Maryland Governor Marvin Mandel was convicted of political corruption on Aug. 23, 1977, with five men, four of his closest friends and a lawyer who worked for the group. These five -- Irvin Kovens, Harry Rodgers, William A. Rodgers, W. Dale Hess and Ernest N. Cory -- were charged with corrupting Mandel by giving him thousands of dollars of gifts and business interests in exchange for his support for legislation that benefitted the owners of the Marlboro race track in Prince George's County. Federal prosecutors charged that Kovens, Harry Rodgers, William Rodgers and Hess secretly bought and owned the Marlboro track, and made millions of dollars as a result of legislation that determined the number of racing days held there and regulated the track. According to court testimony, Mandel received about $350,000 in clothes, vacations, help with his alimony payments, and interests in business ventures from the group. Cory, prosecutors charged, helped to conceal the ownership of the track .
All his life, Harry W. Rodgers says he has worked "every day, as hard as I can." In 20 years he rose from a minor insurance salesman to a millionaire many times over.
Hours after he learned that his conviction on corruption charges had been overturned, he said "none of this has changed my work at all. It just makes me want to work harder now."
Rodgers, now 51, last May broke away from the Tidewater Insurance Associates that he helped form in the 1950s to form his own new firm, Boone and Rodgers. But he says, "the split had nothing to do with the trial. It was office personalities. I still get along well with my brother, "who is William A. Rodgers, his my brother," who is William A. Rodgers, his in the corruption case along with Marvin Mandel and three others.
Rodgers was accused by prosecutors of making several major gifts to Mandel -- including an interest in Eastern Shore land -- that were part of the corruption scheme, and the reversal of his conviction, he said, "changes my whole outlook."
"If you've been convicted of a crime and you have to live with it, it makes it hard to go on," Rodgers said. "I feel like I'm a full-fledged citizen again."