Why is Republican St. Mary’s Sheriff Tim Cameron covering up for crooked cops? Where’s the loot? St. Mary’s Assistant Sheriff gave $80,000 in evidence to his stepson and a pal and was never charged with a crime

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WHERE’S THE LOOT?

LEONARDTOWN, MD. – In 2002, ST. MARY’S TODAY newspaper broke the story of $80,000 worth of building supplies which had been seized by the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Department from a St. Mary’s County drug dealer in a search and seizure warrant service that disappeared from police property storage.

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Department used a tractor-trailer driven by a deputy who held a valid commercial driver’s license to haul away the material which was stored in a secure area next to the Maryland State Police Barracks in Leonardtown.  The building material was evidence as the drug dealer was charged with stealing the property as part of his alleged criminal enterprises.

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When cocaine dealer Wendell Ford’s drug charges were dropped by St. Mary’s States Attorney Richard Fritz (R.), Ford went to the Sheriff’s Headquarters and met with Sheriff’s Lt. Lyle Long and asked for his property to be released to him. Long, a longtime narcotics detective and a supervisor told him that he wouldn’t get his property. Ford then went to attorney Shane Mattingly and filed in St. Mary’s District Court for an order to force the Sheriff’s Office to return the building supplies which were seized in the raid on his home and garage.

Cameron still covering up Loot Scandal

Cameron still covering up Loot Scandal

District Court Judge John Slade granted the order and Ford once again, armed with the court order, requested his property.  Ford came away empty-handed.

Ford wanted to handle the restoration of his property quietly and was seeking a settlement when ST. MARY’S TODAY published the news of the missing property which the St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Office had taken from him.

The newspaper reported that seized windows that still had stickers on them proclaiming to be the property of the Sheriff’s Office were observed at the property of deputies employed by the agency, then headed by St. Mary’s Sheriff Richard Voorhaar (R.).  Voorhaar’s second in command, Assistant Sheriff Steven Doolan, held the rank of Captain.

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The Maryland State Prosecutor launched an investigation.

As the State Prosecutor began to uncover evidence and track down the missing loot, ST. MARY’S TODAY’S bold headlines on “Where’s the Loot” caught a lot of attention with the Washington Post joining in covering the crime perpetrated by cops who were supposed to be fighting crime.

Soon, some of the loot “reappeared” back at the property storage area. Sources for ST. MARY’S TODAY reported that at least one deck had been disassembled with the material removed from a deputy’s home and returned to the “property held” from where it had been stolen by the law enforcement officer.

doolan-stealing-loot-6-1-2003As the investigation continued, St. Mary’s Sheriff Richard Voorhaar, who had been expected to run for a third term, suddenly announced he was going to retire to West Virginia.  Sheriff Voorhaar also announced that he had demoted Captain Doolan to the rank of Lieutenant, relieved him of his duties as Assistant Sheriff and assigned him to answer phone calls from the public.

The State Prosecutor’s investigators continued to track THE LOOT.

Ironically, Republican five-term incumbent (who entered a guilty plea to carnal knowledge  of a minor child, along with two other young men in 1965), St. Mary’s County States Attorney Richard Fritz had been the private attorney for drug dealer, Wendell Ford, before becoming the elected prosecutor.  In his successful election campaign, the wife of the now demoted Capt. Doolan, Nuffie Doolan, was Fritz’s campaign treasurer.  She also worked for the defense contractor, Eagan McAlister, who the Sheriff investigators claimed was the victim of the stolen property, allegedly taken by Ford.  

Fritz, Voorhaar, and Doolan were also defendants in a Civil Rights action brought by ST. MARY’S TODAY in response to the three leading a raid on newsstands on the night before the General Election in 1998 in which they seized all available copies of that day’s edition of the newspaper for the purpose of preventing voters from reading critical articles before voting. The newspaper prevailed and won a landmark First Amendment decision in 2003. (Rossignol v. Voorhaar)toon-a-122103

Statement from Maryland State Prosecutor’s Report on Missing Evidence from St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Department:

         St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office – Missing Property

“In July 2002 the Sheriff of St. Mary’s County requested that our office conduct an investigation of missing construction material valued in excess of $20,000 seized in a theft investigation in 1999.  The materials were seized pursuant to search warrants and the Sheriff suspected that some of his deputies were involved in the theft of the seized materials.  An extensive investigation revealed that the property was released without authorization by a ranking officer of the Sheriff’s Office to a personal friend and a relative.  We recovered large amounts of the property and reported our findings to the Sheriff.  We also advised the State’s Attorney concerning a prosecution for theft since we have no jurisdiction to prosecute theft unless it is multi-jurisdictional.  The officers involved are awaiting disciplinary action by the newly elected Sheriff.

