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Fire department connection again surfaces in growing Prince George's County corruption case. Liquor store on seizure list partially owned by former deputy fire chief Karl Granzow Jr.


The story above is about the search warrants the FBI served in Prince George’s County on September 13, 2008. Government offices and the homes of some politically connected residents were searched. So far only one name from that story has officially surfaced in the most recent raids by the FBI on Friday and Monday. The Washington Post reports the FBI wants to seize a liquor store partially owned by former PGFD Lt. Colonel Karl Granzow Jr. Granzow or any of the others mentioned in the 2008 story have not been charged with any crimes in connection with these investigations.

Since the news broke of the arrest of Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson and his wife Leslie on Friday we have been linking to a story that first reported in September of 2008. The story covers an earlier FBI raid on Prince George’s County offices in connection with a probe of deals developers  made with county officials. The office and home of Karl Granzow Jr. were among the places searched by agents on Saturday, September 13.   

Former Lt. Col. Karl Granzow Jr. in a PGFD photo.

Now, after yesterday’s arrests of three Prince George’s County police officers and six others on extortion, cocaine and gun charges, along with the illegal sale of alcohol and cigarettes, Granzow’s name has again surfaced. From Monday evening:

Among the properties that authorities have moved to confiscate, in addition to Tick Tock, are what appear to be several liquor stores in the county, including Shop Rite Liquors in Takoma Park. Public records indicate that Shop Rite is partly owned by Karl Granzow, a former deputy fire chief in Prince George’s.   

Granzow’s home was searched in 2008 in the probe of development deals. At the time, Granzow declined to comment. As for the liquor store, Granzow’s attorney, Timothy Maloney, said Granzow has a 25 percent stake in the business but is not involved in its daily operation. He said he does not think investigators are interested in his client.   

Federal law enforcement officials have told reporters the arrests of the Johnsons and the arrests of the police officers and others are all connected, but aren’t providing details.   

Here is some of what and reported on September 14, 2008 about the search warrant served at PGFD’s headquarters:   

Numerous sources familiar with the actions on Saturday tell STATter 911 the search warrant served at fire department headquarters was specifically for the fourth floor office occupied by Col. Granzow. Granzow’s Bowie home was also entered by a team of agents.Granzow runs the department’s management services command, which includes fiscal affairs, fleet management, human resources, information technologies and occupational safety and health.   


According to the sources, agents also gathered evidence from computers inside the Office of Information Technology in the same building at 9201 Basil Court in Largo. The office operates computer systems for county government.   

Karl Granzow, reached by phone, referred all comments to the public information officer for the department. Chief Spokesman Mark Brady tells STATter 911 he is unable to comment on the developments.   

Sources familiar with the search warrants tell STATter 911 the information being gathered by agents is connected to lobbying, campaign finance and building construction projects. STATter 911 has no information to indicate criminal charges have been filed against any individuals mentioned in this story. Grand jury subpoenas have also been issued in the investigation.   

The Post reports, and other sources confirm, a large development near the Greenbelt Metro station is part of the investigation. The project is called Greenbelt Station and is located on the old A.H. Smith Jr. property, a sand and gravel operation. The land is just inside the Capital Beltway, east of the CSX railroad tracks and north of Greenbelt Road.   

Sources say there had previously been concern within county government about Karl Granzow’s ownership of a small percentage of a firm connected to the development of the property. According to the sources, Granzow had properly disclosed his interest and his involvement was approved by ethics officials in the county.   

One part of the development was to include a new fire station.   

Granzow retired in the Spring of 2009 after 21 years with the department.   

We should point out again that there is no indication that Karl Granzow Jr. or any of the others who were targeted in the 2008 raids have been charged with any crimes in connection with these investigations. 

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