Ex-director of closed Frederick disability center remains jailed -- Gazette.Net



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The former head of the Jeanne Bussard Center in Frederick remains in jail for not cooperating with investigators probing the finances and management of the closed disability center, according to her lawyer.

Jeanne Dalaba, 56, who was residing in Florida, has been held in the Frederick County Adult Detention Center since Nov. 13, when she was sentenced to six months in jail for contempt of court by Frederick County Circuit Court Judge G. Edward Dwyer Jr.

She has still not cooperated with investigators, leaving her jailed while serving her sentence, her attorney, Mary Riley, said Friday.

Riley did not comment on whether Dalaba would aid investigators in the future.

Dalaba was found to have fabricated meeting minutes and names of board members, creating additional obstacles in the investigation, Dwyer said when she was charged.

The former center, located at 555 S. Market St., provided training education and work for adults with developmental disabilities from 1965 until closing this year.

Since the closure, other Frederick County organizations have stepped in to fill the gaps in services.

Arc of Frederick County, a nonprofit organization that helps people with developmental disabilities and their families, helped 29 clients immediately after the closing.

Nineteen of those clients have remained with the agency, Aaron Stephens, assistant director for Arc, said previously.

David Gilliss, the attorney for Baltimore-based Invotex Group, which is investigating the center’s finances after the court ordered it to take receivership of the facility earlier this year, said that the company may recommend that the court sell the building.

Several buyers have approached them about purchasing the facility, and clients have found other agencies to replace the assistance they formerly received from the center, Gilliss said.

A sale would not be affected by the investigation of Dalaba, he said.

In addition to her sentence of up to six months, Dalaba also was ordered to produce the computer and portable hard drives that were used to create correspondence between the board members.

She also was ordered to repay $51,000 that she took, as well as the costs required for Invotex to attempt to track down the false leads she had given them and assist in contacting other people associated with the investigation.

Dalaba also might face criminal charges.

Gilliss said previously that he planned to forward her October court testimony to the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office to determine if charges would be filed.

Frederick County State’s Attorney Charlie Smith said Friday that his office was working with the Frederick Police Department and the Invotex Group to determine if Dalaba would face additional charges.

“That is one aspect of it,” Smith said of possible perjury charges. “Our investigation currently is focused whether there were any financial crimes during the times of her running the Bussard Center.”

Smith said he didn’t want to speculate on charges Dalaba could face, but said the investigation focused on possible financial crimes.

“If she stole money or misappropriated it or put it to her own use, there [could be] a series of theft charges,” he said. “But that’s all speculation right now.”

tlaino@gazette.net