Ex-Baltimore City transit chief Barry S. Robinson was indicted Thursday for attempting to fund his retirement by selling off the city’s bus shelters.
Robinson, who oversaw the Charm City Circulator, Water Taxi and other city-run public transportation, accepted $90,000 in bribes in 2013 and early 2014, U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein’s office alleges.
The biggest payoff came when Robinson took a $70,000 bribe to sell off some of the city’s bus stop shelters. The city initially bought the shelters from a Canadian company for $250,000. Since the city didn’t keep track of the shelters, Robinson said, he conjured a scheme to make money by selling them. No word yet on how much the shelters were sold for, or the identity of the buyer who was so badly in need of bus stop shelters. But we know how Robinson wanted to use the money: to fund his retirement. Who needs shelter from the weather when the golden golf course is in view?
Robinson is accused of taking another bribe in 2013, this time to the tune of $20,000. In the second instance, Robinson took the money to help a company who advertised on the Charm City Circulator pay off its debt. He initially offered the crooked deal to clear the company of $40,000 in debt. But that wasn’t enough, so he allegedly upped the offer to $60,000, the indictment states. The company, who is not named, agreed to this offer, and issued Robinson four payments of $5,000 each in return for a doctored city letter saying it was debt-free.
“This sort of corruption can occur when dishonest people are trusted to handle valuable government property without oversight,” Rosenstein said in a statement.
Funny you should say that, Rod. The indictment comes as the city is considering a new $1 fare for the Circulator. We would venture a guess that allegations that the city officials running this service are on the take probably won’t make the public more willing to pony up.