POSTED: 11:36 a.m. HST, Jan 29, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 12:24 a.m. HST, Jan 30, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. » A judge found Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold guilty of misconduct in office for using his security detail to perform political campaign activities while on the job and for making a secretary and members of his detail empty his urine catheter bag for months in 2010.
Leopold is a former Hawaii state senator, representative and Board of Education member. He also ran for governor as a Republican in 1978, losing to Democrat George Ariyoshi.
Leopold has been suspended as county executive as a result of the judge's finding. John Hammond, the county's chief administrative officer, has been named acting county executive, Leopold's office said in a statement.
Judge Dennis Sweeney, speaking in a packed courtroom at the end of a highly publicized trial in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, described Leopold as "predatory and cruel" for forcing his secretary to empty the bag on her hands and knees up to three times a day for nine or 10 months. He also said Leopold's actions were "simply outrageous" and an example of "overbearing arrogance."
"This continuing abusive and outrageous conduct exceeded any right that any employer either private or public would have to demand of employees who were hired to perform office or security work," the judge said.
As for the political activities, Leopold was found guilty of requiring members of his security detail to put up campaign signs as he ran for re-election in 2010 when they were on duty as police officers. Leopold also required them to pick up campaign checks and compile dossiers on political opponents.
The Anne Arundel County Council has scheduled an emergency meeting today to introduce a bill to remove Leopold from office, said Jerry Walker, chairman of the council. A public hearing and vote is expected to take place at a regularly scheduled meeting Monday night, Walker said. The council would need five out of seven votes to remove Leopold, a 69-year-old Republican who is in his second term as county executive.
The judge acquitted Leopold of spending $10,000 in overtime pay to use members of security detail for his benefit. Leopold also was acquitted of using some of that overtime money to conceal a personal relationship with a woman.