State Roundup: Harford Sheriff probes wiretapping claim against county exec; paying for legal weed hits bumps in the road; Alsobrooks picks up two endorsements in Montgomery

State Roundup: Harford Sheriff probes wiretapping claim against county exec; paying for legal weed hits bumps in the road; Alsobrooks picks up two endorsements in Montgomery

A Harford County Councilman is accusing County Executive Bob Cassilly of illegally wiretapping his conversations, an allegation Cassilly denies. Pictured is the historic Bel Air Courthouse by Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

HARFORD PROBES COUNCILMAN’s WIRETAP COMPLAINT AGAINST COUNTY EXEC: The Harford County Sheriff’s Office says a criminal investigation is underway following County Councilman Aaron Penman’s allegations of illegal wiretapping by County Executive Bob Cassilly. On Monday, Penman accused Cassilly of illegally monitoring the emails and phone calls of fellow politicians, law enforcement, and private citizens. Amy Simpson/WBFF-Fox 45.

  • Penman said he was made aware of the review after being provided a copy of an email between the Harford County director of Human Resources and the county information and technology director. Penman added that he believes the county also was checking phone records and potentially text message exchanges. Cassilly denied wrongdoing. Instead, he asserted county policy allows such reviews even when it is the legislative branch of government. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.
  • “If founded, this case is particularly egregious,” the sheriff’s office’s statement read, “as Maryland boasts some of the most comprehensive and stringent wiretapping laws in the nation, emphasizing the protection of citizens’ privacy.” Jason Fontelieu/The Aegis.

KINK IN THE WORKS: HOW TO PAY FOR LEGAL MARIJUANA: While business is booming one month into the legal cannabis industry in Maryland, it’s not perfect, as owners of legal cannabis dispensaries have noted. One dispensary tells us there are some kinks to work out – namely, how customers pay. Since cannabis is still federally illegal, a simple credit card swipe is a no-go. Jack Watson/WMAR-TV News.

ALSOBROOKS PICKS UP SUPPORT IN MO CO: Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks paid a visit to Montgomery County’s vote-rich Leisure World community this past week, in search of support for her bid for U.S. Senate — and was rewarded with the public backing of two state legislators who represent the area –Sen. Ben Kramer of Derwood and Del. Charlotte Crutchfield of Silver Spring. Louis Peck/MoCo 360.

EX-BA CO OFFICIAL SENTENCED IN CAMPAIGN THEFT: Former Baltimore County official William “Chris” McCollum has been sentenced to six months in prison for one count of felony theft and one count of perjury, according to a news release from the Maryland Office of the State Prosecutor. Chris Berinato/WBFF-Fox 45.

  • Between 2015 and 2020, McCollum stole more than $111,000 from Friends of Cathy Bevins, the campaign fund of Bevin’s runs for Baltimore County Council. He also embezzled over $31,000 between 2015 and 2019 from Baltimore County Victory Slate, which can pool and transfer donations to select candidates. Dylan Segelbaum/The Baltimore Banner.
  • State prosecutors had argued for five years of incarceration, with all but one year suspended, “given the long-term, systematic pattern of fraudulent acts and abuse of trust that McCollum engaged in while committing these crimes.” Mark Reutter/The Baltimore Brew.
  • Circuit Judge Robert Cahill sentenced him to five years with all but six months suspended for both counts, which McCollum will serve concurrently. “I take 100% responsibility,” McCollum said. “It’s unbelievable that I find myself here. It’s stunningly irrational. I think I have something positive to share.” Lia Russell/The Baltimore Sun.

COUNCIL GIVE FIRST RESPONDERS TAX CREDIT TO LIVE IN ANNAPOLIS: Annapolis City Council is giving first responders a tax incentive to live and work in Maryland’s capital. Legislation providing police officers, firefighters and 911 specialists with up to a $2,500 tax credit if they live in the city passed unanimously at the July 24 council meeting, the last before the local legislators broke for August recess. Rebecca Ritzel/The Capital Gazette.

HENRIETTA LACKS FAMILY, BIO-TECH FIRM REACH AGREEMENT: Henrietta Lacks’ living relatives reached a settlement late Monday with the multi-billion-dollar biotechnology company they sued seeking compensation for its routine use of regenerative cells that were taken from her decades ago without her consent. The terms of the settlement will remain confidential. Jessica Calefati/The Baltimore Banner.

EX STUDENT ED BOARD MEMBERS FILE AMICUS BRIEF FOR VOTING RIGHTS: Past student members of various boards of education in Maryland filed an amicus brief supporting the voting rights of Howard County’s student board member, a statute being legally contested by two parents. Sabrina LeBoeouf/The Baltimore Sun.

THE LATE TOMMIE BROADWATER HONORED AT PG OFFICES: Tommie Broadwater Jr., the late “godfather” of Prince George’s County whose grip on power endured long after his political star had faded, exited public life on Monday as he had entered it nearly 50 years ago: making history. Latesha Beacham/The Washington Post.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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