CROOKED ST. MARY’S PART III: Fritz’s Great Ocean City Adventure in Luxury Suite at $425 per Night; Thousands of Tax Dollars Spent for Canceled Conferences
UPDATE: Can States Attorney, his assistants, and staff afford to pay back the taxpayers for this fraud? Salaries of the St. Mary’s States Attorney’s Office for Fiscal Year 2019-2020:
|Employee Name||Annual Salary|
|BAKER, ALLISON S||45136.00|
|BELL, WENDY M||46,862.40|
|BOYD, JOSEPH D||85,688.40|
|BROWN, CYNTHIA L||44,012.80|
|CASPAR, LAURA A||102,010.00|
|CONLON, CATHERINE A||78,728.00|
|CURRIE, MARGARET C||66,976.00|
|CUSICK, ANDREW J||82,867.20|
|CUTCHEMBER, TERRY D||70,387.20|
|DAVIS, JEANETTE G||47,424.00|
|FIORAVANTI, GINA M||85,688.40|
|FRITZ, RICHARD D||169443.00|
|GIDDENS, BUFFY N||116,291.40|
|HILL, KEVIN R||102,010.00|
|HOLMES, KRISTEN L||44,012.80|
|HOLT, TRACY R||42,432.00|
|IKPEAMA, IKENNA P||61,609.60|
|ISLAND, AMIE K||48,588.80|
|JONES, BRYAN J||83,648.20|
|KANE, MICHAEL P||106,090.40|
|KOENIG, AMANDA E||77,916.80|
|LAQUAY, TAWNY A||44,012.80|
|MARTIN, KERI L||43,472.00|
|NEWTON, MARY G||45,136.00|
|PLEISSE, JOHN E||102,010.00|
|PROCTOR, SARAH F||106,090.40|
|RIGELSKY, ROBYN K||48,588.80|
|RIVERA, BARBARA G||76,939.20|
|ROBEY, CHRISTINA L||45,136.00|
|RUEST, SARAH M||57,761.60|
|SKAFIDAS, JANICE K||51,001.60|
|SMITH, BARBARA A||46,384.00|
|SMITH, KATHERINE A||35,859.20|
|SODERBERG, AIMEE S||52,332.80|
|SOFFOS, PAMELA F||70,387.20|
|STALLARD, JAMIE C||45,136.00|
|STANALONIS, JOSEPH M||124,000.00|
|STERLING, JAYMI K||114,251.20|
|WEINER, THEODORE P||148,934.60|
|WHITE, DANIEL J||150,974.80|
|WHITE, JULIE M||113,120.00|
|WILLENBORG, ALLISON N||45,136.00|
|WOMACK, DENA E||58,572.80|
By Ken Rossignol
THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY
News & Commentary
CROOKED ST. MARY’S PART I: Fritz Demoted Prosecutor Who Uncovered Financial Scandal; Now Deputy States Attorney Jaymi Sterling Tells Him To Take His Job And Shove It.
CROOKED ST. MARY’S PART II: Was Project Graduation Money For Fritz’s Designated Female Staffer?
OCEAN CITY, MD. – It was beach week for St. Mary’s States Attorney Richard Fritz in June of 2020, where for eight days of frolic, fun, golf, crab feasts, and bar hopping with select members of his staff – all at the taxpayer’s expense – more than $11,567 was spent. Clarion resort Fontainebleau Hotel & Conference Center was the setting for the Maryland Bar Association and Maryland States Attorney’s Conference events scheduled for June 10 thru 17, 2020. But the kicker was that both conferences were canceled, and Fritz and his beach boys and bunnies went to their beach blast anyway – all on the public’s dime – make those dollars, thousands of dollars.
The taxpayers are hit each year for various public employees of various agencies going to the Maryland Association of Counties Conferences held at Ocean City and the officials all live it up while, when asked, rarely, by any journalists, to justify the events, say important information is shared at the events.
The real problem for the taxpayers is that the event that Fritz and his jolly crew of beach-bound prosecutors, investigators, and his female staffer bilked the public for, was canceled. But heck, this is all about sticking it to the taxpayer.
According to the Daily Record, on April 22, 2020: “The Maryland State’s Attorneys’ Association announced Wednesday that it has canceled its summer conference.”
Accompanying the incumbent Republican States Attorney was Dena Womack, a female staffer in his office who has risen quickly in less than four years to the role of “Office Manager”; Retired St. Mary’s Sheriff Deputy and significant double-dipper Andrew Cusick, his chief investigator; Phil Joseph, retired St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Department narcotics investigator and Fritz’s newest investigator, and Michael Kane, John Pleisse and Sarah Proctor, all assistant states attorneys who work for Fritz.
Both Fritz and Womack weren’t about to be tardy for the beach week hobnobbing with other Maryland States Attorneys at the event made famous and newsworthy in 2017 when Cecil County States Attorney Edward Rollins was arrested for public indecency and later convicted forcing him to resign his office as he went to jail for ninety days for performing sex acts in full view of other hotel guests during the daytime on his hotel balcony, acts that were photographed by guests from another building, who then called police.
According to records of expenses provided in response to a Maryland Public Information Act request by THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY, Fritz and Womack got to the beach resort several days before the other favored and handpicked staffers of the States Attorney’s Office – even though the event was canceled due to the COVID Wuhan Virus Pandemic. They supposedly were there for the Maryland Bar Association Convention, which was also canceled.
