The struggle for control of the Bank of Glen Burnie shifts today from the community to the courtroom, as a Circuit judge tries to determine who should be in charge.
Ever since stockholders, angered by a $12 million discrimination suit, dumped 11 of the 12 directors at the Bank of Glen Burnie last week, the ousted leaders have refused to relinquish control.
Lawyers for Dr. Prabhakar J. Kharod and his wife, Daksha Prabhakar Kharod, have alleged in U.S. District Court in Baltimore that former bank officials are destroying documents that could help the couple prove that the bank discriminated against them two years ago when it foreclosed on a $1 million construction loan.
The Kharods, who emigrated from India 20 years ago, were building an 11,000-square-foot, "dream home" in a gated, waterfront community just north of Gibson Island. The house was to have had an indoor pool, a music room, a library and a temple.
It remains less than half-completed. Plywood walls and insulation are exposed to the elements, the roof has no shingles, several windows are smashed, door frames are empty and weeds are almost waist high. "The last time I saw it, I thought this thing would have to be half ripped down to come up to any kind of standards," said Anne Arundel County Councilman James E. "Ed" DeGrange, one of the bank's appraisers. Construction stopped when the bank's appraisers found structural problems with the framing, windows and concrete slab. That triggered a chain of events leading to the bank's foreclosure, the doctor filing for bankruptcy protection and last week's stockholder revolt.
Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Robert H. Heller Jr. is expected to rule today on a request by F. William Kuethe Jr., the newly appointed bank president, to have his predecessor removed from the bank's offices in the 100 block of Crain Highway.
No matter what Judge Heller decides, the bank still faces the discrimination suit filed March 3 in federal court. The suit alleges that former bank President Jan W. Clark, two directors and a prominent customer who lives in the Bodkin Point neighborhood conspired to prevent the Kharods from moving into the home they began building in September 1992. The suit also claims that Mr. Clark made racial slurs about the couple during meetings of the bank's executive officers.
The suit says two directors, Henry L. Hein and Carl L. Hein Jr., improperly used their positions on the North Arundel Hospital board to get confidential information about Dr. Kharod's professional standing for the bank. The doctor, who was placed on probation by the state Board of Physician Quality Assurance for shoddy record-keeping in August 1992, stopped practicing at North Arundel in December 1993, a hospital spokesman said.
Court documents filed Tuesday by the Kharods' attorneys alleged that Mr. Clark, other bank officers and employees have been moving loan records from the bank's main offices to the executive offices down the street.
In an affidavit filed with the documents, John E. Pugh, a private investigator hired by the Kharods, said he had overheard bank officials outside the March 9 stockholders meeting conspiring to "get rid" of the Kharods' loan file.
"I believe that Clark, [Henry] Hein, and others are removing and/or destroying certain bank documents relating to the Kharods. . . to protect themselves and their positions at the bank," said Mr. Pugh.
A clerk in the bank's loan department also filed an affidavit alleging that the ousted bank officers last week searched the desks of employees who had voted against them at the stockholders meeting.
The stockholders' feud and the discrimination suit have stunned the Glen Burnie and Bodkin Point communities. Robert Chaisson, president of the Bodkin Pointe civic association, said allegations that one or more of his neighbors may have conspired against the Kharods were untrue. "We're already well integrated," Mr. Chaisson said. "The only thing this neighborhood is frustrated with is the condition that that house is in. It's unsafe, it's unattractive and it's been that way for two years."