GOP urged candidate to rethink House bid due to criminal record

October 18, 2002|By Linda Linley | Linda Linley,SUN STAFF

Four Baltimore County Republican leaders took the unusual step last month of urging 7th District candidate Richard K. Impallaria to reconsider his candidacy for a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates because of concerns about his criminal record.

Del. Alfred W. Redmer Jr., the House minority leader; Sen. Andrew P. Harris of the 7th District; Del. James Ports Jr. of the 8th District; and R. Karl Aumann, district director for GOP gubernatorial candidate Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s congressional office, met with Impallaria before the Sept. 25 deadline for a candidate to withdraw.

"They wanted to verify some of the charges about me that they had received in the mail and to ask me about rethinking my candidacy," Impallaria said. "But I never thought about resigning."

Impallaria's record shows nine cases involving 27 charges, most of which were not prosecuted for unrecorded reasons or were dismissed, according to Maryland District Court documents.

The charges include four counts of assault with intent to murder stemming from allegations that he tried to run down four people, including his mother and brother, with a car after an argument at his home in Joppatowne in Harford County in 1982.

"The referenced incident [involving his family] happened 20 years ago," Impallaria, 39, said in a written statement. "This is a non-issue in this campaign. The mistakes of my youth are just that."

Records confirm that he served three years of probation on a battery charge in that incident.

He said he is "being harassed and singled out with charges from 20 years ago because I stand up and fight."

Impallaria said he "didn't remember the other charges, but back in the '80s, the police used to harass kids."

Harris said he told Impallaria at the September meeting what the candidate would be facing if he stayed in the race.

"We sat down with him and told him his life would be put under a microscope," Harris said.

Democrats have not made an issue of Impallaria's record. They declined to comment for this article.

Impallaria thinks he will be a good representative.

"I'm not perfect and I learn from my mistakes. I am running on my own name and own reputation," he said.

Impallaria first came to the forefront in 2000 when he helped lead the fight against Senate Bill 509, a plan - later defeated in a referendum - that would have allowed county officials to condemn land for revitalization in parts of Baltimore County.

But he made enemies a year after S.B. 509 was defeated, when he tried unsuccessfully to sell land in Essex for $1 million to the county for redevelopment.

Some of the charges against Impallaria included:

Two counts of assault, two counts of battery and two counts of malicious destruction of property in May 1982.

Two counts of assault, two counts of battery and two counts of malicious destruction of property in Harford County in June 1982.

Bribery of a public employee in Baltimore in 1987.

Assault and battery in Harford in May 1985.

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