THE FRITZ SUITE AT THE BEACH FOR CANCELLED CONVENTION AS COVID SWEEPS THE NATION
Spending the most for the combined canceled conferences was Fritz, whose eight-day stay in a beachfront suite cost the taxpayers $3402. Fully Furnished Oceanfront Suite, which is described on the hotel website with the following amenities:
- Large Oceanfront Balcony
- Linens and Towels Provided (No Maid Service)
- Reserved Parking
- Free Wireless Internet
- Fully-equipped Kitchen
- Full size Washer and Dryer
- Cable/HBO/DVD Player
- Telephone service with voicemail
- In-room safe
- Indoor pool/whirlpool (year-round)
- Full use of facilities at Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel
- NO PETS PERMITTED
For the same eight days and nights cost the public treasury $1,902.60 for Womack, who also had a room booked for her for June 9 thru 17, 2020.
HOTEL CANCELATION POLICY
THE FOLLOWING BEACH BLAST ATTENDEES WERE AT THE CLARION FOR THE
CANCELED CONFERENCES ON JUNE 9-17
The total for Fritz for his suite, meals, and travel was $4,171.71.
The total for Womack was $2,672.30.
THE FOLLOWING STATES ATTORNEYS STAFFERS WERE AT THE BEACH BLAST FOR THE
CANCELED CONFERENCES ON JUNE 10-17:
The total for Cusick was $769.70.
The total for Joseph was $596.00.
THE FOLLOWING STATES ATTORNEY PROSECUTORS WERE AT THE BEACH BLAST FOR THE CANCELED CONFERENCE ON JUNE 14-17
The total for Kane was $1,129.55.
The total for Pleisse was $1,129.55.
The Total for Proctor was $1,129.55.
Should any of the above public officials attempt to claim that they didn’t go to the event as it was canceled and the rooms were paid for in advance and the Pandemic wasn’t their fault, they might like to explain who consumed the meals at the event that were paid for by the taxpayers or why payments were made for the event more than a month after it was canceled.
MEAL EXPENSES FOR THE BEACH BUNNIES AND BOYS OF THE ST. MARY’S STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE FOR THE
TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR THE BEACH BUNNIES AND BOYS OF THE ST. MARY’S STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE FOR THE
JOSEPH Either Joseph rode with Cusick or used his county vehicle.
ACCOMMODATIONS COSTS FOR THE BEACH BUNNIES AND BOYS OF THE ST. MARY’S STATES ATTORNEYS OFFICE FOR THE
KANE $689.85 (three nights at $229.00 each night)
PLEISSE $689.85 (three nights at $229.00 each night)
PROCTOR $689.85 (three nights at $229.00 each night)
The lack of a cost for rooms for Cusick and Joseph could be explained that they used one of the rooms which already being provided but was unused, that they slept in their car or used sleeping bags on the beach. A footnote on one invoice stated that Cusick was to stay in the Fritz Suite.
THE FOLLOWING CHECKS WERE PAID TO THE BEACH BUNNIES AND BOYS OF THE ST. MARY’S STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE FOR THE CANCELED CONFERENCE:
INVESTIGATOR PHIL JOSEPH: Paid on May 29, 2020 – for travel and meals $565.00
OFFICER MANAGER DENA WOMACK: Paid on May 29, 2020 – for travel and meals $565.00
ASST. STATES ATTORNEY SARAH PROCTOR: Paid on May 29, 2020 – for travel and meals $1,129.55
Proctor serves as the Chief of the Special Victims Unit. She joined the office in 2020. Proctor has extensive experience with criminal prosecutions including murder, sexual abuse, physical abuse and domestic violence cases.
ASST. STATES ATTORNEY JOHN PLEISSE: Paid on May 29, 2020 – for travel and meals $439.70
Pleisse is a 1970 graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law. After many years in private practice, he joined the office in 2011. He currently serves as the juvenile prosecutor. As such, he prosecutes felony, misdemeanor, and traffic cases involving offenders under the age of 18. He also handles Circuit Court violations of probation. Pleisse routinely prosecutes defendants for crimes including theft.
ASST. STATES ATTORNEY MICHAEL KANE: Paid on May 29, 2020 – for travel and meals $439.70
Kane graduated from the University of Baltimore School Law in 1985. Prior to joining the office in 2006, he served the community as an assistant public defender. He currently serves as a district court prosecutor and handles prosecutions of all district court traffic and criminal matters. Kane routinely prosecutes defendants for crimes including theft.
ST. MARY’S STATES ATTORNEY RICHARD FRITZ: Paid on May 29, 2020 – for travel and meals $769.70
CHIEF INVESTIGATOR ANDREW CUSICK: Paid on May 29, 2020 – for travel and expenses $769.70 (a notation on the reimbursement documents for Cusick states that he is sharing accommodations with Richard Fritz)
Good Ole Boy System Survives Under Fritz
This is a typical ‘screw the taxpayers of St. Mary’s County’ simply because they allow us to continue to do it to them.
20 years into the new century St. Mary’s County is still locked in the “GOOD OLE BOY” way of operating which will never be broken until the citizens and taxpayers smarten up and pay attention.
The only person reporting on all the crooked things going on has always been Ken Rossignol first via St Mary’s Today and now through his “Chesapeake Today” newspapers. Even the US Supreme Court slapped down a former Sheriff and this sitting States Attorney for their unconstitutional and illegal acts of attempting to keep the news media from the public on election morning, which they effectively did do at the time.
SAD as there are a lot of really, really nice and upright people who live in St Mary’s County, just no movement to clean out the nest of snakes that run the county!
David B. Wright