Prince George’s bribery conspirator sentenced
The first of the three conspirators involved in bribing public officials to gain their support for a Greenbelt mixed-use project has been sentenced.
Karl Granzow, 47, a retired Prince George's County Fire Department official, was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court to 18 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for conspiring to commit extortion and cause false statements to be filed with the Federal Election Commission, plus income tax evasion, according to federal prosecutors.
Granzow of Upper Marlboro along with developers Daniel I. Colton and Patrick Rider, provided gifts, money and in-kind campaign contributions to state and local government officials from 1997 through Sept. 11, 2008, in exchange for approval letters for a detailed site plan regarding the Greenbelt Station project near the Greenbelt Metro station, according to Granzow’s guilty plea last year.
Gifts included money, meals, drinks, hotel rooms, airline tickets, rounds of golf, employment and mortgage payments. In return, the officials provided the co-conspirators with non-public county information and voting in favor of legislation favorable to their development projects such as the Greenbelt Station special taxing district, according to the plea.
The value of the scheme attributable to Granzow is from $30,000 to $70,000. Granzow also failed to report $225,974 in taxable income for 2004, resulting in a tax loss of $74,191. He earned a salary of more than $156,000 when he retired from management services command with the fire department, according to court documents.
Colton, 62, of Annapolis pleaded guilty to conspiracy and faces up to 10 years. Rider, 52, of Bowie pleaded guilty to conspiracy and faces up to 15 years.
Gambling contributions surpass $34 million
The total that has been poured into campaigns on the gambling ballot issue in the November election reached $34.3 million Thursday. Voters will decide whether the state will add a sixth gambling license for Prince George's County and allow table games at all slots parlors.
Penn National Gaming of Wyomissing, Pa., continues to top the donor list with a total $18.1 million. Penn — which owns Hollywood Casino Perryville, Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington and Hollywood Casino at Charles Town (W.Va.) Races — opposes the measure.
To date, MGM Resorts International of Las Vegas has given more than $11.5 million to For Maryland Jobs and Schools, the committee backing the referendum. MGM wants to build an $800 million casino at National Harbor in Oxon Hill. CBAC Gaming, the group backed by Caesars Entertainment of Las Vegas that has won a license to operate a Harrah's slots parlor in Baltimore, has given $3.4 million to the pro-casino campaign. The Peterson Cos., the Fairfax, Va. owner of National Harbor, has chipped in $1.3 million.
Marriott managing Gaylord properties
Bethesda hotel giant Marriott International is now running a saloon.
On Monday, Marriott’s $210 million deal with Ryman Hospitality Properties of Nashville, Tenn., formerly Gaylord Entertainment, kicked in, under which Marriott now owns the Gaylord brand and is managing its four hotels, including the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor in Oxon Hill.
Marriott also is now managing three other properties in Nashville: the General Jackson Showboat, Gaylord Springs Golf Links and Wildhorse Saloon, according to a Marriott statement.
On Dec. 1, Marriott will take over management of the Radisson Hotel Opryland, which will be renamed the Inn at Opryland, a Gaylord Hotel. All told, the deal adds five hotels and about 8,100 rooms to Marriott’s management portfolio.
The other hotels are the Gaylord Texan on Lake Grapevine near Dallas; the Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, Fla.; and the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville.
Investors seek to block Coventry-Aetna deal
Pension-fund investors with Bethesda medical insurance company Coventry Health Care have filed a lawsuit in Delaware Chancery Court seeking a court order to block the company’s $5.7 billion cash-and-stock sale to health insurance giant Aetna of Hartford, Conn.
The deal would shortchange investors while unfairly compensating top executives such as Coventry CEO Allen Wise, according to the lawsuit filed by attorneys for two pension funds in Michigan and another in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Investors would get only a 20 percent premium, less than what shareholders of other insurers involved in similar deals get, they claim.
Spokesmen for Coventry and Aetna could not be reached for comment.
The deal is worth $7.3 billion, including debt, and is planned to close by mid-2013. Coventry ranked 219th — and fourth in Maryland — on this year’s Fortune 500 list, with revenues of $12.2 billion.
State receives SBA grant
The Department of Business and Economic Development has won a $656,181 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration that will be used to support Export MD, a program that provides up to $10,000 and 40 hours of assistance to representatives with small and mid-sized businesses to attend overseas trade shows.
A total of $30 million in grants is being awarded nationally by the federal agency through a program formed last year as part of the Small Business Jobs Act.
More than 100 attend global trade forum
More than 100 representatives from local businesses attended a forum on global trade Tuesday at the Montgomery County campus of Johns Hopkins University in Rockville.
The forum was sponsored by the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the university and county, state and federal agencies.
Attendees heard from representatives from the Commerce Department, Asian Development Bank, World Bank and others on topics such as how to access about $50 billion in public and private financing to pursue global trade.
“Accessing global markets is the present and future of developing a successful business,” said Ori Reiss, the chamber’s chairman and CEO of GlobalNet Services in Rockville.
A second trade forum on doing business in Brazil is slated for February at Johns Hopkins.