Posted at: 11/07/2013 11:02 AM
Updated at: 11/07/2013 7:17 PM
By: Berkeley Brean
Just one hour after Bob Wiesner, the husband of Maggie Brooks, defended himself against charges connected to a major county corruption investigation, News10NBC received an email from the attorney general's office.
The attorney general says one of his employees has been suspended for alerting the media to the pending arrests of Wiesner and three other men Wednesday afternoon. Wiesner's lawyer said that's against the law. The attorney general says it doesn't violate any laws.
The men are accused of stealing taxpayer money to pay for things such as country club outings and donations to political campaigns. The charges include money laundering, fraud and bid-rigging.
If the allegations are true, how much taxpayer money was stolen? Where did the money go? What is Bob Wiesner's connection to this?
According to the indictment, more than $380,000 taxpayer dollars were stolen. Mostly, the charges say, through inflated invoices. The contracts themselves were worth millions and it was public money that paid for them, $99 million to upgrade the county's copier and phone system and $212 million to upgrade the county's safety and security systems.
Where did the money go? The indictment says the company of Dan Lynch got paid more than $2 million. It says John Maggio got $1.3 million in payments. It says the stolen money was laundered through expensive golf tournaments and country club outings including the Senior PGA Championship at Oak Hill in 2008. The indictment says some money was funneled to charities that some of the defendants had ties to. The indictment says some of the money was donated to political campaigns so that some of the defendants could continue to have "access to government officials in decision making positions."
Late Thursday, Bob Wiesner held a news conference with his attorney. Wiesner read a statement defending himself.
Wiesner said, “In my 30 years of law enforcement I have never treated a defendant as I was treated yesterday. It was a blatant and calculated act by the Attorney General's office to embarrass me, embarrass my wife and prejudice the case.”
Wiesner says he was not involved in the awarding of any contracts, but there is a family connection to a company that was.
James Nobles, Wiesner's attorney, said, “ Mr. Wiesner won't be answering any questions but I'd be happy to answer any that you have.”
News10NBC's Berkeley Brean said, “Ok. Well Bob's son works for a company which is a subcontractor of Navitech, which is involved in this. Is that just a coincidence?”
Nobles said, “It is.”
James Nobles says the case against Bob Wiesner is politically motivated. He wouldn't comment if he thought the same was true for the other defendants. Nobles says the attorney general's office never let Wiesner testify in the grand jury even though it is his right. He's filed a complaint against that and hopes it gets the charges thrown out by mid-December.
The lawyers think the attorney general's office broke the law. You're not supposed to talk about grand juries and certainly not alert the media that sealed indictments are about to be opened. A statement from the attorney general's office says the deputy press secretary who sent the email has been suspended without pay for a month.
To read a copy of Weisner's statement, click here.
To read the sections of the law that the lawyers say the attorney general's office is breaking when they sent an email to the media Tuesday, click here.