Former Del. Cheryl Glenn, who abruptly resigned from office last week, has been charged with bribery and wire fraud, federal prosecutors announced Monday.
The federal criminal information filed in July and unsealed today accuses Glenn of accepting more than $33,000 in bribes to help two companies get into Maryland’s medical cannabis business and introducing a bill to create a new liquor license in her district, the 45th.
According to the filing, Glenn began talking with “Company 1,” a pot dispensary licensed outside of Maryland, in March 2018. During a phone call with one of the company’s associates, she solicited money for an unpaid tax bill on her Baltimore home.
At a lunch meeting with two representatives of the company and “Associate 1,” a local businessperson, she presented an envelope with her outstanding bill of $2,716 and agreed to “use her position as a state legislator to vote for [House Bill 2], which would favor Company 1 in its pursuit of a medical marijuana license,” the filing says.
During the legislative session, Glenn voted in favor of the act and updated “Associate 1” on the bill’s progress.
On, of all days, April 20, 2018, Glenn met with a representative from the company at a restaurant in Baltimore County, where she received $3,000 cash.
“I had to fight like hell,” she said. “You have no idea how I had to fight.”
She detailed how she hung around outside an unnamed state senator’s office so she could join that representative in a meeting to discuss the bill. Glenn made the case that had she not attended, new licenses would have “been given to people already on the list.”
In May, “Associate 1” told Glenn that another businessman was “looking for a license,” the filing says. All three agreed to meet at a restaurant in the city. Prior to the arrival of the license-seeker, an owner of a methadone clinic, Glenn and her associate agreed the associate would act as a go-between for payments.
At the meal, Glenn told the business owner she had previously authored a bill to create a license for a particular company, angering some of the other applicants in the process because this organization did not have lobbyists working in their favor.
The other applicants asked “Who the hell do they know?” she recalled. “I said they know God and Cheryl Glenn.”
Days later, Glenn and her associate spoke on the phone about the businessman’s desire for her help.
“[I]s he going to be makin’ a donation or something?” she asked. “I’ve stopped spending time with people if they’re not um, donating to… you know what I mean.”
That August, Glenn and “Associate 1” met at a city restaurant. “Associate 1” said the potential license applicant would pay $10,000 cash if Glenn could get the law changed to give priority to local businesses for cannabis licenses. They agreed to split the proceeds.
The businessman seeking the license later asked for some kind of proof the legislative change would occur. “Associate 1” suggested Glenn write an email that he would show the man and then quickly delete.
“You’re saying that if… if I put this in an email, he’ll cough up the money?” Glenn asked.
The resultant email was “perfect,” per “Associate 1,” and Glenn received $5,000 cash during a meeting on Aug. 23.
Months later, Glenn expressed to her associate that she needed some help from the methadone clinic owner, suggesting a “personal loan” of $20,000. It turned out the businessman needed their help with a new law. He was planning to turn over the clinic to his daughter so he could focus on cannabis, but state law requires three years of experience to be director of a methadone clinic.
He wanted the law changed so a prospective director would only need two years experience. Glenn asked for a copy of the law and said she would “work on it.” “Associate 1” said this work would net “a quick five [$5,000].”
On Oct. 18, Glenn pre-filed House Bill 35, “Public Health — Opioid Maintenance Therapy Programs — Medical Director Requirements and Qualifications.” Four days later, she received $5,000 cash.
In December, Glenn told “Associate 1” she was having some financial troubles and needed some “Christmas cash.” The associate said the methadone clinic owner was also looking for a liquor license, and suggested she write a bill, similar to one passed in a previous session, to create a license at a specific address. For this, she would receive another $5,000, plus $15,000 when the bill was introduced.
During the session, Glenn introduced the methadone clinic bill on Jan. 9, 2019, and the liquor license bill on Jan. 28, 2019. Prosecutors say she received the $15,000 payment on Feb. 11.
Both those bills were later withdrawn after receiving unfavorable reports from their respective committees, Health and Government Operations and Economic Matters.
If convicted, Glenn, 68, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, prosecutors say.
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