Leopold Resigns, Acknowledges 'Serious Errors in Judgment'

The Anne Arundel County Council no longer needs to vote on the removal of John Leopold from office after a judge found him guilty this week of two counts of misconduct.

UPDATE (3:20 p.m.)—John Leopold resigned as Anne Arundel County Executive on Friday, after a judge found him guilty earlier this week on two counts of misconduct. 

The Pasadena Republican said in a resignation letter that he was stepping down "with great sadness and regret," but that it was a necessary to allow the county to get back to business. 

"It was a compelling and humbling experience for me to sit through two weeks of the trial and listen intently to the words expressed by the court," Leopold wrote. "I acknowledge the serious errors in judgment that I made and do not want these errors in judgment to further distract the County from its ability to move forward in a positive way." 

The resignation means the county council will no longer need to vote on his removal, though the guilty verdict did come with an automatic suspension from office. Leopold previously appointed the county's Chief Administrative Officer John Hammond to take his place on an interim basis. 

A vote by the council regarding Leopold's removal had been scheduled for Monday evening. 

Leopold is scheduled to be sentenced on March 14. State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt told the Baltimore Sun that the resignation would have no impact on his sentencing recommendation and that it was not part of deal to receive a lesser sentence. 

The council is expected to next take up the issue of appointing a replacement. 

On Tuesday, Circuit Court Judge Dennis M. Sweeney found Leopold guilty of two counts of misconduct following a trial that featured lurid details about his use of security detail and treatment of staff. He was found guilty of misconduct on one charge relating to his use of a secretary and other staff to empty his catheter bag into a coffee can following back surgery. 

He was also found guilty of improperly using his security detail to perform work on his re-election campaign in 2010. 

"I think it was the right thing to do and it just puts us further down the road towards getting his replacement and putting this all behind us," said Councilman Jamie Benoit (D-District 4), who had planned to vote for Leopold's removal. 

County Council Chairman Jerry Walker (R-District 7) agreed. 

"He did the right thing," he said.

Councilman John Grasso (R–District 2) said he knew Leopold would step down and supports his decision, but chalked the former county executive's actions up to a lapse in judgement.

"He's a human being—he makes mistakes like most men do," Grasso told Patch. "But if you get past all of the drama, and you look at what he has done as county executive, he has done a great job."

Grasso said he was opposed to simply ousting Leopold when the council was scheduled to meet on Monday, and preferred to wait until his sentencing next month.

"Evidently, John got himself into some things that weren't quite legal," he said. "What my colleagues wanted to do is put a resolution in that was illegal too."

The council last year updated the county charter to clarify that Leopold would be immediately suspended and could be removed from office following a guilty verdict.

What's less clear is the issue of Leopold's pension. The charter specifies that a county executive may be ineligible to receive post-employment benefits if he or she is removed from office, but does not indicate whether he or she would retain benefits if he or she resigned. 

