Brewster campaign aide accused of defacing signs CAMPAIGN 1994

October 05, 1994|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Sun Staff Writer

A member of Democratic congressional candidate Gerry L. Brewster's campaign committee has been accused of spray-painting obscenities on campaign signs belonging to Mr. Brewster's opponent.

Republican Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., opposing Mr. Brewster in the 2nd District race, is pressing criminal destruction of property charges against Brewster campaign worker Brian Henry Davis, 38.

In a police report, Baltimore County Officer Charles Bury Jr. stated that he saw a man talking on a mobile phone while spray-painting an Ehrlich sign in the 300 block of Allegheny Ave., Towson, about 9:30 p.m. Thursday -- two blocks east of Mr. Brewster's home. Another Ehrlich sign at the same site also was defaced.

When the officer approached, the report stated, the man dropped the spray can and said that "four kids did it."

"I told the subject that I just observed him painting the sign," Officer Bury wrote. "Subject then looked at the ground and didn't say anything."

The report stated that the man ran but was apprehended.

Mr. Davis, who was served with a criminal summons last night at his Hunt Valley home on the misdemeanor charges, vehemently denied that he sprayed the signs. He said that he went to a building where the Ehrlich signs are located to pick up a check from Towson attorney Thomas Alderman, who is part owner of the building. The check wasn't there, he said, and he was talking to Mr. Alderman on the phone about the missing check when he saw the defaced signs.

Mr. Davis said that four youths ran as he approached and that he found the spray can on the ground. He retrieved the can and was holding it when Officer Bury arrived, he said. Mr. Davis denied that he ran.

Mr. Davis said that he "absolutely" did not spray the signs but that he did push the spray-can button to see if the paint matched what was on the signs.

"I don't need the aggravation," he said. "I run three businesses in this town," including a restaurant and a trucking company.

Mr. Alderman confirmed that he was talking to Mr. Davis on the phone when the officer arrived and the line went dead.

When Officer Bury told Mr. Alderman that he had witnessed the spray-painting, the attorney said that maybe Mr. Davis was doing it to play a joke on him as the property owner, and not Mr. Ehrlich.

But Mr. Ehrlich said yesterday that he did not think the sign graffiti was funny. He said several other signs at his campaign headquarters in Lutherville were defaced the same night. In each case, the same three words were used. One was "Evil." The other two were an obscenity.

Mr. Ehrlich said he had to replace the Allegheny Avenue signs, which cost about $150 total. "It's annoying and expensive," he said. "We don't have time for this stuff."

John Olsen, the Brewster campaign's director of operations, said he was aware of the accusation against Mr. Davis, an adviser on port issues.

"I don't know that he did it," Mr. Olsen said. But even if true, he said, it was something Mr. Brewster and the rest of the campaign neither knew about nor endorsed.

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