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Posted at 06:01 PM ET, 05/31/2011

Former D.C. alcohol official charged with impersonating officer

The former chairman of D.C.’s alcohol control board was arrested Saturday night and charged with impersonating a police officer, according to a D.C. police report.

The arrest came one day after Charles Brodsky, 45, resigned from his appointed position with the board. Brodsky, who had a year remaining in his term as head of the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, quit Friday under pressure from Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s office, which was investigating allegations of conflicts of interest.

Brodsky was parked in a no-parking zone in the 2400 block of 18th Street NW in Adams Morgan on Saturday night, according to the police report. When an officer approached to issue a ticket around 9:15 p.m., Brodsky was seen entering the vehicle to remove a red dash light and a Metropolitan Police Department placard that read “POLICE OFFICIAL BUSINESS.”

Brodsky told the officer that he was given the light by the District government to use on official business as head of the alcohol board, the police report stated, then changed his story and said “a police friend gave it to him.” Brodsky, who owns a sports and events management company, also allegedly said he was a police officer in Alexandria, but later recanted.

Brodsky was charged with false impersonation of a police officer and use of official insignia, both misdemeanors.

In an interview Tuesday, Brodsky said he has a court order in Virginia declaring him a “special conservator of the peace” in Alexandria. Virginia’s Department of Criminal Justice Services issues special conservator licenses, which grant police powers akin to a state trooper, said Matthew LeFande, an Arlington attorney and instructor for the state criminal justice department.

“It’s hard to impersonate something you actually are,” Brodsky said. “The police acted overzealously.”

Brodsky was named chair of the alcohol board by former Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D). But he was accused by former board member Mital Gandhi of inappropriately lobbying fellow members to rule favorably for a liquor company that wanted to sell alcohol in D.C. that was stored in Maryland — which is against control board regulations.

Gandhi said Tuesday that Brodsky told him the liquor company would sponsor the Nation’s Triathlon, which Brodsky founded, and help fund his potential bid for a D.C. Council seat.

Brodsky has denied the allegations. But Ronald Collins, appointed by Gray to oversee the boards and commissions, was convinced that Brodsky had acted improperly and asked him to resign Friday, a source with knowledge of the meeting said Tuesday.

“I was never presented a report or written document that lays out charges against me,” Brodsky said. “They followed a process they believe is fair and just and reasonable. I support the process. They can run the boards and commissions any way they believe is right for the city.”

Gray’s office said board member Nicholas Alberti will stand as interim chair until the mayor selects a full-time replacement.

This item has been updated.

By  |  06:01 PM ET, 05/31/2011

Categories:  The District

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