“There was insufficient evidence produced in the investigation to charge the officer with conspiring with the recipients of the stolen property since the co-conspirators asserted their rights not to testify and the object of the conspiracy had been attained.   An evidentiary rule prevents the State from using hearsay statements of co-conspirators after the object of the conspiracy, in this case, the theft has been completed.  Only statements made by the co-conspirators during and in furtherance of the conspiracy are admissible.”

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Strip-Search-of-Wendell-Ford-by-Deputy-Charles-Earle-toon-by-Billy-Woodward.

In the 2002 General Election, Democrat David Zylak was elected Sheriff over Republican Mickey Bailey. Charges against Doolan filed internally resulted in a police trial board recommending his demotion to the rank of Sergeant and Zylak reportedly threatened to fire Doolan if he didn’t retire. Doolan retired and still collects his retirement pay from the taxpayers.

St. Mary's Sheriff's Capt. Steve Doolan gave seized property from a drug dealer to his family and friends.

St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Capt. Steve Doolan gave seized property from a drug dealer to his family and friends.

State Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli told ST. MARY’S TODAY that he had provided copies of his investigation to both Sheriff Zylak and States Attorney Fritz. Neither Zylak or Fritz ever brought theft or malfeasance charges against Doolan or any other deputies involved in the theft of property that was being held for evidence.

In 2006, Republican Timothy Cameron defeated Zylak in the General Election. Sheriff Cameron promised to release the investigation by the State Prosecutor into the missing evidence to ST. MARY’S TODAY and later made the same promise to THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY.

St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron (R.) has never provided the report so it can be published, begging the question, for whom is Sheriff Cameron protecting?

St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron has never provided the report so it can be published, begging the question, for whom is Sheriff Cameron protecting?

This story appeared in ST. MARYS TODAY at the conclusion of the lawsuit brought by Ford to be compensated for his property stolen by the deputies.

Top St. Mary's Sheriff commander benched for stealing overtime - Sheriff Cameron continues the coverup of Loot Scandal

Top St. Mary’s Sheriff commander benched for stealing overtime – Sheriff Cameron continues the coverup of Loot Scandal

Where’s the Loot?

Loot Payday

St. Mary’s Infamous Loot Suit Resolved with Loot Payola

By Kenneth C. Rossignol

ST. MARY’S TODAY

The Story of THE RAG, available in Kindle, paperback and Audible editions

The Story of THE RAG, available in Kindle, paperback and Audible editions

LEONARDTOWN *June 12, 2005) — What began with a front-page story three years ago in ST. MARY’S TODAY ended on Friday with a signed notice entered in St. Mary’s County Circuit Court that a pending case had been settled, which calls for payment of $15,000 and the return of seized building materials that were the object a civil suit.

In January of 1999, a raid on the home of Wendell Ford netted the St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Department, a tractor trailer load of building materials that they swore in court papers had been stolen by Ford from various construction sites.

The materials were held in secure storage by the Sheriff’s Dept., and a press release claiming that the value of the property was $40,000 was sent to local newspapers.

In October of 2000, St. Mary’s States Attorney Richard Fritz ordered charges against Ford dropped but the Sheriff’s Dept. kept the property seized from Ford’s home.

In March of 2002, after making countless requests for the return of the property, Ford’s attorney, Shane Mattingly of Leonardtown, filed a request of District Court Judge John Slade to order the property returned to his client by the Sheriff’s Dept.

In June of 2002, ST. MARY’S TODAY learned that the loot had been taken from the Sheriff’s Department secure storage and the deputies couldn’t fork over the loot because it simply wasn’t there any longer.

Judge Slade granted the request and ordered the building materials, which have become known around the State of Maryland as simply, The Loot, returned to Ford, but still the Sheriff’s Dept. refused to comply.

In June of 2002, ST. MARY’S TODAY learned that the loot had been taken from the Sheriff’s Department secure storage and the deputies couldn’t fork over the loot because it simply wasn’t there any longer. 

Worse yet, the loot was not only gone, but some of it had been installed in the homes of deputies, and this news was printed. 

The Maryland State Prosecutor called ST. MARY’S TODAY and requested that copies of the news story be faxed to him, and within a week he opened an investigation.

As news of the missing loot began to spread, even St. Mary’s Sheriff Richard Voorhaar learned of the loot story and ordered his own probe.  His investigator was “stonewalled” to use the Sheriff’s own words and he, in turn, wrote to the State Prosecutor to ask that he open an investigation.

Voorhaar then sidelined his own Assistant Sheriff, Capt. Steven Doolan, and put him on administrative leave, busted him in rank from captain to lieutenant and took away the title of “Assistant Sheriff.”

Voorhaar then sidelined his own Assistant Sheriff, Capt. Steven Doolan, and put him on administrative leave, busted him in rank from captain to lieutenant and took away the title of “Assistant Sheriff.”

wheres-the-loot-commissionersWhile Doolan sat on the sidelines, his wife remained as the election campaign treasurer for States Attorney Richard Fritz.

