Madonna began House career as promising young legislator

August 02, 1998|By Walter F. Roche Jr.

When he was first elected to the General Assembly in 1974, William J. Madonna Jr. was, in the words of a colleague, "a bright young man."

"He is straightforward, and he is going to do a fine job," then-state Sen. Julian L. Lapides, a reform-minded Democrat from Baltimore, told a reporter.

Like Lapides, Madonna, now 46, was a member of the Mount Royal Democratic Club. He served in the House of Delegates until 1978, when he went down to lopsided defeat by a candidate backed by a rival political group, the New Democratic Club.

Madonna made the headlines at least twice during his tenure in office -- not for work in Annapolis but for his efforts in helping police apprehend robbery suspects in his district. In one case, he trailed three muggers who had robbed a man and waved down a police officer to arrest the suspects.

Madonna was also the unsuccessful sponsor of a bill that would have forced candidates for public office to disclose their criminal records. The bill was killed in committee in 1976.

Despite his 1978 re-election defeat, Madonna remained active in politics, winning respect as a key organizer in Hampden. He also owned a bar in Waverly.

Meanwhile, Madonna ran into financial problems. He filed for bankruptcy and lost his Greenmount Avenue bar and other properties in foreclosure sales.

An Atlantic City casino also sued Madonna, charging that his checks had bounced.

Pub Date: 8/02/98

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