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Leopold Opponent: 'He Should Resign Immediately'

County Executive John Leopold was indicted Friday on multiple charges after more than a year of speculation and investigation into misconduct allegations.

Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold's political opponent in 2010 reacted angrily to charges that the that include using police officers to trash her campaign signs during the election. 

"It restores my faith in the Democratic process," said Joanna Conti, the Democrat who ran against Leopold in the 2010 election. "It's important that we hold our elected officials accountable for their actions.

"If these allegations are true," she added, "he is not fit to hold office and should resign immediately."

Conti reacted to the information contained in the indictment about some of Leopold's alleged conduct. According to a press release from the Maryland State Prosecutor's office, Leopold is accused of ordering county police officers to drive him to locations throughout the county where he would pick up and discard Conti's campaign signs.

The officers also picked up and deposited campaign contributions while on duty and kept dossiers on Leopold's political opponent, the indictment alleges. In addition, the indictment alleges that officers frequently drove Leopold to parking lots where he would engage in sexual activity with another county employee in a separate vehicle. 

"I find it outrageous that he asked trained police officers to wait while he had sex and empty his catheter," she said.

In addition, Conti said it was "pathetic" that Leopold also had his drivers pull over to remove her signs during the campaign.

"He was throwing away the signs," she said, adding that the signs were reportedly thrown in a ravine and the woods.

County Councilman Jamie Benoit (D-4th District), a former attorney, said that he was most alarmed by the fraud charge, which could result in Leopold facing jail time if convicted.

“A fraud charge is really serious business," Benoit said.

Benoit said he was aware of recent rumors of a possible indictment, but said it had not been a major distraction. The council was more distracted, he said, when some of the initial allegations appeared in news reports last year. 

"I’m a human being, and I’m distracted by it because you think about it a lot," he said. "And we’re people. I'm going to do my best to not focus on it and help the county do its work and get my bills passed. That’s why we have three branches of government.”

County Councilman Chris Trumbaurer (D-6th District) expressed sadness that the county executive was indicted.

"He is entitled to a fair hearing and due process under the law," said Trumbauer. "However, should these allegations prove to be true, it will be yet another example of someone in power betraying the public's trust. I have very little tolerance for scandal and corruption in public office."

Ray Leone of Edgewater, Anne Arundel County PTA President, said that he had some personal dealings with Leopold.

“The accusations that came out against him and some of the things, I’m pretty sure he did,” said Leone, who owns and operates a toy store in the .

Leone said he spoke with people involved in the allegations connected to the parking lot incident. Leopold reportedly asked his security detail to to escort him to the parking lot for “sexual activity with another county employee [in 2010],” the state prosecutor's office announced Friday.

Others, however, aren't so quick to judge Leopold and do not believe the stories of intentional wrongdoing.

"I didn't see anything going on, so I can't really say first-hand that I know what happened," said Stephen Clark Reigle, campaign treasurer for Leopold and president of the District 32 Republican Club.

"I signed the checks and filed my paperwork, and I gave the checks to the people I was supposed to give them to," Reigle said. "From what I know, John believes he'll be [found he's innocent.] ... It will go to trial and all the truth will come out and I guess we'll know in the end."

Leopold asked citizens to reserve judgment against him and said that he was "disheartened" by the on Friday. In a prepared statement, Leopold said he hadn't seen the allegations so it was inappropriate for him to comment on them.

He added that the questions related to the "scurrilous and salacious accusations" must be resolved through the judicial process.

"In a court of law, all sides have the opportunity to present evidence and argument, as opposed to the grand jury process which can be manipulated," he said in the statement.

Patch editors Maya T. Prabhu, John Wilfong, Jonathan Moynihan and Tim Lemke contributed to this article.

