The mayor of District Heights has been charged with misconduct in office as prosecutors alleged that he leveraged his position to help a friend buy $50,000 worth of fireworks.
Eddie L. Martin, 70, was charged in Prince George’s County Circuit Court after an investigation by state and federal investigators, the office of Maryland State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt announced Friday.
The class of fireworks involved, according to Davitt’s office, can only be purchased by cities and those with a federal explosives license.
“Public officials cannot use their position to evade safety regulations for the personal benefit of their friends,” Davitt said in a statement. “Our elected officials must be held responsible for improperly representing personal interests as the interests of the people that they are supposed to represent.”
Martin could not be immediately reached by phone or text for comment. A woman at the city manager’s office in District Heights on Friday said she was not aware of the matter and declined to comment further.
Martin used city letterhead in June 2017 to authorize the purchase of $50,000 to Wayne’s World Fireworks for Class B and C fireworks, according to criminal records filed in Prince George’s court.
The letter represented “that these fireworks were to be used on behalf of the City of District Heights, well knowing that the fireworks were being purchased by a personal friend for his own benefit,” court documents state.
District Heights has a population of about 6,000 and is in Prince George’s County just outside Southeast Washington.
Martin was elected mayor in 2018, according to a biography posted on the District Heights website. He served as a city commissioner in the past and worked for D.C. Public Schools for more than 18 years.
District Heights Vice Mayor Johnathan Medlock said he could not speak about the allegations against Martin and, for now, Martin remains the mayor.
“We are definitely aware of the situation, and we are going to move forward as a commission to figure out the best course of action,” Medlock said.