Former Old Court Savings and Loan Association president Jeffrey Levitt came up with his full $2 million bail yesterday, less than an hour before he would have been jailed under a court-imposed deadline.
It was Levitt's third attempt since Friday to make bail.
Levitt, dressed in a sports jacket, slacks and loafers, sat at a battered metal desk in the clerk's office this morning, signing over batches of stocks and bonds as collateral. He finished about a half hour before Circuit Judge Joseph H.H. Kaplan's noon deadline, working under the steady gaze of reporters and a news artist lined up behind the clerk's counter a few yards away.
Friday, after his indictment on 25 counts of theft and misappropriation of funds at Old Court and two other thrifts, Levitt posted as collateral stocks and property he said were worth $1.7 million; he was given until Monday to come up with the remaining $300,000.
But state officials discovered that the combined collateral value of the two properties listed by Levitt -- his Lutherville home and a condominium in Ocean City -- was $309,300, not $1 million, as Levitt maintained.
An official in the state attorney general's office said the home is valued at $261,500, but its collateral value is only $141,500 because it carries a mortgage of $120,000. The condominium is valued at $167,800.
On Monday, Levitt signed over more securities, but still remained $64,449 short by the end of the day. Kaplan then set today's final deadline.
The securities posted by Levitt included a handful of municipal bonds and stocks in 26 companies, many of them railroads and former AT&T Bell System subsidiaries. By far the largest amount of stock transferred from a single company were shares worth $412,000 from the Altex Oil Corp. of Denver.
While Levitt remained a free man today, he faces the threat of jail again Wednesday. He and his wife Karol are scheduled to answer criminal contempt charges for allegedly withdrawing $211,000 from various bank accounts since last summer, in violation of two court orders issued by Kaplan.
The penalty for criminal contempt is left to the discretion of the judge. Officials of the Maryland Deposit Insurance Fund, the conservator for Old Court, in a motion asking that the Levitts be held in contempt, said, "No sanction short of imprisonment for criminal contempt will suffice."
The orders allegedly violated by the Levitts were issued in connection with the $200 million civil suit filed by MDIF against the Levitts and other Old Court officers. One order, imposed Aug. 5, prohibited the Levitts from transferring or removing any of their assets beyond those needed for ordinary business or living expenses without court permission. The second order, issued Sept. 18, restricted the Levitts' spending to $1,000 a week.
The Levitts, in papers filed with the court, have admitted withdrawing the funds but say their violations of Kaplan's orders were "technical" and they want to apprise the judge of "mitigating circumstances" that made their actions necessary.