Bill Mitchell March 03, 2012 at 09:43 PM
John, Maybe for the same reaseon Don Schafer never got married.
Bill Mitchell March 03, 2012 at 09:44 PM
The county Exec. should resign the day after Sen Currie of Prince George Co. does.
Jim Davis March 03, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Nothing like conviction in the Court of Public Opinion. Lets sit back and let the Court of Law resolve this. While we are at it we need to take a hard look at all the rest of our "elected betters", Repugnant and Demonic. We need to hold every one of them accountable and this includes at the ballot box. While the allegations against Leopold are bad, and if found guilty in court should lead to jail. How about our State and Federal legislators that are spending money like we the taxpayers have plenty of it, on every pet project or other scheme to buy votes by simply bringing home the bacon or funding feel goods at the expense of programs that are actually mandated by the Constitution and/or law. They need to demonstrate their fiscal responsibilities to the taxpayers, not the lobbyists and big donors.
Carol B March 03, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Hear, hear, Jim. O'Malley seems to have no concept of what life is like "on the other side of the tracks." Everyone who takes money from me--from manicurist to grocer to utility--has raised his or her prices ("because our expenses have gone up"), but my *salary* hasn't gone up to accomodate such inflation, nor will it. So let's heap gasoline tax and property tax and every-other-kind-of-tax O'Malley and his spend-spend-spenders (in the Me-Me generation) can think of on top of the burden I already bear. I nearly lost my house last yeat (after 8 months of unemployment). No one--not the FTC, not the CFPB, not Gansler, not FNMA, not Ruppersberger, not HUD, not the OCC, not O'Malley, not any one of the federal or state "watchdogs" charged with protecting us would help me. I was late once--ONCE--on a mortgage payment, and that less than 30 days, in almost 40 years of home ownership--and that only because a "HUD approved" mortgage counselor told me I wouldn't get any help from anyone if my payments (at the expense of my meagre retirement savings) were current. Yes--let's tell them all what we think at the ballot box. I am tired of governmental vampires who drain the last drop of blood from their constituents to pay for their own excesses. HOLD THEM ALL ACCOUNTABLE!!
Amy Leahy March 04, 2012 at 01:59 PM
At least the county charter has a provision for removing the county executive from office and appointing a replacement, unlike the county council seats.
Lou Colletti March 04, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Hmmm guilty until proven innocent? If he is proven to be guilty then by all means he should step down. Reminds me of similar situation only they had sex in the White House. Question for you Ms. Conti. Did you ask for the President to step down when he was accused? I'd be curious to know that answer. Oh, wait, he was a Democrat. Nevermind.
Jessica D March 04, 2012 at 05:29 PM
I believed that Clinton should have resigned. And I am a flaming liberal. But come on that was 15 years ago? Move on.
Carol B March 04, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Ann, I think you're missing the point here. Clinton isn't being singled out--he's had lots and lots of company since the Days of Cigars and Monica, on both sides. I think people are sick and tired of hearing about *all* of the immoral, corrupt, self-serving leeches in elected government--city, state, and federal; tired of hearing the phony "mea culpa" apologies; tired of everyone who lives high on the hog at *our* expense and bleeds us dry in the name of empty campaign promises they forget as soon as they're elected; and tired of voting *against* the worst of the lot, only to have the best of the worst make idiots of us for having had any faith in them at all, the way this man has done. Convictable of a crime? Who knows. But there is obviously enough circumstantial evidence to justify such charges, and that's enough to bring disgrace to the office, the county, the state, and the nation . . . and disgust to all of those who have been paying his salary for the privilege.
Jim Davis March 04, 2012 at 08:15 PM
My choice early in life was either to be a piano-player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference. Harry S. Truman It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first. Ronald Reagan It is past time to eliminate both professions and return to citizen elected legislators who serve one or two terms and go back to their day job. We have been served with enough sleaze by the "professional members" of both parties The Domonics seem to have a slightly higher score than the Repugnants but it definitely is a bipartisan side show that detracts from the importance of the jobs and requires an educated/involved citizenry to eliminate. Lets stop encouraging them, vote for non incumbents this time.
Carol B March 04, 2012 at 09:48 PM
I like "Repugnicans" and "Demobrats" myself--but didn't we do that, last time (and thereby give the Tea Party newbies carte blanche to make Congress even more ineffectual than it is of its own fat, dumb, and happy accord)?
Jessica D March 04, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Carol, I don't think I am missing the point. You may not see this as a partisan issue, but many here do. Like you, I am tired of the infantile behavior of some of our elected officials and the empty promises. This is not the sole province of either party.
Carol B March 04, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Precisely, Ann. (I thought you were upset because a number of the posts, including mine, mentioned Clinton. I wish for all of our sakes that he had been the only one . . . but he wasn't (and malfeasance is not only not partisan, these days, but not even restricted to the males in office). The "old boy network" (which now includes old girls) has perpetuated itself by means of "honor among thieves" for too long. We need to get rid of ***all*** of the thieves, of whatever stripe, and stop deluding ourselves that one brand of politician is superior to any other. The only ones they serve are themselves.
Ryan Stavely March 04, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Ah, the "BUT CLINTON!!!!" defense.... What was it that he did that was illegal again?
Carol B March 05, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Shall we start with lying under oath, Ryan? (He's not alone in that, either--nor is it a partisan defect.) In fact, I think the old joke told about attorneys applies even more appropriately to politicians: How do you know when a politician is lying? His mouth is open.
Ryan Stavely March 05, 2012 at 12:13 AM
No, I was talking about what he actually did that was illegal, not the fanciful imagination of people that wanted him out of office.
Carol B March 05, 2012 at 12:40 AM
