Police reviewing claims against delegate

Woman says Republican McConkey tricked her into signing over townhouse to him

October 25, 2006|By Anica Butler | Anica Butler,sun reporter

Anne Arundel County police are looking into whether Del. Tony McConkey might have engaged in criminal acts during a real estate deal that he is being sued over, although a police spokesman said that the review is not "a full-blown investigation."

Police said they are reviewing claims by Teresa Milligan, 42, that the Severna Park Republican committed foreclosure-rescue fraud, in violation of a new law that has civil and criminal penalties. She filed a civil suit Monday in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court alleging that McConkey tricked her into signing over her townhouse to him.

The office of Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee received a complaint about McConkey on the matter, which it forwarded to the county Police Department, according to a police spokesman.

"A detective has been assigned to conduct a preliminary inquiry to determine the facts surrounding the allegations and to determine if a criminal offense has occurred, and if so, what law or laws may have been violated," Lt. David Waltemeyer said yesterday.

After the police inquiry, Waltemeyer said, the Police Department will consult with the state's attorney's office to determine which agency would investigate.

A complaint against McConkey also has been sent to the state attorney general's office, but a spokesman said yesterday that he could not comment on whether the office is investigating.

Reached yesterday, McConkey said that he had not been informed that police, or anyone else, were looking into the matter.

"I don't see why they would. It's a real estate matter," said McConkey. "I don't think there's any basis for this."

McConkey, 42, has denied any wrongdoing. He maintains that he acquired the home legally and is evicting Milligan and her family - a 16-year-old daughter and an 8-month-old grandchild - for failure to pay rent. Her suit, he said, is an attempt to stop the eviction.

The Protection of Homeowners in Foreclosure Act - which McConkey voted for when it passed the General Assembly last year - created criminal penalties for those found guilty of foreclosure-rescue fraud. Violating the law is a misdemeanor that carries up to a three-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine.

In 1994, McConkey received probation before judgment on a burglary charge stemming from a dispute with tenants. In 1995, he agreed to be disbarred as a lawyer after a failed real estate deal in Prince George's County in the late 1980s.

A delegate since 2003, McConkey is up for re-election Nov. 7. Among his opponents are Democrat Patricia Weathersbee, wife of the state's attorney. Also running in the two-member district in central Anne Arundel County are Republican James King and Democrat Paul G. Rudolph.

McConkey and Chuck Gast, chairman of the Anne Arundel County Republican State Central Committee, said they believe that the civil suit, and subsequent inquiries, are politically motivated.

"Anybody can throw out charges and allegations, and half the time they're meritless and baseless," Gast said, adding that he thought the pending case would have no effect on the election. "It's up to a judge and jury to determine the facts. ... The facts will be borne out at a trial."

A hearing on Milligan's eviction is scheduled for Nov. 2.

No court dates have been set in the civil case because McConkey has 30 days from the time he is served with the civil complaint to respond.

According to court records, McConkey faced a similar suit in July 2005. Neither the plaintiffs nor their attorneys could be reached, and the outcome of the case is unclear from court records. However, state records show that McConkey purchased the home in dispute, in the 1900 block of Tilghman Drive in Crofton, in May 2005 for $330,000 and sold it in July 2006 for $400,000.

"I won it," McConkey said of the lawsuit, without offering details. "And I'll win this one, too, but it will take time."

anica.butler@baltsun.com

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