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Former Fire Official Sentenced In Greenbelt Station Extortion Scheme

A former Prince George's fire official was sentenced Wednesday for bribing public officials in exchange for favors involving Greenbelt Station.

Former Prince George’s County Fire Department official Karl Granzow was sentenced Wednesday in federal court to 18 months in jail for conspiracy to commit extortion and other charges related to Greenbelt Station development, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland.

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 prison sentence, he will spend three years under supervised release.

Granzow, of Upper Marlboro, was one of the developers involved in a massive corruption scheme involving former County Executive Jack Johnson, The Washington Post reported. The scheme eventually brought down Jack Johnson, landing him in prison.

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.

Officials concealed the items the developers gave them. Granzow and co-conspirators also concealed the gifts misrepresenting their nature and value, according to federal prosecutors.

Those involved in the scheme also concealed campaign contributions to public officials that violated the law by recruiting "straw donors", including family members, and by using in-kind contributions, such as food, alcohol and the administrative services of their employees, according to officials.

Granzow and co-conspirators gave contributions and property to public officials and to others acting with officials that amounted to between $30,000 and $70,000, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Colton, age 62, of Annapolis, MD, and Raleigh, NC, is not yet scheduled for sentencing. but Ricker, age 53, of Bowie, is scheduled for sentencing Friday at 9:30 a.m.

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