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NEWS
By Larry Carson and Larry Carson,SUN STAFF | February 6, 2004
Robert J. Antonetti Sr., the Howard County elections administrator who defied a state Court of Appeals order to pay an ethics fine incurred during his tenure in Prince George's County and sued the county elections board last year for more pay, has settled the case and agreed to retire March 31 -- four weeks after Maryland's presidential primary. His departure will end a tumultuous 3 1/2 -year term marked by legal wrangling over his refusal to pay an ethics fine, the fatal heart attack of the county board chairman during a close 2002 vote recount, and the first use of the electronic voting technology that Antonetti publicly doubted could be ready on time.
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NEWS
By David Nitkin and David Nitkin,SUN STAFF | November 8, 2003
A State House lobbyist says he has been cleared of allegations that his relationship with two clients with opposing roles in the debate over touch-screen electronic voting posed a conflict of interest. "I am extremely gratified that the State Ethics Commission performed a thorough and thoughtful review of the allegations before it ruled that there is no `factual basis to pursue the matter any further,'" said lobbyist Gilbert J. Genn, a former Montgomery County delegate, in a written statement released yesterday.
NEWS
By David Nitkin and David Nitkin,SUN STAFF | September 27, 2003
Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. asked the State Ethics Commission yesterday to examine the relationships of a well-known Annapolis lobbyist after learning that he represents competing interests in the debate over whether Maryland should buy costly new touch-screen voting machines. Top Ehrlich aides said they did not learn until this week that Gilbert J. Genn, who was registered to lobby on behalf of Diebold Election Systems, the manufacturer of the electronic voting machines, was also authorized to represent Science Applications International Corp.
NEWS
By David Nitkin and David Nitkin,SUN STAFF | September 17, 2003
Annapolis lobbyist and convicted felon Gerard E. Evans cannot be punished under the tougher state ethics laws inspired by his crimes because the regulations don't apply retroactively, a judge ruled in a decision released yesterday. Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Ronald A. Silkworth determined that the State Ethics Commission overreached its authority in October when it revoked Evans' lobbyist registration -- certification he received less than a month after leaving a halfway house. The commission had decided that Evans should be prohibited from practicing in the town where he was once a $1 million-a-year earner, because he had been convicted of "a crime of moral turpitude arising from lobbying activities," which, under the law, renders him illegible to lobby.
TOPIC
By Ivan Penn and Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF | July 6, 2003
The message is simple: lobbyists who run afoul of Maryland law these days will face severe punishment. The message was loud and clear last week as the State Ethics Commission imposed a $5,000 fine and 10-month lobbying suspension on high-powered political broker Bruce C. Bereano for a contingency fee agreement he had with a client - a violation of the law, the commission said. It was the second major sanction handed down by the panel since state lawmakers gave it the authority to punish illegal activity by lobbyists two years ago. Last October, the commission barred one-time Annapolis powerhouse Gerard E. Evans from representing clients before the General Assembly because of his 2000 conviction on charges that he bilked his clients by concocting a phony threat of harmful legislation.
NEWS
By Ivan Penn and Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF | July 2, 2003
Some of Maryland lobbyist Bruce C. Bereano's clients voiced concern yesterday about this week's ruling that he violated state ethics law, but promised to stand with him -- at least for now. "We stick by Bruce," said Greg TenEyck, a spokesman for Safeway Inc.'s eastern division. "We've worked with Bruce for a number of years. I trust him. I believe he is innocent of his charges." Robin Tomechko, chairwoman of the Maryland State Association of Big Brothers/Big Sisters, which includes seven chapters across the state, said her organization plans to discuss the matter at a forthcoming meeting.
NEWS
By Ivan Penn and David Nitkin and Ivan Penn and David Nitkin,SUN STAFF | July 1, 2003
The State Ethics Commission has ruled that high-powered Annapolis lobbyist Bruce C. Bereano violated Maryland law in a business agreement with one of his clients. The commission imposed a $5,000 fine and a 10-month suspension of his license. Bereano said he received the ruling at midday yesterday and said he plans to file his appeal in state Circuit Court within the next 30 days. The commission, which is expected to announce its ruling today, found that Bereano violated state ethics law in a 2001 agreement with Mercer Ventures Inc., which paid him a percentage of new business that he brought in for the company.
NEWS
By Ivan Penn and Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF | June 10, 2003
The chairman of the Maryland Ethics Commission has resigned, citing an increase in his civic obligations that might pose a conflict of interest. Charles O. Monk II, managing partner in the Baltimore office of the law firm Saul Ewing LLP, announced his resignation to coincide with his appointment as treasurer of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The BSO installed him in the post at its annual meeting yesterday. The 54-year-old Baltimore resident said the BSO lobbies the state for money, so as chairman of the ethics commission, he would be regulating himself.
NEWS
By Tim Craig and Tim Craig,SUN STAFF | May 15, 2003
Maryland ranks high among states for the quality of its disclosure regulations for lobbyists but still gets a poor overall grade because the information needs to be more accessible to the public, according to a government watchdog organization based in Washington. The Center for Public Integrity gave Maryland a "D" for efforts to regulate lobbyists and make their activities available for public viewing. The state's sub-par grade was still better than those of 41 other states, highlighting the low priority of lobbying reform in most state legislatures.
NEWS
By Greg Garland and Greg Garland,SUN STAFF | January 30, 2003
Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has approved $30,000 for the state ethics commission to hire former state Attorney General Stephen H. Sachs as its lawyer in a case against lobbyist Gerard E. Evans. Evans served time in prison after his July 2000 conviction on federal fraud charges, and the commission wants to bar him from representing clients before the General Assembly. Evans' attorney argues that the commission is trying to retroactively apply a new ethics law to improperly strip him of his license to practice as a lobbyist.
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