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
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
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
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
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
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.