Well, I'll tell you what, Ryan. You try lying under oath (the formal name for the offense is perjury) and see if it's considered "illegal." The President of the United States is as subject to the laws of the land as you are--whether Clinton or Bush or Obama or anyone other chose to acknowledge it.
Ryan Stavely March 05, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Like I said - "what he actually did". Not "what you think he did".
Jim Davis March 05, 2012 at 02:35 AM
Not enough incumbents removed, I'm afraid a clean sweep is needed. The fresh faces can be either party, just that they are real people that have day jobs that they will return to.
R.T. Klamm March 05, 2012 at 01:38 PM
So let me get this straight...one of the two and a half men currently serves as County Executive. Perhaps this is the new world order of the American political scene. Sence elected officials can no longer come together and affect good policy for the electorate they provide us with Charlie Shean type houmorus antics until voted off the island. "Reality Politics" provide citizens with comic relief and a welcome distraction from the mundane activities of governing. Much like professional sports figures with their off court/field avocations keep us tuned in for the next episode. Come on...Admit it....we love this stuff...the dialog of how an elected official voted may last a day or two...but this...why it can go on for weeks or months. Giving way to what "we the people" really crave...entertainment. I'm just waiting for an honest political candidate to come forth with with an accurate campaign slogan such as "Let Me Entertain You !"
Amy Leahy March 05, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Ann, this is why history gets re-written....we are too willing to move on and in doing so cease to hold people accountable for their bad actions. When we don't remember our history it gets repeated (paraphrase, of course). It never ceases to amaze me the number of women who will give a man a pass at sexual harrassment if "he's doing a good job". I'm not saying that's the way you feel but am just making a general comment. I heard it from women regarding Clinton 15 years ago and more recently with the Leopold allegations.
Carol B March 05, 2012 at 04:23 PM
For me, one of the biggest issues with Clinton's "Monica" episode was that he conducted his assignations *in the Oval Office* while engaged in the work of the Presidency--i..e. "on company time." The news reports are not clear as to when Leopold's trysts took place, but even if he and the object of his . . . attentions . . . were not "on the clock," the police officers appropriated as lookouts certainly were. Kennedy's romances were (marginally, at least) less offensive because they weren't conducted on public time or public money. If Leopold's were, he's also guilty (in effect) of timecard fraud--and so is his partner.
Jessica D March 06, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Could we at least agree to update to Anthony Weiner? I totally don't give Clinton a pass (so to speak) and think he should have resigned. Or at the very least admitted that he did what he did. And it is amazing to me that he has been rehabilitated so quickly. But then I again, I am continually amazed at how men can get away with half the crap they do.
Carol B March 06, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Ann, thank you for the only real giggle I've had in a day of utter unpleasantness!! Yes--we can update to Weiner (and to the panorama of penitents in between). If I weren't old and tired, I could probably list all of their names. :o) The point is, every one of them is a disgrace to the country, and to the offices they held. How ironic that just tonight there is a news story about women who were raped in the military by their superior officers being told, in effect, to "suck it up." I suppose Leopold (like his predecessors in immorality) thinks the voters should "suck it up," too. (Oh, what the hell--even Newt is running for President!)
Jessica D March 07, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Carol, Happy to help add some fun to your day. To rephrase the old Virginia Slims ad, we've come a long way, baby, but we have a long way to go!
Carol B March 07, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Indeed, Ann. 30 or so years ago, I was one of the five or six women in acquisitions in a field of 450 men. I never burnt a bra or spent the time to do the equivalent of changing every pronoun in the Bible relating to God to she (a contemporary actually did that!), but I have lived every bit of ground we've gained since then . . . and I still work harder and know more (with a terminal degree and post-doctoral credits toward an MBA) than most of the men who make more than I do. I suppose that's why men like Leopold sicken me so. Ann Landers said many years ago that if one wants to "make it up the corporate ladder," she has to remain erect to do so . . . the same advice I'd give to the fellow employee who participated in this farce, in the parking lot. What on earth were you thinking, woman????
Eric Tomchiker March 07, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Leopold, Grasso, Fink,and Ladd all need to go! Plain and simple. I cannot wait to donate to all their opponents and vote my crappy councilman out (Grasso). Guess I wont have to worry about good ole John Leopold running for anything again. The three musketeers and their fearless leader MUST leave!
Mike Daley March 07, 2012 at 02:01 PM
The one I'm most disappointed in is Chairman Fink. This guy has no clue how to lead. He clearly is being controlled by other entities. I can't wait to donate against his opponent.
Mike Daley March 07, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Eric, we should also start a petition to ask people to not attend Michael's Eighth Ave., and Fink's Green Turtle. They need to understand that there are consequences to playing politics for personal gain.
Patricia O'Brien - Boarman March 08, 2012 at 04:13 PM
I wish more of our elected County Council persons had experience in which most don't before they ran for public office and won. I don't see any "leadership", most are afraid of making decisions, I am hoping over the next few years they are in office this will change for the betterment of our residents and the communities in which we live. I am hoping they will listen to their constituents who seem to know more about what's going on in this county, than most of them do. At present, their is no representation in council districts, maybe with the exception of one or two councilpersons. I fervently hope the elected county council persons will listen to their constituents rather than others who give advice which may or may not be in the best interest of the communities in which they serve. If their is no improvement in their performance, let's "all" A. A. Co. residents remember to "vote" them out come next election.
Chris W March 08, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Finally. Someone hit the nail on the head. Its the unions.

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