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TO

:

Linda Thall, Sr. Assistant County Attorney, Frederick County, Maryland

FROM : Patrick Allen, Complainant SUBJ : Clarification Regarding Complaint Submission and Ethics Commission Standard Operating Procedures

February 17, 2014 Having filed a 20 page complaint document, alleging unethical and illegal conduct by one or more members of the Frederick County Board of County Commissioners as well as one or more Frederick County employees, I wanted to get this document to you before any incorrect and / or inappropriate process steps are taken, based on the Frederick County Ethics Commission Standard Operating Procedures. Following a careful review of the Ethics Commission letter, dated February 14, 2014, denying any further action(s) by the Frederick County Ethics Commission regarding a complaint filed on February 4, 2014, I am submitting this document as a response to that letter and as a companion document to the 20 page complaint document filed with the Ethics Commission on February 17, 2014. The letter from the Frederick County Ethics Commission, signed by Mr. Harold Otis, does not reference the quid pro quo allegation presented in the February 4, 2014. It is not clear if the omission of this allegation was accidental or purposeful. Based on language in the Ethics Commission SOP, if a complaint contains alleged criminal violation(s), the “subject” will not be provided a copy of the complaint and the Commission will refer the matter to the Office of the Attorney General, the State Prosecutor, or the State’s Attorney for a determination as to whether a criminal investigation is warranted. Once a referral for possible criminal prosecution is made, the Commission will not act on the complaint until the referral is resolved (SOP, E-1). It is important to note that the allegation of quid pro quo as cited in the February 4, 2014 and again in the February 17, 2014 complaint filings (Allegation / Charge 4 – Business / Development Community Quid Pro Quo), in and of itself, suggest the possibility, if not probability, of criminal conduct. IMPORTANT NOTE: I would posit that if the Frederick County Attorney’s Office or any member of the Frederick County Ethics Commission has provided any of the subjects with a copy of the 20 page complaint document filed on February 17, 2014, then that person or persons has violated articles contained within the Frederick County Ethics Commission SOP.

The balance of this document will deconstruct Sections and Paragraphs from the Frederick County Ethics Commission SOP and their relevance / connection to the currently filed 20 page complaint document. FREDERICK COUNTY ETHICS COMMISSION STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES V. Complaints A. Requirements 3. The complaint must allege a violation of the Ethics Ordinance on the part of an official or employee who is subject to the jurisdiction of the Ethics Commission.

The six (6) allegations / charges cited in the 20 page complaint document meet the requirements of this section in the SOP.

B. Outside legal counsel If any matter coming before the Commission involves a member of the Board of County Commissioners, the Commission or the legal advisor must decide whether there is a conflict of interest on the part of the legal advisor due to the fact that the County Attorney is the attorney for the Board of County Commissioners and is employed by the Board. If the Commission believes that an “outside” attorney is needed to advise the Commission, it will need to employ “outside” counsel for that matter.

COMPLAINTANT RESPONSE : Given that four (4) of six (6) allegations / charges cited in the complaint document have criminal conduct implications, this section of the SOP should be carefully considered by counsel with an emphasis toward acknowledging a possible / probable conflict of interest and the need to bring in “outside” counsel.

C. Notice to the parties of the filing of the complaint 1. Except as provided in section C.2, upon receipt of a complaint or the initiation of a complaint by the Commission, the Commission will notify the subject of the complaint that a complaint has been made and will provide that person with a copy of the complaint. 2. If a referral for a possible criminal investigation is made under section E.1 before an investigation is started, notice will not be given to the subject of the complaint until after the referral is resolved.

COMPLAINTANT RESPONSE : With regard to this section of the SOP, factoring in the content of the 20 page complaint document filed on February 17, 2014, sub-paragraph (2) should take precedence, specifically regarding the four of six allegations / charges which exhibit criminal conduct implications.

E. Procedures 1. If the allegations in the complaint or the facts obtained during the Commission’s investigation suggest that criminal conduct may have occurred, the Commission will refer the matter to the Office of the Attorney General, the State Prosecutor, or the State’s Attorney for a determination as to whether a criminal investigation is warranted. Once a referral for possible criminal prosecution is made, the Commission will not act on the complaint until the referral is resolved. 2. When the Commission receives a complaint, the Commission will make a preliminary determination as to how the complaint will be handled. The options available to the Commission include, but are not limited to, the following: b. The Commission may meet with the complainant and/or the subject of the complaint on an informal basis to ascertain the facts related to the complaint and make a decision on the complaint. If at any time the Commission determines that a hearing is warranted, the Commission may schedule a hearing on the complaint.

COMPLAINTANT RESPONSE : As noted previously in this document, Section E-1 applies to at least four of the six allegations / charges cited in the 20 page complaint document filed with your office on February 17, 2014. While I will stipulate, based on language in the SOP, that the Ethics Commission has at its discretion to meet with the complainant and / or the subject, I am compelled to protest the Commission’s decision to meet only with the subject regarding the allegations and charges cited in the 20 page complaint document filed with your office on February 17, 2014. Additionally, an “informal” meeting, without responses and testimony being obtained under oath does not provide the necessary incentive to seek or find the truth.

VII. Guidelines For Use in Conflict of Interest Situations The following guidelines will be used in making decisions on conflict of interest questions brought to the Commission: C. If the official recognizes a conflict, or the appearance of a conflict, the official should state this conflict before the hearing and physically remove himself from the hearing room and avoid discussion of the case with fellow officials until a decision is made.

COMPLAINTANT RESPONSE : This is a critically important section in the Frederick County Ethics Commission Standard Operating Procedures. Mr. Harold Otis, Chairperson, Frederick County Ethics Commission has at least a ten year personal, professional, political and radio show relationship with one or more members of the Frederick County Board of County Commissioners. Most recently, Mr. Otis served and worked alongside Mr. Young as a Co-Chairperson on the reelection campaign for former Maryland Sixth Congressional District congressman Roscoe Bartlett. This relationship, alone, should recuse Mr. Otis from any ethics proceedings regarding Mr. Young or other members of the Frederick BoCC. In fact, according the Ethics Commission SOP, Mr. Otis should have removed himself from the process when the initial complaint was filed in January, 2014. Additionally, any member of the County Attorney’s office, or current member of the Frederick County Ethics Commission who has given financial or in-kind contributions to a current member of the Frederick BoCC 2010 election cycle, or to Blaine Young For Maryland general, gubernatorial, county executive or other activities, should also recuse themselves from any ethics proceedings regarding Mr. Young or other members of the Frederick BoCC.