Ottavio F. Grande, the former deputy director of this city's Public Works Department, was sentenced today to four years in prison and fined $10,000 for misusing his office by fixing bids on demolition contracts and extorting $55,000 in kickbacks from contractors.
Grande was found guilty of multiple charges of mail fraud, extortion, tax evasion and obstruction of justice on Oct. 28 after a month-long trial in U.S. District Court here.
"It's sad that this adds to the reputation Maryland has for political crime," said Judge Edward S. Northrop in imposing Grande's sentence. "I don't believe Maryland is any worse than any other state. But at any rate, it's something that can't be overlooked."
Five contractors also were found guilty of making kickbacks to Grande and participating in the bid-rigging scheme involving nearly $6 million worth of public works contracts between 1971 and 1975.
Two of those contractors, Gerald W. (Buzz) Berg of the Buzz Berg Wrecking Co., and Joseph W. Tuller of State Wrecking Co. of Maryland in Silver Spring, must forfeit their 50 per cent interests in the companies for racketeering convictions. Berg was also sentenced to four years in jail and fined $15,000.
Citing Tuller's health problems, Northrop sentenced him to only six months in Montgomery county Detention Center and a $5,000 fine. Pitro Castagna of Castle Construction Co. and Andrew Hawthrone of Robert Hawthrone Inc., of Philadelphia, each received two-year jail terms and $5,000 fines. Edgar Hawthrone, also of Philadelphia, received a two-year suspended sentence.
All the jail terms except for Tuller's were under a provision that allows the codefendants to be released on probation at any time at the discretion of the court. Northrop said he did not feel that Grande needs rehabilitation. But the jail term should act as a deterrent to others in public office, he said.