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9/19/2017 7:27:10 PM
Posted: 6/22/2003 2:42:05 PM EDT
[url]http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A17512-2003Jun20.html[/url] Ethics Panel Targets Book Money Paid To Moose So Far By Matthew Mosk Washington Post Staff Writer Saturday, June 21, 2003; Page B01 The attorney for the Montgomery County Ethics Commission said yesterday that the panel plans to ask Police Chief Charles A. Moose to turn over any money he earned from his book and movie projects while serving as chief. Moreover, attorney Judson P. Garrett said, the commission will meet soon to consider whether the county is entitled to seek all the money Moose stands to make from the book, "Three Weeks in October," a memoir that focuses on his role in last fall's Washington area sniper manhunt. Moose, who submitted his resignation Monday, was denied permission by the panel in March to write the book but proceeded with the project anyway. It is listed on Amazon.com for October publication. Garrett said the county may be entitled to recover money Moose receives for any unapproved work he performed before June 28, the date he officially leaves his county job. The commission could take Moose to court and ask a judge to enforce the ruling that found Moose's outside work in violation of the county's prohibitions against profiting from the prestige of public office, he said. "The commission is going to have to look at that and make some judgment calls about whether it wants to pursue any of that," Garrett said. "I don't think the courts have had to decide this before. But my view is that he would be subject" to the ethics law. Moose has reportedly been paid a combined $174,000 for the book and for his exclusive agreement with a Hollywood production company that is preparing a television movie about the October shooting rampage that killed 10 people, wounded three and traumatized the Washington area. He also stands to make $4 for each book sold and additional money from the movie if it is made and broadcast, sources said. Moose's wife, Sandy, reached at their Chevy Chase apartment yesterday, said her husband would not make any public comments on his resignation or on the Ethics Commission's plans. Charles Moose's attorney, Ronald Karp, did not return phone calls. Ethics experts said the commission would, in all likelihood, be acting within its authority to try to recover money Moose receives from work he did based on his county employment. "I think they have a case," said Robert Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that specializes in ethics issues. "The strength of their position is that he was a full-time employee, using all the information he gained while he was there." Stern said Moose would "be in a much stronger position if he had waited to work on the book until after he resigned." Among top county leaders, feelings about the pursuit of Moose's money were mixed. County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) suppressed a chuckle when asked about the commission's intentions, saying that as far as he was concerned, Moose's resignation means "the situation takes care of itself." County Council Vice President Steven A. Silverman (D-At Large) said that even though he frowns on Moose's decision to abandon his police career in favor of writing a book and joining the lecture circuit, he believes the Ethics Commission has done enough. "I think we should close the chapter," he said. "He's no longer going to be the police chief. He made his choice. I think we should move on." But there were also those who said they want the Ethics Commission to take a firm position. "If they decide to pursue it, I would support them," said council member Phil Andrews (D-Gaithersburg). "You have to stand behind your ethics rulings. If those rulings don't have teeth, they are more likely to be ignored in the future." Walter E. Bader, president of the Montgomery County lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, said the commission would merely be enforcing the rules set up under the employment contract Moose signed, in which he specifically agreed to abide by the county's ethical code of conduct. "If those are the rules he agreed to, that's what he should be honoring," Bader said.
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