On the same day that Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown announced his engagement to Karmen Bailey Walker, theft charges were dropped against Walker’s sister, Karen Yvette Bailey.
Well, yeah, probably.
I love a good scandal as much as the next gal, but when The Baltimore Sun’s Scott Calvert looked into the matter, Montgomery County Assistant State’s Attorney Stephen Chaikin made a pretty convincing case that there was no connection between dismissal and betrothal.
Chaikin did say that Bailey wasn’t shy about her connection to the lieutenant governor.
“She liked to drop his name,” Chaikin said. “But the police department and myself, we never gave it a second thought. This was a case purely about insufficiency of evidence — whether we had enough evidence or didn’t. It was a close call.”
Bailey, 53, was charged back in December with stealing fur coats and other clothes from the upscale Rockville consignment shop where she worked. She was charged with three counts: theft of items worth between $1,000 to $10,000, one count of theft scheme between $1,000 to $10,000, and one count of theft scheme between $10,000 to $100,000.
A police search of her Fort Washington home “yielded more clothes than the writer [of the search warrant] had ever seen piled in one room,” a Montgomery County police report reads. “There were so many clothes that the writer had difficulty walking throughout many of these rooms. … From the basement: 37 Fur Coats, 1 Fur Wrap, and 1 Fur Stole were seized that were marked with The Ritz Consignment Boutique price tag or were believed to have come from the store.”
When clothing started going missing from the store, owner Yvonne Seay installed a closed-circuit TV system, charging documents state.
“On 11/18/2010, Karen Bailey is observed moving a Full Length Ranch Mink Fur coat from one clothing rack to the next every couple of minutes,” the documents state. “She continues doing this until the coat is nearest the front door. When the store closes, she grabs the above fur coat and leaves before the other employees so they don’t notice.”
All of which seems pretty fishy, Chaikin said, but the case was hampered because of some discrepancies with business records. Bailey also had “some limited authority” to remove store merchandise and sell it at a Prince George’s County flea market where she rents space, he said.
“It does appear she exceeded the scope of that limited authority, but this would be more a civil issue,” he said.
On May 16, as Bailey’s sister and Maryland’s lieutenant governor were announcing their future nuptials, Bailey was “nolle prosequi”-ed in Montgomery County District Court, meaning prosecutors would not pursue a conviction. But the timing was pure coincidence, Chaikin said.
All this came to The Sun’s attention just recently, as Bailey filed a petition to have records of the case expunged.
Bailey and her lawyer, Leon Geller, did not respond to messages seeking comment.
Brown’s press secretary, Marc Goldberg, had this to say: “The charges in this case were dropped and the Lt. Governor hopes that the privacy of those involved will be respected.”