Fritz, who would have been responsible for prosecuting anyone involved in removing a large amount of property from the Sheriff’s property storage lockup, instead made statements that the missing loot was simply a misunderstanding.

St. Mary's Sheriff Richard Voorhaar

St. Mary’s Sheriff Richard Voorhaar

The State Prosecutor began an investigation which lasted a year and resulted in a written report which he turned over to Fritz and the newly elected St. Mary’s County Sheriff David Zylak for their action. 

State Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli reported in his annual report that his investigators had recovered a large amount of property which had been taken from the Sheriff’s storage, the same property which the Judge had ordered returned to Ford.

A civil suit seeking damages and compensation for the property began to get underway and the preliminary proceedings revealed that Doolan had authorized the release of the property to his best friend, an employee of local defense contractor Eagan McAlister, and to Doolan’s own stepson.  

front-page-of-st-marys-todaySome of the property was recovered from them, and other property which Doolan had allowed them to have was sold for cash and the cash kept by them.

A new investigation was ordered by Zylak and charges against Doolan were made on a departmental basis, but not criminal.  Still, Fritz did not bring charges for grand larceny against the husband of his campaign treasurer.

After two years had passed since the property was missing, Doolan, still drawing a salary of about $85,000 annually for simply sitting around the headquarters answering phones, a posting which Zylak had assigned him, had told others that he wouldn’t go down alone.

Zylak’s departmental charges were finally heard by a trial board which recommended a 30 day suspension and that he be busted in rank to sergeant.  Still Zylak didn’t fire Doolan and Doolan suddenly retired, perhaps because Zylak was beginning to feel enough heat in the community that he was considering termination of Doolan. 

St. Mary's Sheriff David Zylak failed to release the State Prosecutors report on the theft of evidence by Capt. Steven Doolan.

St. Mary’s Sheriff David Zylak failed to release the State Prosecutors report on the theft of evidence by Capt. Steven Doolan.

ST. MARY’S TODAY continues to stand by our first report that property marked as evidence and seized property held by St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Dept. was seen at a deputy’s residence other than that of Doolan.

Charges of theft which had been dropped by Fritz against Ford in 2000 were suddenly refilled last year by a lawyer who is a close friend of Fritz and was appointed by the court as a special prosecutor. 

That lawyer was paid as much as $25,000 by the taxpayers to prosecute Ford once again, to provide political cover for Fritz.

A trial held in circuit court resulted in a not guilty verdict as Judge ruled that the state didn’t prove its case.

With a not guilty verdict on the second time he was charged, the county was hard-pressed to not settle the civil case which was pending for trial this week.

Ford accepted the county’s offer to settle on Friday.

With the $15,000 paid to Ford, the approximately $25,000 paid to attorney Robert Moreland to prosecute Ford for the same charges Fritz had dropped five years earlier, with the salaries paid to deputies to; investigate Doolan; investigate Ford; to investigate what happened to the loot, all of which could come to another $50,000 to $100,000, the toll for this misadventure keeps adding up.  The enormous legal fees paid to Baltimore lawyers for the county and Sheriff Zylak add even more to the bill that gets handed to the taxpayers.

 It is impossible to determine how much time of deputies to the case was allocated as Sheriff Zylak responded to a public information request for such a determination by saying that his department doesn’t track time spent by deputies, yet he always says he needs more deputies at budget time.

One deputy involved in the case admitted during preliminary stages of the civil case, while under oath, to falsifying official records of how the loot was distributed but that deputy was never fired.

Therefore, the legacy of the loot case is that no deputy has ever gone to jail or even been arrested for being involved with the theft of a tractor-trailer load of property from the secure police storage. 

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Even though a Maryland Judge issued a court order, it was never complied with, and the Judge failed to hold anyone in contempt for failing to obey his order.

Doolan’s pal and his stepson never had to pay any money back to the county for the property that they sold for cash and deputies who wound up with the stolen property at their homes still have it, minus the loot that the State Prosecutor’s investigators were able to recover.

Wendell Ford was sentenced to eight years in a federal prison on cocaine distribution conviction.. He is now out of prison. Doolan never was charged with a crime.

Wendell Ford was sentenced to eight years in a federal prison on cocaine distribution conviction. He is now out of prison. Doolan never was charged with a crime.

Mattingly and Michael Suessmann, who represented Ford in the civil case, said that the settlement of the case speaks for itself and is in the best interest of their client.  While Mattingly was careful to not make any piercing comments about the facts in the case, he did say, “There was nothing usual in this case or anything that I have ever seen happen in twenty years of practicing law in this county.”

While all of the recovered loot will now be turned over to Ford, it is being held in a storage trailer behind the State Police Barracks, perhaps to protect it from deputies.

In addition, a large amount of loot will forever be upholding the homes of law officers who are paid to uphold the law.

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