Prince George's County Executive stunned, upset after liquor board bribery arrests
LARGO, Md. - Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker said he will seek changes after two members of the liquor board were arrested on bribery charges.
He said he was "stunned" to learn of the charges and the county will go after anyone who attempts to profit through "pay to play."
The Prince George's County Liquor Board was open for business on Friday one day after the FBI came in and took a number of boxes out of their office. A search warrant was filed in the case, but it remains under seal.
A total of four people have been arrested in this corruption investigation and more arrests are expected. David Son, the director of the county's liquor board, and Anuj Sud, a commissioner on the board were both charged Thursday.
According to the FBI, both men were recorded on audio and video taking bribes for their votes.
Court documents allege Son received cash payments ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 after soliciting and facilitating bribes ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 from lobbyists and business owners. Sud is accused of soliciting bribes from a lobbyist.
Sud is appointed by the governor and has resigned.
Baker said he had no prior knowledge of the investigation and learned of the arrests Thursday morning.
"I'm disappointed and I'm quite honestly pissed off because we have spent the last six years working very hard to turn around the image of the county and we have done that," said Baker. "If you go through every part of Prince George's County, there is development going on. If you talk to businesses that come here, they will tell you it's not like it was when we came into office."
Along with the members of the liquor board, two business owners were arrested as well. Young Jung Paig, the owner of Central Avenue Restaurant and Liquors in Seat Pleasant, and Shin Ja Lee, the owner of Palmer Liquors in Landover, were charged with bribery and conspiracy.
Baker said he will go to Annapolis seeking changes for the way these boards are put together.
"I think we have to look at the way the appointments are made to the liquor board," he said. "That is where it starts and I think that is something we are going have to talk to the legislature about in Annapolis because that is what really this is about - the appointment process and the checks and balances and oversight."
Baker said pay to play is not welcome in the county and if you are involved in it, they will get you.