An article published by the Owings Mills Times on February 6, 2009 featured the following headline:
Councilman’s brother named in affidavit
The subtitle read: Robert Olszewski described as ‘the collector’ in alleged illegal gaming operation
The Owings Mills Times was published by Patuxent Publishing, a subsidiary of The Baltimore Sun Media Group.
Since the paper stopped publication in February 2018, the links to the original article are no longer active. However, The Baltimore Post kept a copy of the article as source material for our investigation into possible corruption in Baltimore County. We will withhold the author’s name due to privacy concerns.
We also have hard-copies of hundreds of documents that were part of a larger investigation into possible corruption in Baltimore County. Any links to those documents have also disappeared from the internet, so our hard copies have come in handy.
Over the years, we have gathered extensive research regarding campaign contributions and various news articles, including the one we will discuss in this column. Additionally, the Post met with two FBI agents who, at the time, were also investigating the possibility of corruption occurring in Baltimore County.
More on that later. For now, we will focus strictly on one particular investigation, which may shed some light on why this behind-the-scenes cancer is allowed to exist and basically go unchallenged.
According to the Owings Mills Times article, an investigation was being conducted by then-US Attorney for the District of Maryland, Rod Rosenstein, along with members of the Baltimore County Police Department, the IRS, and Scott Shellenberger from the Baltimore County States Attorney’s Office. The probe focused on Robert Olszewski, the brother of retired 16-year veteran Councilman John Olszewski, Sr. (the latter is the father of Democratic primary winner in the race for Baltimore County Executive, John “Johnny O” Olszewski, Jr.)
The investigation into Robert Olszewski centered on the Federal Government’s attempt to seize millions of dollars in bank accounts and property, which were allegedly the proceeds of an $18 million illegal gambling operation. According to the article, Robert Olszweski was alleged to be the “bagman” for the gambling operation.
What is extremely unusual about this case, and what raises our concern, is another article that appeared in The Washington Examiner.
For those who didn’t click the above link, The Washington Examiner article does not mention Robert Olszewski or his alleged role as the gambling operation’s bagman.
Here’s another very interesting article by The Baltimore Brew that does mention several items left out by the investigating authorities, along with one particular mainstream media outlet that allowed this major story to be swept under the proverbial rug.
There is a specific term we would like to use about this, but–for the moment–we will digress.
The Brew article is especially critical of The Baltimore Sun for its lack of coverage of this high-profile and disturbing case. You will also note a fascinating observation if you click on the name of the author.
Here is a direct quote from the Brew’s article, which was written in 2009:
Why this is not news for The Sun is easily explained by the dearth of editors and reporters left to cover any stories of substance. They can barely cover the top of the news – though they’ve done a great job covering the slots bidding story this past week. What once would have been a big ‘scandal’ story in town, now goes easily missed in today’s alarmingly fast-disappearing news business.
The Baltimore Post contacted the Baltimore County States Attorney’s office to question the status of the investigation into Robert Olszewski. The Post received a response from the BCSA that contained five links to very lengthy legal documents. Other than the links to the legal documents, this was the only statement contained in the reply:
This is who the target of that investigation was and the result.
The Post did read through all of the legal documents and found the actual warrant, which listed Robert Olszewski’s name. That information is found on page 8 of the warrant.
What is troubling about this investigation was US Attorney Rod Rodenstein declined to comment on the relationship between Robert Olszewski and his councilman brother, John Olszewski, Sr. It wasn’t until February 2 that then-councilman John Olszewski, Sr. confirmed that his brother was a target of the investigation.
This investigation happened during the reign of then-Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith. The Post will have more on the potential corruption in Baltimore County involving “The Jim Smith Effect” at a later date.
As part of our investigation, we found this well-written article by Brian Griffiths from the conservative Red Maryland organization on the issue of then-County Executive Smith.
Let’s take a look at some points from the article that will describe this investigation as it unfolded:
- The initial investigation centered on a Parkville based company called Nick’s Amusements.
- Federal investigators were building a case against the employer of Robert Olszewski, Mr. John Zorzit.
- The report states that in 2006, both federal and county investigators witnessed Robert Olszewski leaving certain bars with a red bag believed to contain cash.
- When questioned about the investigation, then US Attorney Rod Rosenstein declined to comment on the relationship between Robert Olszewski and then-Councilman John Olszewski, Sr.
- On September 27, 2006, in the 6600 block of Baltimore National Pike in Catonsville, a van belonging Robert Olszewski was seized.
- Inside the van, police discovered a red bag containing money, along with a sheet listing a number of bars and days of the week when collections were to be made.
- Police also found repayment slips but no documentation on how much money was to be collected at each location.
- A federal affidavit referred to a search warrant executed by Baltimore County Police on June 13, 2006, at a liquor establishment located in the 5300 block of Edmonson Avenue.
- District Court records showed that Robert Olszewski was arrested and charged with possessing and maintaining illegal slot machines at the liquor store.
- The store’s owner told police that Robert Olszewski made collections every Monday and was paid with cash taken from the machines.
- Prosecutors dropped all charges against Robert Olszewski two months later, and law enforcement officials gave no clear reason why the charges were dropped.
- States Attorney’s Scott Shellenberger and US Attorney Rosenstein both declined to comment, citing the ongoing federal case against Mr. Zorzit.
- There are no records of this investigation on the Maryland Case Search website.
- Mr. Zorzit, at the time, was not charged with a crime.
- Vickie LeDuc, a spokesperson for the US Attorney’s office at the time of this investigation, stated there would be no further comment other than what was listed in the court documents.
The Baltimore Post believes it is important for the voters in Baltimore County to understand the deep-rooted political connections involved in the upcoming race for Baltimore County Executive.
There is much more to this story, including the major players attempting to forge a progressive agenda for the participants in the upcoming general election.
The Baltimore Post does not believe in the issue of partisan politics, but rather in revealing the truth of those attempting to influence the voters’ decision in the 2018 general election.
The Post will continue to follow up on this particular story, as well as any other information related to the race for Baltimore County Executive.
Folks, hang onto your seats (or votes) because this story is just beginning to heat up.
As always, our motto is, “You read; you decide.”