Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III, recently announced five nominees for the county’s Board of License Commissioners, commonly known as the liquor board. The board is a “quasi-judicial function” responsible for enforcing and administering state alcohol laws and regulations.
The nominations come just one week after the board’s former director, David Dae Sok Son, pleaded guilty to bribery, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy charges. According to prosecutor reports, Son negotiated bribes in exchange for supporting amendments to state liquor laws. He faces up to 20 years in prison and will be sentenced in January, a release from the state’s U.S. Attorney’s office said.
The nominees Baker tapped are Thomas Graham, a former Pepco executive; ShaRon Grayson Kelsey, an attorney; Eric Bowman, a business owner and former Prince George’s County Police Department captain; Armando “Joe” Camacho, a business owner based in Laurel, Md.; and Ken Miles, a computer operations manager and Brandywine, Md. resident. The Senate must confirm the appointees when the general assembly convenes in January.
Baker said his nominees have the skills and integrity needed to establish trust with county residents. “It is imperative that the residents and businesses of Prince George’s County have faith in the County’s Board of Licenses Commissioners and I have nominated five individuals with incredible experience and integrity to serve on this Board,” Baker said in a statement. “I want to thank Chairman Graham and Commissioners Bowman, Camacho, Grayson Kelsey, and Miles for accepting these nominations, dedicating their time and talents to public service and agreeing to uphold the responsibilities of this commission, which is critical to the economic development and public safety of the County.”
Earlier this year, legislation passed that axed the terms of previous commissioners and gave Baker the power to appoint new board members. Previously, state lawmakers nominated liquor board appointees, who were then confirmed by the governor. According to Baker’s announcement, all commissioners must now have expertise in either law, public safety, regulations and/or management. Baker also considered diversity when selecting appointees and sought to be inclusive of geographic, political, racial, ethnic, and gender differences.
Grayson Kelsey, a Bowie-based attorney and real estate broker, is the only woman appointed to the board. Grayson Kelsey said she will do what is “right and what is fair” in her position and looks forward to providing honest and equitable leadership.
“It is clear that our County Executive, Rushern Baker III, did a fabulous job of putting together a great cross-section of Commissioners with a wide range of experience and knowledge,” Grayson Kelsey told the AFRO. “During the short time that I have been on the Commission, I note that every other Commissioner has displayed an unwavering commitment to integrity and ethical behavior. This will be the cornerstone of rebuilding the trust of our residents. I am honored to be able to serve in this capacity and be part of the rebuilding process.”
In addition to Son, several other past board members became ensnared in an investigative probe that included area business owners and lawmakers. Former commissioner Anuj Sud resigned earlier this year during the investigation and was later indicted on two counts of bribery. The debacle became public earlier this year when the FBI raided the board’s Largo office.
Graham, who has previously served on the commission, said he looks forward to fostering a better relationship with county residents and moving the board in a new direction. “I look forward to working with the Prince George’s County Senate Delegation through the confirmation process and eventually providing a new era of leadership, integrity and transparency between the Board of License Commissioners and the Prince George’s County residents and business community,” Graham said in a statement.