Consultant to schools charged in theft case Scheme in Balto. Co. hinged on false order


A Pennsylvania roofing consultant has been charged with theft in an alleged scheme to skim $25,000 from a Baltimore County school repair project, county police said yesterday.

William Luther Marcum -- who was managing a $912,000 roof repair at Milford Mill Academy -- is alleged to have approached an employee of the company doing the construction, Alliance Roofing, and proposed a deal to bring Marcum and Alliance additional money, police said.

Alliance planned to return an unspent $25,000 to the school district, police said. But Marcum, a partner at Martech Associates Inc. of Millheim, Pa., proposed that Alliance falsify a change order to show that an inflated number of roof drainage pipes were used, police said.

Under the plan, Marcum would get $5,000; Alliance, $20,000, police said.

Martech was earning $70,000 as design consultant and construction manager on the project.

The Alliance employee told his superiors, who told school officials, police said. The officials notified county prosecutors Wednesday, said Gene L. Neff, school facilities director.

Thursday, police staged a payoff at Reisterstown Elementary

School -- where Marcum's company recently completed a project -- and arrested him. He was released that night on a $10,000 pledge to return to face trial, after a bail hearing in Baltimore County District Court in Towson.

Marcum did not return messages left yesterday.

Neff said yesterday that school officials were shocked by the arrest because they had respected Marcum and had found nothing suspicious about his work.

Martech, which has been contracting with the county schools since July 1995, has worked at Logan, Reisterstown, Villa Cresta and Fullerton elementaries, Johnnycake Middle School and Loch Raven High School, said schools spokesman Donald I. Mohler.

"We're just so thankful that somebody said, 'No, we're not going to stand for this,' and informed the right people," Neff said. "That's the best way to keep this from happening."

Pub Date: 12/21/96

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