A former state pension board member testified Tuesday that money manager Nathan A. Chapman Jr. showered her with jewelry and cash during a three-year love affair and that he expected her support on the board because he had recommended her appointment to then-Gov. Parris N. Glendening.
Debra B. Humphries, who was convicted last year of lying to a grand jury about the cash she received from Chapman, testified under a grant of immunity at Chapman's fraud trial in U.S. District Court here.
Chapman, who managed $140 million in investments for the state pension fund, is accused of investing millions of that money in his own struggling companies, losing $5 million in the process.
"I understood that he expected my support, but he would have expected it with or without the relationship . . . because he was responsible for my appointment," Humphries said.
She and Chapman never discussed his expectation, she said, but she considered it implicit after an aide to Glendening told her Chapman had suggested her appointment -- and Chapman later confirmed that to her.
Glendening's role figured prominently as the government moved toward the conclusion of its case against Chapman, who also is a former president of the state university system's Board of Regents, on charges of wire fraud, mail fraud, securities fraud and other crimes.
Another former board member testified that Glendening urged him in August 2001 to support an increase in the amount of funds Chapman was managing. And a Cabinet-level state budget official who also was a pension board member said she met with Chapman that same year after Glendening's chief of staff, Major Riddick, told her "there was interest in helping him."
Under questioning from defense attorneys, Thelma Eloise Foster, the former secretary of the Department of Budget and Management, said she never discussed the matter directly with Glendening and did not consider her attempt to help Chapman improper. The pension board was far short of requirements for minority participation under state law, she said, and arranging to increase Chapman's allocation was merely "good public policy."
Neither the former governor nor Riddick responded to phone calls requesting comment on the testimony.
Chapman, a married man, did not appear to look at Humphries as she testified for nearly an hour at the end of the day, saying their affair began in 1996 and continued until 1999. She said he gave her more than $46,000 toward the end of the relationship, when she was unemployed. Now, according to Chapman's attorneys, she faces up to a year in prison.
She testified that she was surprised to learn, after her appointment to the pension board in 1997, that Chapman was among those responsible for managing the fund.
"At the time, I was, I guess, a little conflicted," she said, adding later that she discussed it with Chapman and "he didn't seem to think it was a problem."
Humphries did not recuse herself from matters related to Chapman. She did not disclose the relationship to other board members or mention the gifts and cash on her financial disclosure forms.
Former board member George Bruce Harrison, a retired pilot with the Maryland State Police, said Glendening lobbied him on Chapman's behalf.
He said Glendening spoke of his strong advocacy for increasing the amount of state business with minority-owned firms and then told him other board members would soon recommend an increase to Chapman's allocation.
In her testimony, Foster, now an assistant dean at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said Riddick contacted her in spring 2001. "He indicated that Mr. Chapman was interested in getting additional money from the pension system and there was interest in helping him," she said.
Under questioning from defense attorney William R. "Billy" Martin, Foster said FBI agents who interviewed her "asked a lot of questions about Major, asked a lot of questions about the governor."