Maryland's special prosecutor has decided not to seek prosecution of two Prince George's County officials who allegedly intervened in several zoning cases on behalf of a county businessman, after a two-month investigation turned up "insufficient evidence to sustain a criminal violation."
At the request of Prince George's prosecutor Arthur A. Marshall, special prosecutor Gerald Glass looked into allegations of conflicts of interest against William Gullett, director of the county licenses and permits department, which enforces zoning laws, and his top aide Charles Deegan.
According to a press aide in Marshall's office, which released the results of Glass's investigation, the matter will "not be pursued any further. As far as we're concerned, the case is closed."
The allegations against Gullett, a Republican who served as county executive from 1970 to 1974, and Deegan, a Republican party activist and until recently an influential aide to the current Republican executive Lawrence Hogan, stemmed from their actions in two zoning violation citations against Republican businessman Thomas Wellons III.
In both zoning cases, the inspector for the licenses and permits department found Wellons to be violating the county zoning code, but the citations against the businessman were not strenuously pursued in one case or were reconsidered in another, because Gullett and Deegan said at the time that their inspectors had not followed department procedures.
Because of Wellons' political and financial connections to the two officials -- Wellons lent the Gullett campaign $1,000 in 1974 that was never repaid and is a friend of Deegan and owns property with him in Anne Arundel County -- a county auditor last summer chastised Gullett and Deegan for possible improper conduct and recommended that they not involve themselves in any more departmental cases against Wellons.
Gullett and Deegan have repeatedly denied any misconduct on their part and said they were simply trying to make the department operate properly in its pursuit of violators. Both said the allegations were "nothing."