A contractor accused of bribing Prince George's County parks chief Hugh B. "Reds" Robey has won all the agency's paving contracts since 1982, prompting agency auditors to confront Robey two years ago about whether he had a financial interest in the firm, law enforcement sources said yesterday.
Robey, 59, of Bowie, and the contractor, Richard Coleman, the president of B&C Paving Co., of Mitchellville, turned themselves in to authorities yesterday after their indictment Thursday on bribery charges. They were released on their own recognizance.
Robey, until yesterday the influential director of parks and recreation for the Prince George's arm of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, also is charged with theft of about $30,000 in agency funds and misconduct in office.
Robey's son, Michael, a commission employee and former agency contractor, also surrendered to State Police to face charges in connection with the alleged complex bribery-kickback scheme. Authorities say they expect another commission employee, Albert Simons, a Robey deputy, to surrender Monday.
Another contractor named in the indictment, Junia Edward Dailey of Washington, has not surrendered, police said.
Robey, a 40-year agency employee, rose through the ranks to become the commission's highest-paid official at a peak salary of $110,000 a year. Since last fall, he had been acting director of the 16,000-acre park system, supervising a $100 million budget and handling capital improvements for a network of parks, swimming pools, ice rinks and a county equestrian center. Robey officially resigned yesterday.
Law enforcement sources said Robey was questioned by commission auditors in 1988 about whether he had any financial relationship to the firm owned by Coleman, a longtime friend. The sources said auditors were concerned because B&C always emerged as the low bidder on an annual contract to perform paving and asphalt work for the agency.
Robey submitted a written response to the auditors saying he had no financial interest in the company and that he had no relatives working for Coleman, the sources said.
Park commission records show that B&C has received $3.7 million from the commission since 1986. Officials said yesterday that figures for earlier years would not be released until reviewed by agency attorneys.
B&C also has done work for the county's Office of Central Services, winning about 12 contracts over a five-year period for a total of $486,376.
Law enforcement sources gave the following account of the alleged kickback scheme:
In early August 1988, Hugh Robey allegedly arranged for the commission to pay Dailey's company $29,232. Dailey supposedly was to provide workers to build a greenhouse at Randall's Farm, the commission's horticulture center and maintenance yard in Upper Marlboro.
Simons, whose division oversees the facility, allegedly authorized the issuing of a check to Dailey.
But Dailey's company did not build the greenhouse, sources said. Instead he allegedly funneled most of the money back to Robey and Simons after taking a $4,232 "commission" for himself.
Sources said Dailey deposited the $29,232 check in his company's bank account, then wrote a $25,000 check to G&M Hi-Tech Metal Specialty, a welding company owned by Michael Robey. The $25,000 allegedly was divided among the two Robeys and Simons.
Robey allegedly solicited a $30,000 bribe from Coleman, the asphalt contractor, in late September 1988. The cover-up allegedly involved a series of transactions designed to leave a confusing paper trail.
Sources said an acquaintance of Coleman's gave Coleman a $30,000 check, with the payee's line blank. Coleman then allegedly handed the check to Hugh Robey, who allegedly gave it to Dailey.
Dailey allegedly filled in his company's name as payee and deposited the check. He then allegedly gave a $29,232 check to the commission, with a note explaining that his company had mistakenly been paid for work it had not performed.