BALTIMORE — A federal judge here has agreed to defer prosecution of Shoppers Food Warehouse in connection with a bribery case against two of the retailer’s former executives and a state Senator.
Supervalu, the Minneapolis-based parent of Shoppers Food Warehouse, must pay $2.5 million and cooperate with federal prosecutors in the case, which alleges the retailer paid almost $246,000 over six years to state Sen. Ulysses Currie, who is alleged to have taken official actions to directly benefit Shoppers and its top executives including William White, its former president, and Kevin Small, its former vice president of real estate. Both White and Small also face conspiracy and fraud charges.
According to the indictment, although Currie was hired to work as a public affairs consultant, he used his official position to do favors for the company including securing state funds to reduce rent at one store, sell liquor in another, and facilitate infrastructure improvements to help a third. Currie in a memo to Shoppers said he was “in a unique position to assist Shoppers in expanding its mission and increasing its bottom line.”
Small, who served at Shoppers until June of 2007, pleaded not guilty to charges. White, who retired from Shoppers in 2006 and later served as chief executive of Southern Family Markets, is expected to appear in court later this week.