Amy February 01, 2013 at 08:14 PM
Amen !
Shane Scott February 01, 2013 at 08:26 PM
Since he resigned I guess he will receive retirement and benefits? If so that is a perfect example of a broken system. He should not receive .01 cents from now on! He is a first class piece of crap!
Mike February 01, 2013 at 08:28 PM
Mr. Lemke, thanks for the quick report. Any word on the pension impact or non-impact of this? Are we taxpayers stuck paying for Leopold forever? If so, how do we change that? Thanks, Mike
Edward Charles February 01, 2013 at 08:45 PM
Maybe thinking about jail time has Backseat Johnny scared. Surprisingly decent of him to resign and let us forget about his pension, the many careers and lives he ruined, and the costs of the other complains still in the Courts. Throw in the cost of the County Office of Law in defending Leopold and the bill for Leopold's poor decisions will cost the taxpayers well over $1,000,000. Now its up to Johnny Grasso to be the main circus act Monday night. Get your popcorn ready!
Steven Conn February 01, 2013 at 08:54 PM
Good riddens, and I hope he is not allowed to collect pensions or retirement, he has had enough time sucking off the government teet.
Jeffrey West February 01, 2013 at 09:07 PM
Agree - wish I could find where those stipulations are and the pay-scale, etc... anyone have a link to that info? Can;t seem to easily locate it on the NET. I think everyone would support having consequences for committing unethical acts while on our payroll. Right?
kingofodenton3 February 01, 2013 at 09:13 PM
What is wrong about having staff emptying your catheter bag?
Edward Charles February 01, 2013 at 09:28 PM
Why not hire a nurse? Oh, because that would have come out of Johnny's pocket! Instead, Johnny decides to let the County government pay his staff to perform duties not in their job description. You do realize the Court decided this was a criminal act committed by Johnny? Feeling enlightened?
kingofodenton3 February 01, 2013 at 09:35 PM
@Edward. That was my attempt at sarcasm.
John February 01, 2013 at 10:11 PM
Yet another politician who thought everyone was supposed to serve him when it's his job to serve the people.
Carol B February 01, 2013 at 11:09 PM
NO SEVERANCE. NO RETIREMENT. PAY BACK THE EQUIVALENT OF THE COUNTY SALARIES HE EXPENDED FOR PERSONAL USE. "I'm humbled" doesn't cut it. Every arrogant self-serving politician (of whatever stripe) needs to be put on notice that we aren't going to fund their "play dates" or their mistresses or their abuse of the power that comes with their positions anymore.
Margaret Evans February 02, 2013 at 01:12 AM
Hodgson and Robey need to pay us back also. Why they are not going to court is beyond me. They are just as crooked.
Safety first February 02, 2013 at 05:37 AM
I agree 100%
Safety first February 02, 2013 at 05:40 AM
Now Now. Both parties do that all the time. Not saying it is right. Just saying they all are crap.
jerel mccumbers February 02, 2013 at 11:28 AM
Well gee. I guess we should be happy that a good man has resigned. I for one don't think this holds a candle to some of the crap the Dimwitocrats have done. Ask a trooper to empty your catheter bag? So.Campaigning while in office. (The Dumbocraps do it all the time.I witnessed it first hand) Seems like these judges set the bar real high when it's one the other party. BTW all the judges we have have been appointed by Demograbbers. How do you think they're going to rule? At least he resigned like a conciencious executive should. If it was a dimwitocrat they would have refused to. Wake up people...in a one party state...the party in powere sets the rules. How's your shrinking paycheck looking?
Brian Purdy February 02, 2013 at 12:36 PM
amen. and yes he got us again
patricia February 02, 2013 at 01:13 PM
I am still wondering how the union allowed this to happen. A union represents the police officers as well as county workers. Why didn't any of these victims go to the union and file a grievance? When you pay dues to a union, you can't be fired, so what exactly were they all afraid of? Also shouldn't the county workers and police officers be covered by the Equal Opportunity Employment guidelines? EOE has an 800 number that is posted in these offices to report this kind of behavior. Maybe one of the county workers posting on this website can enlighten the rest of us as to why the union didn't help them.
Mike February 02, 2013 at 01:30 PM
"The charter specifies that a county executive may be ineligible to receive post-employment benefits if he or she is removed from office, but does not indicate whether he or she would retain benefits if he or she resigned. " This is why he resigned now, bet your boots. And just watch as he gets his pension.
Steve February 02, 2013 at 02:33 PM
What about the three cops that caught him having sex in the mall parking lot and then lied about it? Are they still allowed to testify in court?
W. L. February 02, 2013 at 03:29 PM
I am a democrat who has become an independent. However, your name calling is inappropriate. Bullying and putting down people you do not agree with is not helping the situations within our government. If you feel so strongly, why not work to expose the corruption, get a petition going,put your face out there in the medias with your concerns etc. Corruption is within both parties. But I would not call you a name for your decision to vote one way or another.
Dennis Higgins February 02, 2013 at 06:30 PM
Im just grateful that he had the grace to resign so we can move on. I wonder if his core coherts in crime has the dignity to do the same? Of course, I doubt dignity is in Robey or Friedman's vocabulary. Looks like the appointed person is going to have to remove them. Maybe they will see the light Leopold saw.
Sue Crandall February 03, 2013 at 01:47 PM
Well, this IS Maryland, home of Marshmallow Marvin and Spiro Our Hero,, not to mention Willie Don. Leopold is a choir boy in comparison. Lets face it, nobody's perfect, nobody. Once we lose that lynch mob mentality, and focus on what is good about a persons performance, and chalk up the foibles( unless they're illegal), I think governments will function a whole lot smoother. How did the County function under Leopolds watch? Are we in debt? Are felony crimes skyrocketing? Is our infrastructure crumbling at an alarming rate? What about the WH occupant? Any of them, going right back to the First first. I'd say hold the cheering here until we see what will replace Leopold; sometimes the devil we know is better than the devil we don't know.
Jack Hoppenstein February 04, 2013 at 01:36 PM
Mr. Grasso.... Either you are a forgiving human being or you are preparing the public for "more of the same"in Anne Arundle politics. To me there is no such thing as"not quite legal". It's either legal our not. Poor jndgment is not an excuse.
Shaka Zulu February 04, 2013 at 06:00 PM
another useless politician, robbing the people and nothing happens to him, we should do drug test and alcohol tests on all politicians everyday they are in office
Penelope Patch February 05, 2013 at 04:02 AM
I think they are scarred for life with that image burned on their retinas.
hawkeye February 05, 2013 at 08:33 PM
I'd like to know where Grasso got his law degree from that he can say the legislation to remove Leopold was "illegal". We do know that Leopold's actions were illegal though - a judge convicted him. And that's not the same as "not quite legal". Grasso seems to have a strange sense of reality. I am glad Leopold resigned though so we can get past this blight on the county.


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