Former Baltimore City transit chief indicted for bribery

The Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office this morning alerted the media to the fact that "a federal grand jury indicted Barry Stephen Robinson, age 65, of Accokeek, Maryland, in connection with an alleged bribery scheme earlier this year while he was Chief of the Division of Transit and Marine Services of the Baltimore City Department of Transportation," the statement reads, adding that "Robinson is charged with two counts of bribery concerning a program that received federal funds, and one count of money laundering. The indictment was returned on October 29, 2014."

The free Baltimore City Circulator and Water Taxi programs have been under Robinson's purview, and part of the alleged scheme involves payments for advertising on Circulator buses.

"In the spring of 2013," the statement says, "Robinson received a check for $40,000 payable to the Baltimore City Director of Finance, in payment for advertising on Circulator buses. Robinson allegedly returned the check and offered that for $20,000 in cash, he would cancel the $40,000 debt to the city and provide written documentation that it had been paid. The debtor declined the offer. In January 2014, Robinson offered to extinguish $60,000 of debt to the City of Baltimore in return for $20,000 in cash. From January 23 to March 11, 2014, Robinson received four cash payments of $5,000 each. In return, Robinson provided a signed letter on Baltimore City letterhead falsely stating that the $60,000 debt had been paid."

“This sort of corruption can occur when dishonest people are trusted to handle valuable government property without oversight,” said U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein in the statement, which also says that the indictment "alleges that Robinson took a $70,000 bribe to sell unused city bus shelters. In 2011, Robinson arranged for Baltimore City to purchase 13 bus shelters from a Canadian company for $249,290. On multiple occasions from May 2013 to March 2014, Robinson said the city did not keep track of the shelters, so he planned to sell them for his personal benefit. Robinson allegedly said that he wanted $70,000 from the sale of the bus shelters in order to help fund his retirement. On April 9, 2014, Robinson accepted a check for $70,000, in return for the city’s bus shelters."

If convicted, Robinson could face up to 20 years in prison for money-laudering and 10 years for each of the two bribery counts.

The indictment is the result of an investigation by the FBI, the Baltimore City Office of Inspector General, and the IRS-Criminal Investigation Division.

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