Gerard F. Holcomb, a prominent Prince George's banker and liquor board member who is under investigation for allegedly maintaining a business relationship with a restaurant licensed by the board, has resigned as chairman of an election committee of County Executive Lawrence J. Hogan.
Holcomb, a longtime associate of the executive's, also said he would take no part in Hogan's newly launched campaign for the U.S. Senate.
"I've retired from the campaign," Holcomb said in giving up the chairmanship of the Friends of Larry Hogan Committee. "I just didn't want to direct attention away from Larry and I'm going to stay out of politics through this election."
Holcomb said later, "I'm retiring from politics."
Late in December, The Washington Post reported that Holcomb acted as a business promoter and financial adviser for a pizza parlor regulated by the liquor board. The Post reported that Holcomb received cash payments of up to $100 a week from the pizza parlor, Little Italy in Marlow Heights, and also helped the owners obtain $577,000 in loans to expand their business. Two former owners of Little Italy alleged that Holcomb had a hidden interest in the business. Holcomb strongly denies any wrongdoing. The matter is being investigated by Prince George's State's Attorney Arthur A. Marshall Jr.
On Jan. 13, Holcomb informed the State Administrative Board of Election Laws that he was resigning as chairman of the Hogan "Friends" election committee, a group that Hogan has used in his campaigns for public office. Holcomb will be replaced by Donald L. Boyd, a Silver Spring contractor who said he was a personal friend of Hogan's.
Hogan has also organized a committee called Hogan for Senate, intended to function only through the fall election.
Both Holcomb and Lawrence J. Hogan Jr, Hogan's son and spokesman, said the executive did not ask Holcomb to resign.
The younger Hogan also said Holcomb "never had any position in the Hogan for Senate campaign," although he acknowledged that Holcomb had filled in as finance chairman "until we could find somebody permanent."
Holcomb, 45, is a director of John Hanson Savings and Loan, one of the largest savings and loans in Maryland, and president of its investment subsidiary, the John Hanson Service Corp. He has been the sole Republican member of the county's powerful liquor board, which licenses and regulates liquor stores and establishments that serve liquor, since 1968. He has been active in Republican politics since the late 1960s when Hogan served in Congress.
Yesterday he said, "I've been in politics a long time and I know what politicians should and should not do. I've contributed a lot already."
Later, he said, "I'm retiring from politics. I want to direct 110 per cent of my efforts to the building of my institution. My efforts have been fragmented lately."