- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 16, 2016

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - Inmates at a western Maryland state prison made furniture for the warden without the required paperwork, according to a former agency official and an inspector general’s report obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.

J. Philip Morgan, now warden at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Jessup, did not immediately respond to phone calls and an email seeking comments about the Sept. 7 audit report from the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services’ Office of the Inspector General.

The report says the audit last summer was prompted by a complaint about an unidentified “senior management official.” Steven Geppi, former director of the agency’s internal investigations and intelligence unit, said the target was Morgan, then warden at the Maryland Correctional Training Center near Hagerstown. Geppi lodged the complaint that prompted the audit, according to the report.

The report says inmates working in a carpentry shop made a food-preparation table and a food-smoker stand for the targeted official.

Prison agency employees are allowed to have items made by inmates for a nominal fee under what’s known as the Live Work Order Program, according to the report. The report says the targeted official made a $20 donation to the program after the inspector general announced the audit and much later than the date on which he received the furniture.

The program’s carpentry teacher told investigators that the official told him paperwork for the items was “not needed,” according to the report. The official told investigators he didn’t know why the teacher hadn’t given him any paperwork, the report states.

Geppi is among three high-ranking agency officials fired last month amid complaints of undisclosed misconduct that included allegations of sexual impropriety. He has denied any misconduct and said he suspects the complaint against him was made by a current or former employee whom his unit investigated for corruption during Geppi’s 14-month tenure.

Geppi and Debra Gonzalez Morin, who headed intelligence gathering, said they have filed discrimination complaints with the state’s Equal Employment Opportunity Office, alleging they were sexually harassed and dismissed before all the facts were known. Geppi’s complaint also alleges age discrimination; he’s 64. Morin said her complaint alleges gender discrimination.

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