Derek Valcourt explains how prosecutors say he was pocketing money for his own personal gain.
Barry Robinson was front and center for WJZ news cameras a few years ago when Baltimore rolled out its new Charm City Circulator bus service. Now the 65-year-old is making headlines for allegedly accepting $90,000 in bribes.
Robinson oversaw the city’s water taxi and Circulator bus programs as the chief of the division of transit and marine services for the city’s Department of Transportation. In that role, federal authorities say he had power to accept payments from companies who would advertise on the Circulator buses.
According to a federal indictment, Robinson allegedly told one advertiser if they paid him $20,000 in cash he would, and later did, keep the money and mark it in the city’s records that the advertiser had fulfilled its debit obligations to the city.
Valcourt: “How did authorities learn about Mr. Robinson’s actions?”
“We’re not commenting on how this information came to the attention of the FBI,” replied Rod Rosenstein, Maryland U.S. Attorney.
Rosenstein says in April of this year, Robinson went on to accept $70,000 in exchange for selling 13 brand new unused city-owned bus shelters that were never installed. Robinson told an FBI source the city didn’t know about the shelters and he would use the money to pad his retirement.
Rosenstein says the case should send a message.
“Even if you think you’re dealing one-on-one with a corrupt official or if you are a government employee and you think you might be able to take a bribe secretly and have nobody find out about it, we want people to know that we do have ways to get at this kind of information,” Rosenstein said.
The city’s inspector general tells WJZ they’re now fully investigating, looking to tighten internal controls and procedures and strengthen the city’s asset management system so something like this never happens again.
If convicted, Robinson faces the possibility of up to 40 years in prison, though the U.S. attorney says a sentence of a few years in a federal penitentiary is much more likely.