Daily "Recent Prince George's County News" updates were suspended in early March 2016. They were compiled primarily from retweets of news headlines. Those retweets continue, but in unformatted and unarchived form at PG-Politics-Briefs. To follow such headlines on a current basis, follow @pgpolitics on Twitter.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

New PG Council Rewards Corruption; Picks Credit Card Abusers as Leaders

(Posted 5 Dec 2006)
Exum, Harrington take top Prince George’s Council posts

Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2006
by Judson Berger
Gazette Staff Writer
Prince George’s County Councilwoman Camille Exum (D-Dist. 7) of Seat Pleasant and Councilman David Harrington (D-Dist. 5) of Cheverly were named chair and vice chair of the County Council today.

The votes came during the first formal meeting since all members were sworn in yesterday.
This outrage comes as the state prosecutor is investigating misconduct by Exum and Harrington just days after the press reported on their gross misuse of county-issued credit cards for personal expenses. And despite all the Democratic Party claims about a Republican "Culture of Corruption," everyone involved in this case--the offenders and the seven coucil members who supported them--is a Democrat.

Four under investigation for alleged unauthorized use of county credit cards
Gazette, 30 Nov 2006 (Berger).
The controversy over Prince George’s County officials’ alleged misuse of their county-issued credit cards has moved into the office of State Prosecutor Robert Rohrbaugh, who agreed to review the accusations at State’s Attorney Glenn F. Ivey’s request.

The Washington Post last week detailed how certain officials charged the county for personal expenses, ranging from haircuts to hotel stays.
[. . .]
The Post singled out questionable expenses made by County Councilman David Harrington (D-Dist. 5), Councilwoman Camille Exum (D-Dist. 7), Councilman Thomas Hendershot (D-Dist. 3) and County Executive Jack B. Johnson.
[. . .]

Credit card déja vu
Gazette, 24 Nov 2006 (Editorial).
It is disheartening to learn Prince George’s County Council members and the county executive used their county-issued credit cards for personal expenses and, in some cases, never paid the county back.

What is more heart-wrenching, however, is that today — six years after some members of the former elected school board were chastised for misusing their credit cards – the violations have not come to an end and the safeguards in place are not sufficient.
[. . .]
However, a Nov. 20 report by The Washington Post identified credit card violations by County Executive Jack B. Johnson, Council Vice Chairman Camille Exum, and council members David Harrington and Thomas Hendershot.

The report comes months after an Aug. 31 Gazette story showed wide disparities in council members’ spending habits. For spending between November 2002 and June 30, 2006, Bland topped the list by spending $298,070, with council members Exum and David Harrington spending $195,357 and $154,316, respectively.
[. . .]
If Prince George’s is to ever overcome its reputation for ethical ‘‘lapses,” policies and processes regarding officials’ expenditures must be overhauled immediately.
[. . .]

Pr. George's Calls On Md. Prosecutor; Officials' Visa Bills Will Be Reviewed
Post, 28 Nov 2006 (Thompson).
Maryland State Prosecutor Robert A. Rohrbaugh will investigate whether Prince George's County officials misused county-issued credit cards by charging thousands of dollars in personal expenses.
[. . .]
over the past four years, county officials charged items including clothing and prescription drugs on the county-issued Visa cards, a violation of county policy. Council member David Harrington (D-Cheverly), for example, charged a $37.99 shirt, a $21 haircut and four six-month gym memberships for himself and three members of his staff totaling $1,200. He said he gave his employees the memberships in lieu of bonuses. The county was not reimbursed for the charges, according to records.

Council Vice Chairman Camille Exum (D-Seat Pleasant) billed the county for a $120.99 charge at a Jamaica resort after she said lost her personal card while there for a sorority sister's wedding. She said she repaid the county but could not provide proof.

She also charged the county for a $375 chauffeur-driven limousine while attending a conference in Northern California and $637 for a three-night "personal" stay at the Embassy Suites in Richmond.
[. . .]

What's Yours Is Mine; Especially if you live in Prince George's County -- and I am elected to serve you.
Post, 25 Nov 2006 (Editorial).
IN FAIRFAX County, the area's largest jurisdiction, elected members of the local governing body do not have county-issued credit cards. Ditto in Montgomery County. In both localities, politicians who incur expenses on county business pay with personal credit cards, then put in for reimbursement when appropriate. The top elected officials in both counties fly coach when they travel on business.

Not so in Prince George's County, where some local politicians treat county-issued credit cards as publicly funded lines of credit, and where County Executive Jack B. Johnson flies first class or business class at taxpayers' expense. In Prince George's, several County Council members seem to think there's no reason to reach into their own pockets for haircuts, gym memberships, rental cars, office decorations, family vacations or golf outings when they can whip out their county charge cards and reimburse the public in their own good time -- or not. And while Mr. Johnson and the council members insist that they have reimbursed the county when appropriate, neither they nor the county could always produce receipts, canceled checks or other documentation to prove it. Could they have used gold bullion for their purchases?

As reported by The Post's Cheryl W. Thompson, the worst offenders are council members David Harrington, Camille Exum and Thomas R. Hendershot. Mr. Harrington, who seems to use his county card whenever he's short on cash, has charged the county for dry cleaning, video rentals, a haircut and airplane tickets for his college-age son, among other expenses. Ms. Exum, the council's vice chair, has used her county charge card to pay for a chauffeur-driven limo for a two-hour trip with an aide in California. (A rental car is "just too small," she said.)
[. . .]
Prince George's Taxpayers Pick Up Officials' Personal Tabs; Records Show Thousands of Dollars Charged to County-Issued Cards in Violation of Policy
Post, 20 Nov 2006 (Thompson).
Prince George's County Council member David Harrington (D-Cheverly), needed a shirt for his pastor's funeral in 2003, so he bought one for $37.99 at a Temple Hills store called Uniforms & Lingerie Inc.

When he wanted a haircut, he got one for $21 at Hair Designers Plus in Hyattsville. And when he decided he wanted to get in shape, he bought a gym membership for $300 at the Prince George's Sports & Learning Complex in Landover.

Each time, taxpayers picked up the tab, according to county records.

Harrington is one of several Prince George's officials, including County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D), who have used county-issued credit cards to pay for personal expenses totaling thousands of dollars, violating county policy. Johnson, for example, charged taxpayers for a $236 stay at the Courtyard by Marriott in Jamaica, N.Y., when he was attending his father-in-law's funeral in 2004, records show.

Council Vice Chairman Camille Exum (D-Seat Pleasant) charged taxpayers $637 in June 2004 for three nights at the Embassy Suites in Richmond, a stay she described as "personal."

County records show that none of those charges was repaid.

In other cases, officials repaid the county for personal charges, but only after months and sometimes more than a year. Harrington, for example, took 19 months to repay a $36 charge at an eye care center in December 2003, according to records.
[. . .]

No comments:

Post a Comment