Karl Granzow's plea is the latest to be released in the investigation of the pay-to-play schemes that engulfed former County Executive Jack Johnson and his wife, Councilwoman Leslie Johnson.
Granzow, a resident of Upper Marlboro, Md. who was responsible for the Prince George's County fire department's Management Services Command at the time of the briberies, had ownership interests in Greenbelt Metropark, a company trying to design and build a mixed-use project near the Greenbelt Metro Station. Granzow's fellow conspirators, Daniel Colton and Patrick Ricker, also pleaded guilty to the charges against them.
For more than 10 years starting in 1997, Granzow and co-conspirators offered state and local officials money, meals, drinks, trip expenses, campaign contributions, rounds of golf, hotel rooms, employment, mortgage payments and airline tickets in exchange for rulings that would favor their development projects, according to Granzow's guilty plea filed March 30.
In return for the bribes, state and local officials agreed to obtain approval letters for development plans, provide non-public government information, vote for legislation favorable to Greenbelt Metropark, create the Greenbelt Station Special Taxing District and ensure the Metro station was listed as a State Highway Administration priority construction project, among other things.
Granzow and his fellow schemers also evaded legal limits for campaign contributions by using in-kind contributions and "straw donors," family members and employees who donated on their behalf. State and local officials concealed the contributions by failing to report them or misrepresenting their nature or value.
The guilty plea estimated that the value of all the bribes attributable to Granzow was between $30,000 and $70,000.
Granzow also admitted to income tax evasion, failing to report $225,974 of taxable income in 2004, resulting in a failure to pay $74,191 in taxes, officials said.
Granzow faces up to 10 years in prison for the two charges combined. Officials have not yet scheduled sentencing dates for Granzow, Colton and Ricker.
In May, Jack Johnson pleaded guilty to extortion and bribery. Leslie Johnson pleaded guilty in June to destroying evidence when she hid cash bribes in her bra and flushed bribes down the toilet. Tuesday is her last county council meeting before her resignation takes effect.