VETS

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum - Twit­ter: @CalRecANDREW

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.

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