Although the order restricts the organization from soliciting for donations, it can still continue its intended mission of housing and caring for veterans — unless Brashear is unable to operate in the current county building he uses to house homeless veterans.
“Ability to operate housing is a zoning issue regulated by Calvert County,” David Nitkin, director of communications for the Office of the Attorney General, said in a phone interview. “The secretary of state’s order does not directly impact housing operations.”
But Brashear faces a civil lawsuit from Daniel Masciantonio, the landlord of a Hallowing Point Road building in Prince Frederick the organization uses for veteran housing. At a hearing March 29, Masciantonio told Calvert District Judge Robert Riddle the lease only permits commercial use of the building. Masciantonio said not only is Brashear living in the residence, but he is housing others as well.
Brashear told The Calvert Recorder he’s about $5,600 behind in back rent for this building.
“Our landlord, Masciantonio, has been very good with working with us, but it comes a point when you just have to draw the line,” Brashear said. “He can’t continue to take the losses on it.”
Riddle ruled in Masciantonio’s favor, stating Brashear breached the lease with unlawful use of the commercial property.
“I’d like to appeal the decision,” Brashear said in a phone interview Thursday morning. “We think we can’t afford to appeal it, though.”
After re-obtaining possession of the property, Masciantonio filed a warrant of restitution, according to court documents. A copy will be sent to the landlord, tenant and sheriff’s office by the district court clerk’s office. Once the tenant has received a copy, Masciantonio can set up an eviction date with the sheriff’s office. A notice of eviction was posted on the property March 7.
Brashear said there was only one remaining veteran housed in the building, and he transported him to Virginia earlier this week.
An administrative hearing was held March 9 in Annapolis, in an attempt by Brashear to have the state’s cease-and-desist order removed. At this hearing, Brashear and the state had opportunities to produce evidence and call witnesses to show why the order should be removed or upheld, respectively.
The Office of the Secretary of State must respond within the next month as to whether it will lift the order.
Brashear said he plans to file a $10 million lawsuit against Maryland Secretary of State John Wobensmith, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (D) and state investigator Michael Schlien for false allegations that Southern Maryland Veterans Association wasn’t providing the services for which it solicited funds from the public, primarily the housing and care of homeless veterans and their dependents.
In its press release, the Maryland Attorney General’s Office alleges the organization was not registered with the secretary of state before soliciting, which is mandatory of a charity.
Brashear showed The Calvert Recorder a document that appears to be from the Office of the Secretary of State and signed by John P. McDonough, who was secretary of state at the time. This December 2014 document lists a registration number (25505) for Brashear’s organization and an expiration date of Nov. 30, 2015. The document was presented at the administrative hearing earlier this month as well.
“Worst-case scenario, our registration expired,” Brashear said. “This is far different from what they have been telling the public.”
State agencies declined to comment on Brashear’s intended lawsuit until it is formally filed.
In 2013, Brashear faced similar allegations when he was accused of operating a fraudulent veterans organization in Western Maryland, known as Western Maryland Veterans Association. A former assistant with the organization said Brashear was misusing funds after she was fired, resulting in the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office conducting an investigation into the organization, according to an opinion piece Brashear wrote in 2013 in the Cumberland TimesNews refuting the claims.
According to court records, Brashear also was convicted of second-degree murder after striking his common-law wife in 1990, for which he served 22 years in prison. Brashear was released in 2012 and then began offering services to veterans.
McDonald was fired by the Southern Maryland Veterans Association in December after working as the solicitation supervisor. While in this position, from June 1 to Dec. 24. 2015, he allegedly collected donation containers from the association’s solicitors and reportedly pocketed those funds, according to previous reports.
Authorities believe McDonald embezzled $6,000 in community donated funds during this time period. He further allegedly stole $4,000 worth of soliciting materials, signs, donation containers, labels, computers and other materials belonging to Southern Maryland Veterans Association, charging documents state.
After his termination, solicitors contacted the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office and informed authorities of the alleged weekly thefts. McDonald allegedly intimidated solicitors through the use of physical force, employment threats or false claims of theft being brought against them, the documents state.
McDonald was charged with theft scheme of $10,000 to $100,000 and theft valued between $10,000 and $100,000 for the alleged incidents, court records show. McDonald’s March 30 plea hearing was continued to April 14.