Young cooperating with inquiry, spokesman says Del. Mitchell criticizes attitude of committee

January 04, 1998|By C. Fraser Smith | C. Fraser Smith,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Laura Sullivan contributed to this article.

A spokesman insisted again yesterday that state Sen. Larry Young is cooperating fully with a probe of 20 possible ethics violations -- and suggested that the investigating panel had adopted an "adversarial attitude" before its scheduled hearing Tuesday.

The panel's chairman, Del. Kenneth C. Montague Jr., reported Friday that Young had supplied only about 10 percent of the documents requested of him. Del. Clarence M. Mitchell IV, Young's spokesman and Democratic colleague in West Baltimore's 44th District, termed Montague's remarks "questionable and extremely bothersome."

Mitchell, speaking at a news conference before a $50-a-ticket fund-raiser for Young's legal defense fund, said the senator's supporters hope the investigation "is not a fishing expedition" designed to damage him.

Montague, a Democrat from north-central Baltimore, said yesterday that he had no mission other than finding the truth. He said he would have said nothing publicly about the undelivered documents if one of Young's lawyers had not claimed earlier that all the requested information had been provided.

That assertion, repeated last night, is not the case, Montague said. Several requests for compliance have gone unanswered, he said. Additional materials were promised by noon Friday but did not arrive, Montague said.

"For the sake of the process the public has a right to know the truth," Montague said. "I have a responsibility, right and a duty to inform the public of the truth as I see it."

Montague said he did not think the information requested imposed an unfair burden on Young -- and, indeed, could help him.

"Nuances can make a world of difference in these things. Most people provide all information they can because often it's very helpful to them," he said.

The 12-member ethics panel asked Young last month to respond to the possible violations based on an investigation by The Sun that reported he had used his legislative position to benefit three companies he created.

Legislative leaders have asked Montague's committee to report its findings by Jan. 14, opening day of the 1998 General Assembly session. Depending on that report, Young could lose his two committee chairmanships -- of the Senate subcommittee on health and the Senate Executive Nominations Committee.

At the same time, the state prosecutor is investigating the accusations against Young.

Sponsors of last night's event, held at the Baltimore Grand in the 400 block of W. Fayette St., would not say how many people attended. Mitchell asked a Sun reporter to leave the ballroom area.

Young's supporters, many of whom wore tuxedos and evening gowns, included Raymond V. Haysbert, a prominent Baltimore businessman and political figure.

Haysbert said he expects Young to be exonerated. "I just wonder if this isn't some rush to judgment," he said. "And there's so much at stake, particularly the health care needs of the poor he has championed."

Other guests included Young's 44th District ally, Democratic Del. Ruth M. Kirk; former Del. John D. Jefferies; and Marvin H. Masterson, an employee in the office of Maryland's secretary of state who has worked as advance man for Gov. Parris N. Glendening and Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

Pub Date: 1/04/98

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