Above is a STATter911.com post from September 14, 2008 about a weekend FBI raid at the office of Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department Lt. Col. Karl Granzow Jr (see my September 13 story for WUSA-TV at the bottom of this post). While it didn’t receive wide news coverage at the time, it was clear to those who knew Granzow that this event and simultaneous raids at the home and office of developer Patrick Ricker had strong connections to the corruption investigation of County Executive Jack Johnson.
Today Granzow was sentenced to 18-months in prison for his role in a chapter in Prince George’s County history that many would like to forget. Granzow retired from PGFD in April of 2009.
Karl Granzow Jr. started out as a volunteer firefighter and became a career firefighter where he rose through the ranks. In his final post he ran the department’s management services command, which included fiscal affairs, fleet management, human resources, information technologies and occupational safety and health. In this role Granzow was involved in the planning and building of new fire stations for Prince George’s County.
It should be noted that at one time the Greenbelt Station project mentioned below was to include a new fire station.
Here’s something else we reported in 2008:
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.
Granzow’s late father Karl Granzow Sr. also was a top PGFD official who I had the pleasure of working with in the 1970s.
The sentencing for Pat Ricker is scheduled for Friday.
A former Prince George’s County fire official who pleaded guilty to extortion and tax evasion was sentenced to 18 months in prison Wednesday.
Prosecutors say 47-year-old Karl Granzow was part of the same corruption scheme that led to the arrest of former county executive Jack Johnson.
Granzow admitted to partnering with county developers to bribe public officials for development favors related to the Greenbelt Station development project.
U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messite also ordered Granzow, 47, to pay $10,000 and forfeit his financial interest in Greenbelt Metropark. After serving his jail time, he will spend three years under supervised release.
He and other co-conspirators, including developers Daniel I. Colton and Patrick Ricker, had ownership interests in Greenbelt Metropark, which worked to develop and build a mixed-use project near Greenbelt Metro—called Greenbelt Station—according to court documents.
Granzow, Ricker and others offered items to public officials—including airline tickets, rounds of golf and in-kind campaign contributions— for approval letters and votes favoring planned development for Greenbelt Station, according to the plea.
County residents, Messitte said, “are outraged at the extent and depth of corruption in this case.”
The defense team called the government’s assertion that Granzow was part of a “corruption scheme” involving the former county executive “misleading and inaccurate.” The conspiracy involving the Greenbelt project, Granzow’s attorneys said, was unrelated.
Granzow, who rose through the ranks of the fire department from a volunteer firefighter to the position his father once held, cooperated extensively with the government in its investigation since 2006, according to court documents. He initially contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2004, his lawyers say, to raise issues of public corruption.
Letters submitted to Messitte on Granzow’s behalf before the sentencing spoke to his family’s long history in Prince George’s. Among the 39 people who wrote in support of Granzow are Del. Ben Barnes (D-Prince George’s), former Prince George’s Sheriff James V. Aluisi and one of Granzow’s high school teachers and coaches.
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