Skip to comments.Will Moose give movie money back?
Posted on 06/06/2003 12:51:10 AM PDT by JohnHuang2
ROCKVILLE, Md. -- An ethics board here is reviewing whether Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose must return a $4,250 movie-consulting fee he pocketed before it denied him permission to profit from such deals related to the Beltway sniper case he led last fall.
Moose and his wife deposited the payment from Cates/Doty Productions Inc. of Hollywood into a personal checking account earlier this year.
The Montgomery County Ethics Commission learned of the payment just before it recently denied Moose's request for a waiver from a county law barring officials from profiting from the prestige of their office.
What action the five-member panel might take at this point is not immediately clear.
"I can't say whether a complaint has or hasn't been filed," said Judson Garrett, associate county attorney. "It's confidential."
Cates/Doty, which develops and produces motion pictures and TV mini-series and specials, such as NBC's "Confessions: Two Faces of Evil," bought an 18-month option on Moose's life story. Moose cannot consult with another producer during that period.
It also promised to pay him more money when the planned TV movie is made, and even more when it is broadcast.
The ethics panel's decision effectively blocks any future movie payments, however, as well as advance money from a book deal Moose negotiated for at least $170,000.
Moose is pressing ahead with the projects, while suing the county for allegedly violating his rights to free speech and expression.
"I know I am a governmental employee, but I am also a U.S. citizen," Moose warned the panel in a March 10 letter obtained by WorldNetDaily. "It cannot possibly be in the county's best interest to challenge my First Amendment rights."
But Garrett explains that the county is not stopping Moose from expressing his thoughts about his career, including the sniper case, in a book or movie. He just can't make money from it while in office.
"We're not opposed to him exercising his right to free speech," he told WorldNetDaily. "It's fee speech that we think the ethics law prohibits."
Moose's lawyer, Ronald A. Karp, declined comment.
"We've decided not to comment any further until there's some progress in the case," Karp said in a phone interview. "I mean, the commission has not even had an opportunity to file an answer in federal court."
The court has advised the county it has until June 17 to file an answer, Garrett says.
Moose also asked for an ethics waiver to start a consulting business with his wife, one that would take advantage of his national fame and experience from managing the sniper investigation.
The ethics commission still has not ruled on that request, Garrett says.
The couple set up the limited partnership, called Two Moose -- A Caring Partnership, to lecture clients on "crisis management" and "diversity," according to Moose's March 10 letter.
Records show they applied for a Maryland state charter to operate the private, for-profit business just four weeks after the Beltway snipers were finally caught. Their bloody three-week rampage claimed 13 victims.
Upon questioning, Sandy Herman-Moose told the ethics panel in a March 3 closed-door hearing that she had already lectured at the National Institute of Justice, for one, but had charged only for travel expenses.
Moose is the highest-paid county official, earning more than $160,000 a year, not including money he makes from teaching at a local college.
In his March 10 plea to the ethics panel, he offered to donate a "portion" of his proceeds from the book and movie deals to charity.
He is thus an accomplice to the later murders.
He should be fired, not rewarded.
And all the J. Cochranes and all Jesse's men, won't be able to put Moosie together again....
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