U.S. Marshals Lawyer Criticized for Sports Trips
"Washington Watchdogs," a periodic feature of the Post's Investigations blog, looks at the findings of the federal government's official investigators.
Joseph Band has been a senior attorney for the U.S. Marshals Service since 1992. He also has a passion for sports and for 37 years has worked part-time as a sports statistician for the Washington Redskins. Band has taken record-keeping assignments for Fox Sports, CBS and ESPN, working about 20 to 30 top sporting events per year, making between $35 and $125 per event.
He said the sports statistician job was always "for fun" and he never much cared about the money he made.
But Band's supervisors and co-workers complained to investigators that "Band was mixing his statistician activities with his official duties" and that he was "spending a considerable amount of time working on personal matters and conducting business for the Washington Redskins."
Federal prosecutors declined to file charges against Band. But a Justice Department inspector general's report released today accuses Band of improperly using government vehicles and agents to escort himself and TV broadcasters to and from high-profile sporting events, including the 2007 World Series, last year's Super Bowl and the NCAA college football championship.
Band allegedly asked for government agents to drive him and Fox Sports broadcasters to two World Series games at Boston's Fenway Park in October 2007 and used other vehicles for motorcade escorts following the games. He attended the 2007 World Series games as a part-time, paid sports statistician for Fox Sports.
Check out the report after the jump
He arranged similiar deals for a January 2008 National Football League playoff game in Tampa; the 2007 NCAA football Bowl Championship Series game in Phoenix; and the 2008 Super Bowl in Phoenix.
The Boston Globe first reported the ongoing investigation into Band last May.
Broadcasters who benefited from Band's alleged largesse included Fox Sports personalities Tim McCarver, Joe Buck and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman.
Band was rebuffed in his attempts to get a ride from a U.S. Marshal to Major League Baseball's All Star Game in San Francisco in July 2007, the report said.
The Justice Department's inspector general alleged Band and his superior, acting Massachusetts U.S. Marshal Yvonne Bonner, violated departmental ethics guidelines and that Band "lacked candor" in interviews with agents. Bonner assigned two deputy marshals to assist Band during Games 1 and 2 of the 2007 World Series in Boston.
In a statement to investigators, Band described his part-time sports job as solely a "hobby" and said there is no conflict of interest, adding that he was unsure if witnesses "were intimidated or threatened or just suffered from a bad memory."
Band's attorney, Jacob A. Stein, declined to comment this afternoon beyond his statement to investigators.
In her own statement, Band's superior, Bonner, called the vehicle arrangement at the World Series "reasonable" and said potential "terrorist activity" needed to be monitored by the agents.
Both Band and Bonner have retired in recent weeks, attorneys and U.S. Marshal's Services spokespeople said.
By Derek Kravitz |
January 12, 2009; 12:46 PM ET
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