Shao Ti Hsu, one of the Washington area's most controversial landlords, yesterday was found guilty for the second time of perjury stemming from his testimony under oath in a 1975 court case involving one of his properties in Southeast Washington.
Judge Peter H. Wolf ordered the 66-year-old Hsu, a professor of engineering at the University of Maryland, held without bond pending sentencing next month after an extraordinary 20-minute bench conference in which the prosecutor in the case charged that Hsu offered last year to "take good care" of him in exchange for a favorable plea offer in the case.
According to a transcript of the bench conference obtained by The Washington Post, Assistant U.S. Attorney David S. Krakoff told Judge Wolf that Hsu telephoned him at his office in D.C. Superior Court last July and said, " 'I just want you to know I will take good care of you,' " if Krakoff would promise to recommend probation in exchange for Hsu's guilty plea to perjury.
Krakoff said his office considered bringing bribery charges against Hsu, but declined to do so.
Krakoff said that because of the conversation, he believed Hsu might pose a danger to the community if released pending sentencing. Wolf then ordered Hsu held in D.C. Jail until sentencing April 20.
Hsu's attorney, Jeffrey Lee Greenspan, had argued that Hsu was innocent of the perjury charge. In the bench conference, Greenspan said that he was "willing to take Mr. Krakoff at his word." Greenspan said he would file a motion for Hsu's release.
Hsu, who has been convicted numerous times for housing-code violations, originally was convicted on the perjury charge in 1976 stemming from remarks he had made in a civil hearing over whether he should make improvements at a Southeast apartment he owned. At that hearing a lawyer testified he served Hsu with a court order to make the improvements.
Hsu, in explaining to the hearing judge why the improvements had not been made, said he never received the order, as the lawyer claimed.
Prosecutors, acting on a complaint, subsequently obtained an indictment against Hsu over that part of his hearing testimony.
Hsu had represented himself in the ensuing perjury trial. The D.C. Court of Appeals subsequently overturned the conviction on grounds that he had been improperly represented and had not fully understood the gravity of the charge against him.
Hsu now faces a maximum 10 years in prison on the new conviction.