ANNAPOLIS -- The state prosecutor has filed a misdemeanor charge against the daughter of Councilman Theodore J. Sophocleus, the Democratic nominee for Anne Arundel County executive, for submitting an inaccurate campaign finance report on behalf of her father.
Evangeline Taylor, 25, a part-time real estate agent from Glen Burnie who serves as Mr. Sophocleus' campaign treasurer, faces a possible $1,000 fine and/or one-year imprisonment if convicted of the crime.
The charge filed yesterday morning in District Court in Annapolis stems from a complaint brought by Mr. Sophocleus' opponent, Republican Robert R. Neall, who claimed the Democrat was attempting to "launder" cash contributions.
Mr. Sophocleus attributed the errors to an attempt to credit senior citizens for cakes donated for a "cake wheel" raffle at an April 22 fund-raiser at Kurtz Beach. The campaign credited the seniors with paying cash for $25 tickets that were actually given to them without charge.
The resulting investigation by the state prosecutor's office uncovered 61 people who were erroneously listed as having contributed $1,525, according to a source familiar with the state's case.
"We did not find that they [the Sophocleus campaign] attempted to conceal any monies," said James I. Cabezas, chief of investigations for the state prosecutor. "They were all reported. They were simply improperly reported."
Mr. Cabezas said it was "very unlikely" that officials would seek any imprisonment against Mrs. Taylor and downplayed the significance of the charge.
Mr. Sophocleus, 51, of Linthicum said he regarded the state prosecutor's actions as a "vindication" and a "timely resolution of the matter" even though it came just five days before an election that is expected to be close.
Last week, Mrs. Taylor submitted a revised campaign finance report that credited about 50 people with having donated cakes worth $5 apiece.
"The campaign has taken in close to $300,000" Mr. Sophocleus said. "What's $1,500. What percentage is that? Not much."
A spokesman for the Sophocleus campaign said Mrs. Taylor would not discuss the matter with reporters.
David Almy, Mr. Neall's campaign manager, said the Republican candidate has declined to comment on the court case until after the election.
The controversy, which has been labeled "Cake-gate," has been widely viewed as a political misstep by Mr. Neall, 42, a former minority leader in the House of Delegates. His expressions of outrage over the Sophocleus campaign finance errors may have seemed shrill and mean-spirited to some voters, according to campaign insiders.