The Prince George's County Board of Ethics decided yesterday that two high officials in the Department of Licenses and Permits did not violate ethical standards in handling of a zoning case early this year.
The ethics board had been asked by the County Council and County Executive Lawrence J. Hogan to look into the involvement of William Gullett, a former Republican county executive who now heads the permits department, and top aide Charles Deegan in a zoning case involving businessman Thomas Wellons III.
Wellons is a friend of Deegan and owns property with him in Anne Arundel County. Wellons also loaned $1,000 to Gullett for his unsuccessful 1974 reelection bid. The loan was made to Gullett's campaign committee and has not been repaid.
Wellons had been cited by an inspector in the permits department for building violations on an 18-acre property for which he is trustee.
Wellons had been called before a county appeals board to explain why he should not lose his permit to use part of the property when Gullett and Deegan requested that the proceedings be stopped because an inspector had improperly cited Wellons.
The Rev. John Warren, chairman of the ethics board, said the panel unanimously found the inspector had violated the department's new procedures when Wellons was cited and therefore the intervention of Gullett and Deegan was appropriate.
"They were not doing anything to benefit themselves," he said. "Where is the conflict?"
The ethics board has also been asked to consider another zoning case in which Deegan may have improperly intervened to aid Wellons. Meanwhile, the Prince George's prosecutor is also examining the two cases, as well as several others presented to him by a union representing workers in the permits department, to determine if a full-scale investigation should be conducted.