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