Anne Arundel sheriff investigated top aide to county state's attorney

Phil Davis
Contact Reporterpdavis@capgaznews.com

The Anne Arundel County Sheriff's Office investigated a top aide to State’s Attorney Wes Adams for four months, responding to a complaint it said was filed anonymously from the prosecutor’s office.

Between Nov. 14 and March 16, deputies conducted surveillance of Lawrence Scott at the garage in the Anne Arundel County Courthouse in Annapolis, documents provided to The Capital show.

Sheriff Ron Bateman said information on the investigation was released April 4 in response to a request under the Maryland Public Information Act filed by a former assistant state’s attorney now working with one of Adams’ political opponents.

Bateman declined to comment Thursday on the nature of the complaint and why his agency chose to investigate it. The county police department is responsible for criminal investigations, while the sheriff’s office — headed by the elected sheriff — is primarily responsible for courthouse security and warrant service.

A spokeswoman for the sheriff wrote in an email that “no more information can be released at this time.”

Scott left his position as an assistant state’s attorney March 8, a move State’s Attorney Wes Adams said was made to “draw a clear line” between the office’s duties and politics. He announced his departure on March 16.

Scott, a longtime Republican political consultant, is leading Adams’ re-election bid. Adams faces former assistant state’s attorney Kathy Rogers in June’s Republican primary.

The information released by Bateman’s office came in response to a public information request by Carolynn Grammas, a former assistant state’s attorney now working with Rogers’ campaign. Grammas sent the request through the county website and received copies of Scott’s time cards from the county Office of Personnel as well as daily logs created by the Sheriff’s Office.

Rogers said the request was made when The Capital reported changes in Scott’s job description and his work for Republican campaigns while employed by Adams.

“It seems like a logical inquiry for us to make given everything that has been reported on,” Rogers said.

Grammas, who worked in the prosecutor's office until October 2016, said Scott’s hours as recorded by the sheriff’s investigation matched what she saw while she was working for Adams.

She said she worked next to Scott’s office and rarely saw him there. She even shared a photo of the light switch in the office taped into the “on” position.

“I noticed a pattern,” she said.

Grammas, Rogers and a spokeswoman for Adams all said they were unaware of the complaint about Scott.

Scott could not be reached for coment. There is no record that the investigation led to charges.

Among the findings released by the sheriff, deputies wrote that Scott “did not make an appearance (at the garage) 53 of the 78 working days” covered by the investigation.

Time-card records reviewed by The Capital show that Scott would regularly log several hours worked, and up to 11 hours on some occasions, on days the sheriff’s office did not observe him in the garage.

The garage entrance, typically reserved for high-ranking employees and judges, is not the only way Scott could have entered the building. Scott’s political consulting firm, Scott Strategies LLC, is within an easy walk on nearby Duke of Gloucester Street.

Adams has said previously Scott was a temporary employee not allowed to work more than 1,500 hours who had the flexibility to set his own hours.

In a statement, Adams spokeswoman Emily Morse wrote in an email that the office’s “work extends beyond the confines of this courthouse, and as such there are a number of employees whose duties require they be present in locations outside of this office.”

Raquel Coombs, a spokeswoman for the state Attorney General’s Office, said Thursday her office was not working with the sheriff on its investigation.

The sheriff’s office did consult with the office about the public information request, and was advised by Assistant Attorney General Carl Zacarias to release its records.

Time cards released by the county reflect the flexibility Adams gave Scott. On some dates he recorded breaks up to four hours long, with some days starting as early as 7 a.m. and ending as late as 7:30 p.m.

On several days in November he didn’t record working at all, while on some days in December, he said he worked up to 11 hours.

During one two-week period between Jan. 19 and Feb. 2, the sheriff’s office wrote that Scott was seen entering the garage once, staying there between 10:15 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. on Jan. 23. Yet time cards show Scott clocked in at least five hours a day each day for work.

There are also varying levels of detail in the sheriff’s office report, with some early records of Scott’s presence at the parking lot in 2017 describing only his time in the lot, without accounting for his entrance or exit times.

Both Rogers and Anne Colt Leitess, the Democratic former state’s attorney running for the office in November, have pointed to Scott’s prominence in the office as a key issue in the race.

His involvement in the 2016 election, when he worked with four Republican judges as part of Scott Strategies, spurred a backlash from some in his own party. It was cited as the justification for a bill filed in the last state legislative session by Republican Del. Herb McMillan.

It would have forced Scott to choose between his consulting business and his position in the state’s attorney’s office. The measure died on the state Senate floor on the final day of the session.

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This story has been updated to correct how the request was filed under the Maryland Public Information Act.

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