Two Pr. George's sheriff's officials accused in theft from union

By Ruben Castaneda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 30, 2010; B08

A grand jury charged two Prince George's County sheriff's officials Thursday with conspiring to steal more than $20,000 from the deputies' union when they were officers for the organization.

The criminal indictment was brought by State Prosecutor Robert A. Rohrbaugh.

According to the indictment, Wendy Tyler, who until Thursday was an acting sheriff's captain, served as president of the union that represents deputies from September 2005 to October 2007. Capt. Nancy Ridgely was first vice president of the union for the same term, the indictment says.

During those two years, Tyler was entitled to receive quarterly checks totaling $10,400 from the Prince George's County Deputy Sheriff's Association, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #112, the indictment says.

Tyler instead received 13 union checks for $22,124, the indictment says.

The union requires the signature of two officers to draw checks on the union's bank account, according to the indictment. Ridgely signed 12 of the 13 checks paid to Tyler, the indictment says.

Ridgely, who supervises the sheriff's department's public information office, did not return a phone call. Tyler, who had been working as an acting captain in the department's domestic violence unit, also did not return a phone call.

William C. Brennan, Ridgely's attorney, said, "My client adamantly denies these allegations and will vigorously contest these charges."

Sheriff Michael Jackson, a candidate in the Democratic primary for county executive, did not return phone calls.

Col. Paul A. Drula, Jackson's second-in-command, said, "As we've said before, it's a union issue involving union funds, not government funds. It's between union members."

Tyler and Ridgely will be placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the charges, Drula said. During her leave, Tyler will revert to the rank of lieutenant, Drula said.

The indictment also accuses Tyler of making purchases of more than $10,000 for nonunion purposes with her union-issued credit card. The bills for those personal purchases were paid for with union funds, the indictment says.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company