Comcast: We’re Not Target of Baltimore Probe8/18/2004 5:10 AM Eastern
Comcast Corp. is one of the local companies that have been swept into the investigation by federal authorities into the financial and political dealings of the Baltimore City Council.
Comcast answered the subpoenas about eight months ago, spokesman David Nevins confirmed. The existence of the subpoenas was publicized earlier this week in an article in the Baltimore Sun.
Nevins stressed that Comcast was just one of several companies that received orders from the office of U.S. Attorney Thomas DiBiagio.
“A subpoena doesn’t indicate any wrongdoing. In no way, shape or form are we a target,” he added.
Vickie LeDuc, press officer for the U.S. Attorney’s office, said she could not confirm nor deny any information about an ongoing investigation, including details on which, or how many, companies received subpoenas.
The U.S. attorney has been investigating the 19-member City Council for several months. According to published reports, every member of the council was subpoenaed late last year. Investigators sought documents dating back five years and detailing interaction between individual council members and “certain businesses.”
Testimony before a grand jury by council members is pending.
Comcast provided information to investigators regarding tickets to sporting events that were given to council members, Nevins said.
An ethics policy for city councilmen prevents gifts from companies that do business in the community. Comcast holds the local cable franchise, which it acquired from AT&T Broadband in 2001. The pact is in the informal renewal process.
But the gift ban does allow elected officials to take meals and beverages with constituent companies and to accept tickets to cultural events and sport contests if the invitation is extended to the entire council.
LeDuc said there would be no information released from the Attorney General’s office unless indictments were issued.