Dixon aide inquiry seems not tied to city

November 21, 2007|By John Fritze | John Fritze,Sun reporter

Allegations of inappropriate behavior leveled against Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's former communications director did not originate from a City Hall employee - suggesting the accusation is focused on activities outside of his official city duties.

Anthony W. McCarthy, a close aide to Dixon and the mayor's chief spokesman, was placed on leave Monday after the administration learned he is being investigated by Baltimore County police for a complaint to the department of "inappropriate behavior."

In addition to serving as a top aide at City Hall, McCarthy was a pastor at Unity Fellowship Church of Baltimore, a Pen Lucy church formerly located in Mount Vernon.

FOR THE RECORD - An article in yesterday's Maryland section on Anthony W. McCarthy misstated his former position with the Afro American newspaper. He had been editor of the newspaper.
The Sun regrets the error.

"We understand there are allegations currently being investigated by the Baltimore County police department. Facts are still coming out," the Rev. Harris Thomas, the founding pastor of the church, wrote in an e-mail to The Sun. "We have no comment at this time."

Thomas did not respond to questions about whether McCarthy, 39, is still preaching at the church or whether the allegations stemmed from the church. McCarthy has not responded to e-mails and phone messages the past two days.

Citing the pending investigation - and noting that no charges had been filed - a Baltimore County police spokesman declined to comment on the case. Speaking about the allegations for the first time yesterday, Dixon would not answer specific questions.

"I really can't talk about the allegations. I'm a little in shock and disappointed, and right now we really have to keep focused on moving the city forward," Dixon said. "I'm not going to comment any more about it. The allegations are there and we're going to stay focused on the city."

Sterling Clifford, chief spokesman for the city Police Department who is filling in as spokesman in the mayor's office, said that there is nothing to suggest the complaint stemmed from City Hall or that it involved any city-related function.

City Hall officials said Dixon learned of the investigation over the weekend and convened a meeting to address the matter Sunday. McCarthy, who receives a $93,600 salary, was placed on leave.

McCarthy, a former talk show host on WYPR-FM and publisher of The Afro American newspaper, signed on as Dixon's spokesman in January. He was the only member of Dixon's communications staff authorized to speak on the administration's behalf and was considered a close adviser.

john.fritze@baltsun.com

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