- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 21, 2007

Former state Sen. Thomas Bromwell, a powerful figure in Annapolis during his nearly 20 years in the legislature, has agreed to plead guilty to taking bribes from a construction company executive, his attorney said yesterday.

Mr. Bromwell, 58, will plead guilty to racketeering conspiracy and filing a false tax return, his attorney, Barry Pollack, told the Associated Press. Sentencing guidelines call for a prison term between six ½ years and about eight years for the former Senate Finance Committee chairman, Mr. Pollack said.

“It was a very difficult decision for him,” Mr. Pollack said. “But taking into account what’s best for him, what’s best for his wife, what’s best for his family, he believes that the best thing to do was to admit that he did make some mistakes and to put this matter to rest so that he and his family can move on with their lives.”

The plea agreements were first reported by the Baltimore Sun on its Web site yesterday.

William Purpura, the attorney for Mr. Bromwell’s wife, Mary Patricia Bromwell, did not immediately return a telephone call, but Mr. Pollack said Mrs. Bromwell would plead guilty to a single count of mail fraud. Sentencing guidelines call for her to serve between 2½ years and three years, he said.

The Bromwells are scheduled to enter their pleas Tuesday morning before U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz in Baltimore.

Mr. Pollack said he and Mr. Purpura would argue that the Bromwells deserve shorter sentences than what the guidelines call for. Judge Motz has the final say on their sentences.

“We certainly hope that the court will take into account Mr. Bromwell’s many, many years of public service and the very positive things that he has done for the people of Maryland,” Mr. Pollack said.

Mr. Purpura told the Sun that he would argue that probation is the appropriate sentence for Mrs. Bromwell.

Mr. Bromwell is accused of receiving more than $85,000 in construction work on a new house in 2000 and 2001 that W. David Stoffregen, who was president of Poole and Kent Co., provided free. Stoffregen also gave Mrs. Bromwell more than $192,000 from 2001 to 2003 for a no-show job at Namco Services Corp., prosecutors said.

Stoffregen was one of seven persons to plead guilty as part of the case against Mr. Bromwell. He is awaiting sentencing.

The plea agreement will hold Mr. Bromwell to account for illegally helping Poole and Kent to win a multimillion-dollar contract over a competitor for work on a University of Maryland Medical System building in Baltimore.

Also, as part of the plea, the Bromwells agreed to forfeit the Parkville home where Poole and Kent did the free construction work.

Mr. Bromwell, a Democrat, represented Baltimore County from 1983 to 2002.

Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein did not immediately return a call seeking comment yesterday.

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