A well-known high school coach and veteran city employee has pleaded guilty to extortion. Daryl Christopher Wade, 50, admitted to taking $5,200 in bribes in exchange for making street-cut fines go away as a supervisor for Baltimore’s Department of Transportation.
The son of NFL player and longtime City Schools athletic director Bob Wade, Daryl Wade was suspended from his city and coaching jobs last fall after he was indicted by the U.S. attorney’s office.
According to today’s plea agreement, Wade admitted using his official position as a DOT construction supervisor to solicit bribes from a restaurant owner and sewer contractor who faced thousands in street-cut fines. (These are fines assessed on a contractor or property owner for tearing up a public street or sidewalk – for a water line, etc. – and then not paving over the cut in the permitted time period.)
In the case of the sewer contractor, Wade halted a street-cut appeals hearing in order to hustle the contractor out of the room and tell him he knew how to make the $17,000 in fines go away.
Subsequently, the unnamed contractor agreed to pay Wade $5,000 in two installments.
On September 22, 2016, Wade arrived for the $3,000 down payment in a Baltimore City vehicle, ordering the contractor to toss the money in the back.
“You good for life with me,” Wade told him, laughing, “we in cahoots now,” according to the criminal information.
The extortion attempt was replete with that timeless dictum of “you gotta pay to play.”
In a second extortion, Wade conspired with Jerome Walter Stephens, of A&A Construction & Utilities, to impel a restaurant owner to pay a $2,200 bribe to make about $12,000 in street-cut fines disappear.
In a third instance, Stephens approached “Person A,” the vice president of a Virginia-based sewer company, saying it would be receiving $1.3 million in street-cut fines from the city.
“This was the first that Person A had learned of the $1.3 million in perspective [sic] fines. Stephens then said he had a connection in the street-cuts unit that could reduce the $1.3 million in fines by 80% to $260,000, if Person A paid 20%, a $52,000 bribe, to Stephen’s connection,” according to the criminal statement.
The extortion attempt – replete with the dictum that “you gotta pay to play” in Baltimore – did not go over well.
“Person A made clear,” the statement says, “that he was not interested in paying the $52,000 bribe and would sue the City of Baltimore over the fines, if necessary.”
Wade, a 29-year city employee who served as head coach of the football and boy’s basketball teams at City College, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, Acting U.S. Attorney Stephen M. Schenning said.
Sentencing is scheduled for August 10, 2018 before U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake.