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Maryland Del. Impallaria charged with theft, misconduct in office

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 7/27/2022 Ovetta Wiggins
Maryland Del. Richard K. Impallaria in 2006. © Linda Davidson/The Washington Post Maryland Del. Richard K. Impallaria in 2006.

A veteran Maryland lawmaker has been charged with theft, embezzlement and multiple counts of misconduct in office, according to charging documents filed by the state prosecutor’s office Wednesday.

Republican Del. Richard K. Impallaria of Harford County, who has served in the General Assembly for two decades, faces seven counts stemming from his alleged illegal use of state money to pay for a “district office” in Essex, outside of his district’s boundaries, and a “personal cottage” next door.

Impallaria is charged with stealing $44,100 from Maryland in the form of the monthly rental payments and with committing fraud by using $92,800 in state funds to pay for the “district office.”

Impallaria, who lost the Republican primary on July 19, did not immediately respond to an email and a phone call seeking comment. His attorney, Steve Silverman, said Impallaria has been aware of the allegations “for some time” and denies wrongdoing.

"Having investigated the State Prosecutor’s version of facts as alleged ... along with interviewing over a dozen witnesses and relevant documents, I can say in no uncertain terms that Delegate Impallaria has not violated either the letter or spirit of the law,” Silverman said in a statement Wednesday.

According to the charging document, filed Wednesday in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, prosecutors allege that “the state of Maryland paid $92,800 in rent for the ‘district office’ at 4 Punte Lane" over the course of 10 years — twice as much rent as other units in the same community. “During that same time,” prosecutors allege, Impallaria “paid $0.00 in rent for his neighboring cottage.”

Prosecutors say that Impallaria was using the purported district office to store personal items, including bedroom furniture, pellet rifles and ammunition, clothing, building materials, campaign materials, skis and coolers.

The state prosecutor also alleges that Impallaria fabricated invoices, submitting reimbursements for items, including furniture and office supplies, that were never ordered. According to the charging document, Impallaria allegedly devised a scheme that allowed him to receive a check for $2,405.03 from the General Assembly for furniture he never ordered and a credit for the same amount from a vendor. Later, according to the charging document, the vendor created campaign letters and fundraising materials and Impallaria used the credit to help pay the bill.

“Elected officials are expected to be good stewards of the State’s resources,” state prosecutor Charlton T. Howard III said in a statement. “Any official who abuses the public trust for personal gain must be held accountable.”

2022 Maryland primary elections results

Jeremy Baker, chief of staff to House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County), said he could not comment on the ongoing case, “but Speaker Jones expects every member of the House of Delegates to uphold the law and be honest stewards of taxpayer dollars. The misuse of state funds is an issue we take seriously.”

Impallaria, a polarizing figure and long-standing conservative in Annapolis, has served on the House Economic Matters Committee since he began serving as a delegate in 2003. In the last four years, he has sponsored 13 pieces of legislation, several of which were local alcohol bills.

Impallaria has been at odds at times with members of his own party; in 2019, a judge dismissed a defamation suit he filed against four Republican Party officials, whom he accused of talking about him during a meeting, the Baltimore Sun has reported.

In 2017, he served two days in jail for drunken driving, after he was convicted of driving while intoxicated during the annual Maryland Association of Counties summer conference in Ocean City.

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