Felons give away turkeys in Prince George’s County

November 20, 2012

Karl Granzow Jr. is scheduled to head to prison after Thanksgiving for his role in a sweeping corruption scandal that rocked Prince George’s County.

But on Tuesday, he and friend Patrick Ricker spent part of the day handing out hundreds of turkeys to senior citizens in the county. Ricker, too, is headed to jail.

The two have been distributing turkeys for years, and Granzow said he and Ricker wanted to continue the giveaway despite their current legal troubles.

“There are people who are worse off than us, despite how bad you think your life is,” Granzow said. “Pat and I have been fortunate to have good lives. And we still do, even though we’ve had a hiccup here or there.”

The latest “hiccup” for the pair: Jail time, fines, restitution and supervised release.

Granzow stood to the side while his children and two students from Bowie High School, who were earning community service credits, pushed shopping carts down the halls of Rainier Manor in Mount Rainier. They knocked on doors and handed out 10- to 14-pound frozen turkeys to unsuspecting residents.

“Hi, we have a turkey for you,” a teenager said as a door opened.

“And you are with?” asked Yvonne C. Washington, a resident of the seniors apartment complex.

“The owners,” Granzow prodded the teenager to say.

The turkeys actually are courtesy of Humphrey Associates and N. Steven Stavrou, which owns the building, and Granzow and Ricker, who have worked for the developers.

Washington said the generosity helped to get her into the holiday spirit.

Asked later if she knew that two of her benefactors were convicted felons, Washington said it didn’t matter who brought the gift.

Granzow pleaded guilty last year to extortion and tax evasion, and Ricker pleaded guilty to fraud, tax evasion and making false statements to the Federal Election Commission. They are among 15 people — including former county executive Jack B. Johnson (D) and his wife, former council member Leslie Johnson (D) — who have pleaded guilty in the public corruption scandal.

Granzow, who said Tuesday that he still can’t “fathom” heading to prison, is scheduled to report Nov. 30 for an 18-month sentence. Ricker is scheduled to join him behind bars in January for 12 months and one day.

“Everybody makes mistakes,” Washington said. “I hope they learned from them. . . . I don’t know if they are doing this willingly, but they are giving back to the community and I appreciate it. I wish them well.”

Ovetta Wiggins writes about K-12 education.
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