Maryland Sen. Ulysses Currie has been indicted in federal court on charges that he took bribes from grocery chain Shoppers Food and Pharmacy. The 48-page court document claims Shoppers and Currie “knowingly and unlawfully” conspired to “commit certain offenses against the United States.”
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley released a statement saying the situation must now be resolved by the courts. “This is a sad day for the people of Prince George’s County and Senator Currie personally,” O’Malley said. “People have the right to expect the highest ethical service from their public servants.”
Currie, who chairs the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, has been charged with conspiracy, extortion, mail fraud, making false statements and bribery. Also indicted was Bill White, Shoppers former chief executive, and Kevin Small, a former Shopper’s official.
The indictment comes years after an investigation into consulting work the Prince George’s County General Assembly member did for Shoppers and alleges Currie made a list of Shoppers projects he’d created to benefit the chain. The document claims Currie promised to bring the company “many more” benefits in the future, although he did not disclose his relationship with the Lanham-based company in required financial disclosure documents.
The Prince George’s County senator has intervened on behalf of Shoppers during meetings with various state agencies, court documents show. The FBI’s investigation – which became public when the senator’s home was raided in 2008 – focused on the redevelopment of a Baltimore mall where the grocery chain hoped to open a store and the transfer of a liquor license from one Shoppers store to another.
According to court records from that same year, Currie began working for the company in 2003 and received $207,000 over a five-year period.