Excerpts from wiretap transcripts of former Pr. George’s county executive Johnson

November 23, 2011

Here are excerpts from wiretap transcripts included in the 76-page sentencing memorandum for former Prince George’s county executive Jack B. Johnson, who pleaded guilty to extortion and witness and evidence tampering. He is scheduled to be sentenced in U.S. District Court on Dec. 6.

On Feb. 1, 2010, Johnson called a unidentified Prince George’s County Hospital official, seeking a job for a female friend of Mirza H. Baig, a Laurel internist and Johnson co-conspirator. The friend, also a physician, had failed several tests required for the job and only just passed several others:

“As a favor to you they can make this happen, but it’s gonna raise all sorts of eyebrows, hum, but [another hospital official] has told me that he said, ‘if Jack [the defendant] says this is really important we’ll make it happen,’ ” the official said.

When the hospital official told Johnson that 12 of the 15 slots already had been offered to physicians, Johnson barked: “Offer the lady a slot, ----!”

The official obliged. “[There is another hospital official] taking care of it for you.”

That same day, Johnson called Baig about a $50,000 cashier’s check Baig had given him in exchange for securing employment for his friend. Johnson spoke in code about wanting to return the cashier’s check because it was too risky for him to cash such a large sum. Instead, he wanted Baig to pay him cash in installments:

“The book you gave me to read yesterday, I’m gonna give you that book back okay,” Johnson said. “Uhm, because, it’s, it’s a you know, it’s a historical book, and uhm, and then I’ll you, uhm, and I’ll take lessons from time to time from you. Yeah, I think that’s better, you know.”

On Feb. 19, 2010, a county official called Johnson, who discussed his plans once he left office at the end of the year. He boasted that someone promised him a top government job that paid $100,000 a year:

“You know who else I am going to make hire me? [Baig], make his --- hire me. Pay me ten grand a month.”

On April 18, 2010, two months after Johnson agreed to help Baig obtain government funding for a development project in exchange for Baig buying an investment property from Johnson for $450,000, Johnson denied to an unidentified county official that he had a business relationship with Baig:

“I don’t have any, I don’t have any, um, you know professional relationship with him in terms of, ah, you know business or anything like that. I can’t.”

Johnson then asked the official if Baig was making “a lot of money” from the project:

“He’s got a sweetheart deal, I mean a sweetheart deal, at the very beginning, and this guy, then he, then he becomes, um, basically a slumlord and, um, he got, um, ah sanctioned by HUD,” the official said. “I mean all kinds of violations and they took away his, ah, his HUD license, which probably was by design by him and, and uh, ah, and now the nonprofit really is coming in . . . and give him $1.2 million . . . ”

On May 1, 2010, Johnson talked with a county official about his wife’s campaign and how much money certain people had contributed:

“You do them favor over favor. Eight years of favors. And then they’re wealthy. . . . Why can’t you . . . you could write a check for $4,000.”

Johnson went on to bemoan “lost opportunities” to get more bribes:

“We could have had a million dollars in the bank if we had played the damn thing right. From day one, every time so and so, call these people and tell they need some help. And they all need you there and they give you some help. You’re just like your friends, you know the big fellows. But you know what, there ways to skin a cat.”

On May 14, 2010, Johnson called a public official and talked about a plan to land himself a consulting job with the Prince George’s County Hospital when he left office. Johnson said he anticipated the new buyers of the hospital would pay him $15,000 a month:

“I met with some people last night. They gonna hire me, man.”

On Sept. 3, 2010, Johnson called a county official to discuss the campaigns of his wife and an unidentified candidate, and gave his reaction to the indictment of Maryland state Sen. Ulysses Currie (D-Prince George’s):

“But you know, man, I, I, look at it this way and then when Uly Currie got indicated I decided, man I said you know what, well I’m decided, but I said look. Man, I’m not doing ---- between now and um, the rest of the term, right.”

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