Mitchell files for personal bankruptcy

Loan linked to ethics case among ex-senator's debts

January 11, 2003|By Walter F. Roche Jr. and Ivan Penn | Walter F. Roche Jr. and Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

Former state Sen. Clarence M. Mitchell IV filed for personal bankruptcy this week, listing assets of $50,000 and debts of up to $500,000.

The Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition was filed Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Baltimore and lists five creditors, including an investment firm that figured in an ethics probe of the Baltimore Democrat while he was a state senator.

Mitchell was defeated by more than a 2-1 margin in last fall's Democratic primary. He subsequently became a paid adviser to the campaign of Gov.-elect Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

Debtors listed in the bankruptcy case include Narragansett Development, Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., Verizon, Enterprise Leasing and Cedardale Investment Associates. The amounts owed to the various firms were not listed, and Mitchell's bankruptcy attorney, Marsden Coates, did not respond yesterday to a request for comment.

The debt owed to Cedardale is the result of a $10,000 loan Mitchell accepted in 1997 from bus company owner Joe Louis Gladney. City bail bondsman John Griffin helped arrange the loan, and another bail bondsman, Robert M. Campbell, co-signed. At the time, Mitchell was in the House of Delegates.

Although Mitchell sponsored and voted on legislation affecting the bail bond and bus service industries, he did not disclose the loan agreement until early last year - a violation of state ethics law. As a result, the General Assembly's Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics issued a harsh, public reprimand against the veteran legislator.

State Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli conducted a separate investigation but decided not to pursue a criminal case against Mitchell after concluding there was "no provable criminal conduct."

An initial meeting of creditors in the bankruptcy case has been scheduled for Feb. 14.

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