A construction company official admitted yesterday that he lied to the FBI about work the company performed at the home of former Maryland state senator Thomas L. Bromwell, pleading guilty to a felony offense and disclosing that he has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in a criminal case against Bromwell and the company's former president.
The guilty plea from Poole and Kent project manager David M. Jackman is the third to emerge from a probe that centers on a lawmaker who was once a force at the highest levels of state government. Bromwell (D), indicted last week on corruption and fraud charges, was the Senate Finance Committee chairman when he resigned in 2002 to head a state agency, the Injured Workers' Insurance Fund.
Jackman, 49, oversaw the company's work at a home that Bromwell was building in Baltimore County in 2000 and 2001. Jackman admitted in federal court that, contrary to what he previously told the FBI, he did not always intend to bill Bromwell for the services, valued at more than $85,000, and that he did so belatedly -- and partially -- only at the request of the company's then-president, W. David Stoffregen.
Federal prosecutors say Bromwell received Poole and Kent's services free or at a steeply discounted rate and concealed payments of $190,000 in exchange for using his influence to benefit the company and Stoffregen.
After the guilty plea, an attorney representing Bromwell again asserted his client's innocence. "The evidence will clearly show he paid several times based upon invoices submitted to him," Robert B. Schulman said.
Jackman, who expects leniency in exchange for his cooperation, is not accused of benefiting personally, said his attorney, Charles G. Bernstein. The agreement could allow him to avoid prison, Bernstein said. "Dave Jackman's a good guy who was an excellent project manager," he said. "He has one fault, and that is that he is loyal to a fault."
Jackman was fired yesterday, Poole and Kent said. The company, which forced Stoffregen out in March, repeated that it is cooperating with authorities in the investigation. Stoffregen's attorney, Barry Levine, has declined to comment since the indictment was issued.
According to a factual statement accompanying Jackman's plea, Jackman prepared two invoices for the work at Bromwell's residence, one dated October 2001 and the other, November 2002. The timing and amounts of the invoices were directed by Stoffregen, the summary says.
The indictment against Stoffregen, Bromwell and his wife, Mary Pat, says the company deviated from its regular billing practices for the work on the Bromwell residence, charging a portion of the costs to other Poole and Kent projects, including a University of Maryland Medical System hospital. It says the second invoice, accounting for more than half the cost of the work, was prepared belatedly only after Bromwell was interviewed by the FBI.