Chief cited over fund, ticket fixes Prosecutor has no plans to charge Aberdeen official

July 11, 1993|By Bruce Reid and Karin Remesch | Bruce Reid and Karin Remesch,Staff Writers

A confidential report by Maryland's state prosecutor says Aberdeen Police Chief John R. Jolley "voided" dozens of traffic and parking tickets in violation of state law and misappropriated money in a discretionary fund under his control.

But while the investigation found administrative improprieties, prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli said he does not intend to pursue criminal charges against Chief Jolley.

In an interview Friday, Mr. Montanarelli said his investigation did not find that Chief Jolley benefited personally from voiding tickets or that the chief "stole" money from the discretionary fund.

The July 2 report, based on a five-month investigation requested by Mayor Ruth Elliott, says Chief Jolley wrote three checks, totaling $150, against the fund in 1990 and 1991, to pay a #F personal credit card bill.

In addition, nearly $2,500 known to have been deposited in the fund cannot be accounted for, says the report, obtained by The Sun.

The report also says that during a three-year period ending January 1993, 20 checks made payable to cash were written against the fund, including one to pay $100 for tickets to a political fund-raiser for Joseph I. Cassilly, the Harford County state's attorney.

Mr. Montanarelli's 21-page report says, "The chief's administration of [the fund] leaves much to be desired from the standpoint of proper management of funds under his control.

"The chief's use of [the fund] to make a political contribution by buying tickets to a political fund-raiser and to make payments on his credit card balance cannot be justified," the report says. "These are clearly inappropriate expenditures of funds belonging the department. . . ."

In the report, Mr. Montanarelli said he could not "prove with certainty that he [Chief Jolley] converted any of the funds to his personal use."

In a telephone interview, Chief Jolley declined to comment specifically on the report's allegations, saying he had to consult with an attorney first.

"I never profited from anything," said Chief Jolley, 54, who became chief of the force of about 35 officers in 1989. "If [Mr. Montanarelli] felt I should have been charged, I would have been."

Mrs. Elliott would not disclose her recommendation for dealing with the report. She said the five-member City Council, which includes themayor, would discuss the report Tuesday.

"As I read the report, there is definitely misconduct," she said. "Ticket-fixing is definitely against the law, whether they are traffic or parking tickets. The report does talk about inappropriate, unjustified, and overlooked aspects of the management of tickets and city funds.

"I, as a public official . . . feel there are very serious facts surrounding this case which must be immediately addressed."

The president of the Aberdeen City Council, Ronald Kupferman, said last week that the report "exonerates" Chief Jolley.

Told that The Sun had a copy of the report, Mr. Kupferman said: "Well, from what I read so far, he has been exonerated of all criminal charges." Findings in the report "will be dealt with administratively," Mr. Kupferman said.

"He is still the most honest man I know," Mr. Kupferman said. "Absolutely, I stand by that."

Mr. Montanarelli's office also investigated two sales of confiscated weapons during Chief Jolley's tenure.

Its report says one sale, in December 1990, appeared to be lawful. But the other, in November 1992, "contained many irregularities" still being investigated, the report says, without elaboration.

Several sources said that the Harford grand jury is scheduled to hear testimony on the gun sale Tuesday.

The report says: "We have no evidence implicating the chief in any wrongdoing concerning the sale of the weapons."

The discretionary fund, established before Chief Jolley took office, was set up to buy coffee and to help staff during emergencies, according to Mr. Montanarelli's report.

Before February 1991, deposits were generated mainly through sales from a soda machine in the department and through payments for apprehending AWOL military personnel. But between February 1991 and February of this year, more than $6,300 in public money from various sources was deposited in the fund, the report says.

Chief Jolley, explaining the $150 he used from the fund to pay a credit card bill, said he was reimbursing himself for a cash loan to former Officer Ferrell Montaque, the report says. But Mr. Montaque, quoted in the report, said the loan "never happened."

On the voiding of tickets, Mr. Montanarelli's report says that state law and an attorney general's opinion "clearly indicate

that only a state's attorney [or representative] may void a traffic or parking citation in Maryland."

HTC An Aberdeen police officer, Charles Dvorak, was indicted by a Harford grand jury last month for allegedly taking a bribe to have a traffic ticket voided.

Asked whether Mr. Montanarelli's finding of widespread ticket-voiding by Chief Jolley would affect his prosecution of Officer Dvorak's case, Mr. Cassilly said it would not.

Concerning the $100 contribution to his campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1992, Mr. Cassilly said that Chief Jolley had initially written a check drawn on the department fund. But Mr. Cassilly said that the check was returned because he could accept money only from individuals.

"At a later time, he [Chief Jolley] paid cash for the tickets," Mr. Cassilly said.

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