Hutchinson bounced Nov. check to election board

March 01, 1994|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Sun Staff Writer

Del. Leslie Hutchinson, who has insisted that her well-publicized bad debts are behind her, bounced a check for $19.30 at the Baltimore County election board in November.

When a reporter asked her about it yesterday, the Essex Democrat rushed to the county finance office, where officials said she had paid the bill, plus a $25 bad-check charge.

"This is no lie. I thought the check had cashed," she said of the original draft. "I just got paid, and I'm heading to Towson right now to pay this. Nobody's more upset about this than I am."

The original personal check, dated Nov. 24, 1993, was made out to the county government and was turned over to the finance office. Ms. Hutchinson said yesterday that she bought maps and statistical information for a project in a class she is taking at the University of Baltimore.

The county turned the check over to its bank for payment, and two attempts were made to collect from the bank on which the check was drawn, Berkeley Federal Bank and Trust of Wilmington, Del. The last attempt was made Jan. 21, when the check came back stamped "Not Sufficient Funds -- Do not present again," county officials said.

Kurt Louderback, supervisor of the county's revenue division, said he sent Ms. Hutchinson a letter dated Jan. 28, notifying her that she owed a $25 fine in addition to the $19.30. He said that he received no reply until Ms. Hutchinson appeared in person yesterday. Mr. Louderback said he has asked county election officials to accept no more checks from the delegate.

Ms. Hutchinson said yesterday that she had closed her account with Berkeley Federal and was unaware that the check had not cleared until receiving the county's dunning letter.

She said she received the Jan. 28 letter within the last week, speculating that the weather and the transfer of her mail to Annapolis during the 90-day legislative session might have delayed it.

Ms. Hutchinson has had financial problems over the last three years, including a string of unpaid bills to hotels and other creditors incurred over the last three legislative sessions in Annapolis.

She also ran into legal problems after she was caught driving her unregistered and uninsured car last April on a suspended driver's license. She failed to appear in traffic court seven times over the years, which resulted in four license suspensions.

In September, she was fined $1,500 and given a 14-month suspended jail term for her traffic offenses. She has claimed since then that she had paid all her bills and had turned over a new leaf.

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