Prosecutors investigating election mail Anonymous letters sent last week accuse Hammond, husband

Bumper stickers appear

They call alderman 'mean,' urge voters to reject her at polls

November 03, 1997|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

The Anne Arundel state's attorney's office is investigating anonymous letters mailed last week to residents of downtown Annapolis alleging personal and professional improprieties by Democratic Alderman Louise Hammond and her husband.

Another attack was aimed yesterday at Hammond, who is running for re-election in Ward 1 tomorrow.

White and red bumper stickers were plastered throughout downtown Annapolis on trash bins, newspaper boxes, a museum display case and a few of her campaign signs, urging voters not to cast their ballots for her.

On Thursday, many voters in Ward 1 received a mailing accusing the alderman of improprieties in office and her husband, John Hammond, of involvement in a hit-and-run accident and other alleged offenses. The three letters in the mailing also criticized other Annapolis and Anne Arundel County officials.

Neither the stickers nor the mailing listed the people responsible. Elections Board Chairman Richard E. Israel said it is a crime under city election law to circulate campaign literature anonymously.

Deputy State's Attorney William D. Roessler said yesterday. "I talked with the investigating unit to start looking into it [today]."

Israel said yesterday: "I gave him [Roessler] my copy of the letters that my neighbor had picked up with tongs so as not to get any fingerprints on it. Then I gave him information that might be pertinent to the investigation so we can get to the bottom of this."

Along with the three letters in Thursday's mailing was a bumper sticker that said, "Just Say No!! Tell the Hammonds NO."

The envelope had no return address but had a sticker on the back quoting President John F. Kennedy: "If we make peaceful revolution impossible, we make violent revolution inevitable."

Inside, a letter on pink paper titled "Who Dunnit" reprints an article from the Capital newspaper about a hit-and-run accident March 1 that resulted in the death of a 29-year-old Glen Burnie man.

After the article, the letter alleges that Mr. Hammond was involved in the accident and implies -- without naming him -- that county Police Chief Larry W. Tolliver helped Mr. Hammond out.

Two other letters in the mailing list 30 reasons voters should reject Mrs. Hammond in the election tomorrow under the heading CUTTHROAT, for Citizens United to Toss the Hammonds Right Out of Annapolis Today. The letters accuse her of wasting taxpayer money, accepting "payola" from businesses and other things.

The stickers discovered yesterday say in part, " Louise Hammond is Mean. Vote Alderman Hammond out of City Council office on Nov. 4th."

The two incidents have outraged many in the community and prompted Hammond's Republican opponent, Robert L. Malone, to convey his support.

"Believe me, the second I heard about it, I called Louise," said Malone, 29, head cook and kitchen manager at Riordan's Saloon. "She knows I had nothing to do with it. I think it's a disgrace that something like that happened in a small town like this. This negative campaigning is not what I wanted at all."

The Hammonds' telephone has been ringing nonstop since Thursday. Mr. Hammond, who represented Ward 1 before becoming county financial officer, said the latest attack upset his wife, but the couple have been comforted by the outpouring of support from residents.

And though his wife has received other hate mail during her time in office, this by far has been the worst, he said.

Mrs. Hammond believes some good might result from the negativity: "What it will probably do is remind people that there is an election going on and get them to turn out to vote."

Pub Date: 11/03/97

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