To the stunning downfall of Cecil County State’s Attorney Ellis Rollins III, who, in the matter of a week, went from frontrunner to a Cecil County Circuit Court judgeship to simply fighting to save his name amidst charges of indecent exposure. Following last week’s Maryland State’s Attorneys’ Association convention in Ocean City, Rollins was allegedly spotted in the nude on his hotel balcony, raising the ire of tourists in a nearby condominium complex. Rollins and his wife are fighting that notion, however, saying they are the true victims because they were spied upon in their hotel room by others and deny that he was ever on the balcony. The strange case has captured national attention and unfortunately it was not good timing for the state’s attorney’s chances at a judicial appointment. As we await more facts in the case to be revealed, we’re simply left wondering how all of this managed to happen at such a time.
To concerns raised by Rising Sun’s contracted town accountant over the lackadaisical reporting of town finances, including improper coding of money into the correct budget item, misunderstanding of software programs and procedures, and an overall indifference and resistance by the staff to make changes. “Accuracy and supporting documents seems to be a low priority when it should be of paramount importance in order to maintain proper internal controls,” the accountant wrote to town officials. Other areas of concern was the nearly $20,000 in arrear accounts that may not have been accurate and more than $1,000 in late fees due to tardiness in mail opening, among other issues. Officials blamed a lack of proper oversight, as dictated by town policy, and the resignation of two town employees tasked with financial oversight for some of the issues. They say that the workflow issues have since been assessed and corrected, but it brings into question why poor policy was allowed to continue for so long?
To the implications of the unanimous Supreme Court decision in the graft case against former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the court, narrowed the definition of what sort of conduct can serve as the basis of a corruption prosecution. He said only formal and concrete government actions counted — filing a lawsuit, say, or making an administrative determination. Routine political courtesies like arranging meetings or urging underlings to consider a matter, he added, generally do not, even when the people seeking those favors give the public officials gifts or money. McDonnell, a Republican who served from 2010 to 2014, was charged with using his office to help Jonnie R. Williams Sr., who had provided the McDonnells with luxury products, loans and vacations worth more than $175,000 when McDonnell was governor. Because the governor was unsuccessful in advancing his benefactor’s interest, however, the Supreme Court found that it could not be determined bribery. The implications of the case will make it harder for prosecutors to try politicians in cases of suspected bribery or kickbacks, unless the case built against him or her is overwhelming.