The Maryland special prosecutor is looking into allegations that two top Prince George's County officials may have improperly intervened in several zoning cases on behalf of a county businessman and possibly others with whom both had been associated.
Special prosecutor Gerald Glass agreed last week to investigate allegations of conflicts of interest by the two officials at the request of Prince GeorgeS prosecutor Arthur A. Marshall. The special prosecutor's office was established to examine charges against public officials.
Marshall's office conducted its own examination of allegations that William Gullett, director of the county licenses and permits department, which enforces zoning laws, and his top aide Charles Deegan may have obtained special treatment for a businessman charged with zoning violations. Marshall said last week that some other allegations brought to his attention by county public employes and their union were also examined by his office and forwarded to Glass because Marshall felt the allegations "should be pursued." f
Glass said he would have "no comment" on the matter.
If Glass believes the allegations have substance he can take the case to a Prince George's grand jury and seek indictments against Gullett and Deagan. p
Marshall would not comment on the findings of his investigation. He said, "It's a classic type of matter that [Glass] should look at," because of conflict charges, the involvement of officials and the possibility that Marshall could be accused of bias.
Marshall is a Democrat and Gullett and Deegan are both active Republicans. Gullett was the county's first executive from 1971 to 1974. Deegan has been active in Republican Party politics including two campaigns by Gullett for county executive and the 1978 campaign of incumbent Republican executive Lawrence Hogan. Both Gullett and Deegan were appointed to their current department posts by Hogan.
Gullett said last week that he "welcomes" Glass' investigation, and stated that the allegations were "nothing." Deegan also said last week that "there's nothing to the allegations."
Although Marshall did not disclose the findings of his investigation, he said that two cases already publicized and investigated by the county auditor and ethics board, involving businessman Thomas Wellons III, had been forwarded to Glass.
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 re-election bid. The loan was made to Gullett's campaign committee and has never been repaid.
In one of the Wellons' cases, Gullett and Deegan stopped a department inspector from pursuing zoning violation penalties against Wellons on an 18-acre property for which he is trustee because they said the inspector had followed improper procedures.
In the second case, involving another Wellons property, an inspector cited the auto repair businessman for zoning and building code violations and Deegan intervened to tell the inspector to "help people, not to jump all over them," according to Deegan.