Two years after taking the helm of the FBI's Baltimore's office, Kevin L. Perkins has been selected to become the bureau's chief financial officer at its headquarters in Washington, officials announced yesterday.
Perkins, a 20-year FBI veteran and certified public accountant, worked in Kansas City, Atlanta, Philadelphia and the FBI headquarters in Washington in addition to three tours in Baltimore.
"This office has been like a family to me," Perkins said last night. "I have mixed emotions about leaving, but I think this is an important opportunity."
No successor to Perkins was immediately named. Perkins said he would move into his new post as an assistant FBI director for the bureau's finance division within the next 30 days.
Perkins took charge of Baltimore's field office and its about 400 employees in January 2004. He guided his office toward new official FBI priorities, most notably terrorism and counterintelligence, and avoided some of the criticism his predecessor faced from the state's former top federal prosecutor.
He also got along with Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein, who succeeded Thomas M. DiBiagio in July of last year. "We've had an extraordinarily good working relationship with his office," he said.
Last fall, Perkins stood behind the decision by state officials to temporarily close two major tunnels running through Baltimore after a report of a terrorist threat to blow up one of the tubes. The threat was later determined to be unfounded, Perkins said.
"We were concerned at one point that there was a threat to the safety of the citizens," he said.
His office also investigated Nathan A. Chapman Jr., a Baltimore businessman convicted in 2004 of fraud. They scored several victories in dismantling drug gangs. The wide-ranging public corruption indictment against former state Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell also came under his watch.
A year ago, prosecutors closed an FBI investigation into the financial practices of the Baltimore City Council and abandoned the prosecution of a former state official accused of mismanaging state funds.
"I don't look at these investigations in terms of wins and losses," Perkins said. "We don't run into these things blindly and expect to file charges. We try to be the independent gatherer of facts. Prosecutors decide whether to indict, and juries and judges make the decisions at trial."
In December 2003, just before Perkins started in Baltimore, federal prosecutor Jonathan P. Luna was found dead from drowning. The high-profile case remains unsolved.
Perkins was mentioned in a Department of Justice inspector general report for not processing disciplinary letters of three agents accused of misconduct during the investigation.
Perkins said the case has been a long and complex one. "It's still pending in our office," he said.
The Lancaster County coroner's office ruled Luna's death a homicide. The investigation included Luna's knife at the scene, his significant debt and his failure to take a polygraph test for an internal investigation into $36,000 of missing money.
Perkins declined to discuss the case. But he said that the investigation into the missing money has been closed without an arrest. He declined to say whether Luna had been a suspect.