Prince George's corruption scandal continues

Federal authorities unsealed a guilty plea of a 46-year-old retired Prince George’s County fire official in connection with a wide-reaching corruption scandal in the county.

Karl Granzow, 46, of Upper Marlboro, pleaded guilty in March 2011 to conspiring to commit extortion and tax evasion.

“Citizens have a right to expect government officials to make decisions based on the public good rather than their personal interests,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein in a prepared statement. “For more than a decade, these defendants conspired to influence Prince George’s County government through a variety of corrupt schemes that had one thing in common: providing undisclosed personal benefits to government officials.”

Granzow was responsible for the Management Services Command at the Prince George’s County fire department. He, along with developers Daniel Colton and Patrick Ricker, had a stake in Greenbelt Metropark.

Colton, 61, of Annapolis and Raleigh, North Carolina, pleaded guilty previously to conspiracy to commit extortion and to making false statements to the Federal Election Commission. Ricker, 52, of Bowie pleaded guilty in 2009 to conspiring to commit honest services fraud and making false statements to the FEC and to tax evasion.

Authorities said the three men offered money, airline tickets, jobs, rounds of golf and other bribes in exchange for favorable treatment toward their businesses.

Granzow, Colton, Ricker and others offered things of value, including money, trip expenses, meals, drinks, hotel rooms, airline tickets, rounds of golf, employment, mortgage payments, and monetary and in-kind campaign contributions to state and local government officials, authorities said.

Graznow is also accused of cheating on his taxes.