Miller said last night that he was saddened and disappointed to hear of the indictment. "Senator Bromwell truly did have a very distinguished career in the Maryland General Assembly, both as a member of the House of Delegates and a member of the Senate," Miller said. "I hope that they have an opportunity to clear their names."

Injured Workers Insurance Fund board Chairman Daniel E. McKew said last night that no decision had been made about whether Bromwell will stay in his job while the charges are pending.

The indictment takes a tough stance toward Mary Pat Bromwell, who is charged in 11 counts, including racketeering, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. The charges portray her as playing an active role in corrupt activity. She is accused of posing as chief operating officer of the subcontractor Namco during a June 2003 meeting at which officials of the Maryland Aviation Administration were trying to determine whether the company was still a legitimate female-controlled enterprise.

Geraldine Forti, who had been Namco's chief executive officer, has pleaded guilty to a fraud in which Poole and Kent operated the company as a minority front - giving it an edge in getting government contracts. Her husband, Michael Forti, a former Poole and Kent executive, also pleaded guilty to fraud charges last month.

According to the indictment, Stoffregen paid off Bromwell during the late 1990s and early 2000s in exchange for the senator's influence to assist the chief executive and his company.

In return, the indictment says, Poole and Kent did construction work valued at more than $85,000 at Bromwell's home in Baltimore County. The labor and materials were provided by Stoffregen for free or at a reduced cost.

Mary Pat Bromwell also received $192,000 in payments from January 2001 to May 2003 for what prosecutors contend was a no-show job at the female-owned Namco Services Corp., which qualified as a minority contractor.

According to court documents, Geraldine Forti decided in spring 1999 that she wanted to close Namco. But Stoffregen did not want to lose the ability to use Namco, court papers said. Namco enabled Stoffregen's company to meet female and minority contracting requirements on its governmental projects.

Court documents in the Forti case say Stoffregen proposed to Michael Forti - then a Poole and Kent executive - that Poole and Kent secretly operate and control Namco in exchange for regular payments to Geraldine Forti.

Some of Namco's construction work during that time included a $2.2 million contract for terminal expansion at Baltimore-Washington International Airport and a $650,000 contract at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Namco also did work on the state-run Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center. Poole and Kent was not the low bidder but was selected after legislators and community groups questioned whether a competing company that offered a better price had sufficient minority participation.

The project suffered delays and cost overruns.

In the fall of 2000, court papers state, Stoffregen offered to pay Bromwell about $80,000 annually to remain in his Senate office rather than leave the legislature for a position at the Injured Workers Insurance Fund. Bromwell agreed to remain in the Senate in exchange for the payments, which were disguised as the Namco salary for his wife, according to prosecutors.

The indictment further alleges that Bromwell used his influence to help Poole and Kent win a multimillion dollar bid for the mechanical subcontract on the University of Maryland Medical System's Weinberg Building in downtown Baltimore. The total cost of the project was about $150 million, according to hospital officials.

Bromwell's influence on Poole and Kent's behalf extended to subsequent contract disputes with medical center and the state regarding the juvenile justice center project, according to the indictment.

After cajoling from Bromwell, the company collected millions in disputed cost overruns for construction of the juvenile justice center in Baltimore, according to the indictment.

matthew.dolan@baltsun.com