- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 25, 2003

The District’s inspector general has released his findings of a yearlong investigation into charges of misconduct involving two D.C. agencies.

In a letter to the mayor and the D.C. Council, Charles C. Maddox said top officials in the Office of Campaign Finance, and the Elections and Ethics Board “used their positions improperly to enrich themselves” at taxpayers’ expense.

He said the OCF did not complete audits and selectively enforced campaign laws to shield certain elected officials from sanctions and embarrassment.

Mr. Maddox said that instead of cooperating, Elections Board Chairman Benjamin Wilson became a “defense attorney” for the agencies. Mr. Maddox also lashed out at the D.C. Council for trying to discredit the investigation and passing a measure designed to force him out of office.

• Here comes the judge

Virginia Delegate James F. Almand, an Arlington Democrat who is retiring from the General Assembly, was appointed to a circuit court judgeship last week by Gov. Mark Warner, Democrat.

Mr. Almand, 54, spent 25 years in the House of Delegates and was chairman of the Courts of Justice Committee from 1992 to 2001.

He received his bachelor’s degree and law degree from the College of William & Mary, and was a deputy sheriff and assistant commonwealth’s attorney before entering private practice.

Mr. Almand will replace retiring Judge Paul D. Sheridan in the 17th Circuit, which covers Arlington and Falls Church. His appointment takes effect Aug. 1.

• Ahead of the polls

Pollster Carol Arscott is taking a job with the Ehrlich administration.

Maryland Transportation Secretary Robert Flanagan has named her assistant secretary for policy, governmental affairs and communications.

She will be working with federal, state and local leaders to develop transportation policy and will oversee the department’s public communications.

Miss Arscott has been president of the Annapolis polling firm Gonzales/Arscott. She previously served as the press secretary for the Republican Caucus in the House of Delegates.

• It’s not over yet

The town election in Port Deposit, Md., two weeks ago may not be over after all.

Town Council member Cheryl Griffin, who lost a re-election bid by two votes, said she would meet with local elections supervisors to discuss a recount.

Miss Griffin said some voters used utility bills as proof of voter registration. She also said some local property owners who are not residents cast votes.

Four candidates competed for three seats. Incumbents Kerry Abrams and Brian Lafond and newcomer John Klisavage were declared the winners.

Voter turnout was 74 percent.

Town Clerk Lauren Kinder said that if Miss Griffin requests a recount, she might have to pay for it. The cost: $2,500.

• Candidate charged

A Gloucester County, Va., Board of Supervisors candidate was charged with assault and battery after a teenager said the man punched him, shouted racial slurs and threatened to kill him.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert D. Hicks said he requested a state police investigation after a county magistrate issued the warrant against James E. House, 60, the Republican nominee for the board seat held by John Adams Sr.

Shawn Woodlen, 17, filed a complaint with the magistrate Wednesday, saying Mr. House attacked him after a minor traffic accident.

The teenager, who is black, said Mr. House repeatedly called him a derogatory name referring to his race during the confrontation.

Mr. House acknowledged in an interview with WAVY-TV that he “got upset,” but he denied attacking the youth, threatening him or using racial slurs.

Brenda Sanderson, who was working in her yard when the accident occurred in front of her home, said Mr. House was “ranting and raving” and trying to reach into the teenager’s car. “He cursed him so bad,” she said.

Shawn, who said he was trying to pass Mr. House’s vehicle when the accident occurred, was charged with reckless driving.

This column is based in part on wire service reports.

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