ANNAPOLIS — Maryland state Delegate Michael L. Vaughn (D-District 24) resigned Wednesday, just before the General Assembly began its 90-day session for the year.
Vaughn’s resignation comes as current and former Prince George’s County officials face bribery charges for using their political influence for personal gain.
Vaughn, 59, of Mitchellville, who served as second vice chair for the county’s House Delegation, said in a brief letter he resigned for health reasons. He could not be reached for further comment.
Although House Speaker Michael A. Busch of Anne Arundel County didn’t comment specifically on Vaughn’s resignation, he did have a few words for his colleagues during his speech in the House chambers.
“Besides the three new members, nobody is a freshman or a rookie … anymore,” he said. “You’re an experienced legislator and knows the process. We expect everyone to conduct themselves in that matter.”
The U.S. Attorney’s office announced Tuesday that former state Delegate and County Councilman William A. Campos of Hyattsville pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges last week.
U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein said Campos took money by setting up a fake nonprofit organization in order to entice businessmen to move into the county. According to the plea agreement, Campos received up to $24,000 from two county business owners in exchange for $325,000 in grant money to entities controlled by those merchants.
Two other officials with the county’s liquor control board — Dae Sok Son, 40, of Bowie and Anuj Sud, 39, of Hyattsville — also face bribery and conspiracy charges along with two county business owners.
Rosenstein said more arrests are forthcoming.
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III attended the first day’s session and assured residents “the process is working” to convict those who ruin the public’s trust.
“If we found corruption in anyway, we are going to weed it out and we [are] going to hold those people accountable,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if we do or don’t know them. We are going to make sure if you violate the public trust, that you are going to be held accountable. That is what you see happening.”
Baker said he’s working on legislation to determine another method of appointing members to the liquor board, which administers and enforces local and state alcoholic beverage laws, rules and regulations. Under current law, the governor has the authority to make the appointments.
Several state officials urged county residents not to lose faith in the system and elected officials.
“We are definitely experiencing some unfortunate things and finding out about some people that made some poor decisions,” said Delegate Angela Angel, (D-District 25) of Upper Marlboro. “It doesn’t change the fact we are a good county. Someone doing something wrong does damage your confidence, but always know that the majority of us are out here working. We are not out here making those types of decisions. We are representing our county the way we should. With all things, people make mistakes and it’s not reflective of who we are as a county.”