www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/blog/bal-reprimand-apology-recommended-for-lawmaker-20130204,0,4164640.story

baltimoresun.com

Reprimand, apology recommended for lawmaker

By Erin Cox and Michael Dresser

The Baltimore Sun

9:56 PM EST, February 4, 2013

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A legislative ethics committee on Monday recommended a reprimand for an Anne Arundel County lawmaker it said lobbied and voted for a measure that would make it easier for him to regain his real estate license.

The committee's report found Republican Del. Tony McConkey failed to disclose a conflict of interest or abstain from voting when he should have. Aides said the House of Delegates is expected to address the report by the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics on Tuesday. The report recommends House Speaker Michael E. Busch request a public apology to the House.

McConkey did not respond to requests for comment Monday night.

In 2010, McConkey entered into a settlement stemming from three clients' allegations that McConkey committed fraud and misrepresentation, according to the report. His real estate license was suspended and an administrative judge in 2011 ordered him to pay $75,000, the maximum allowed under the law to a fund to that compensates consumers wronged by real estate agents, in order to get his license restored.

The total amount McConkey owed to the fund was “the largest debt of any real estate licensee in the past five years,” the report said, counting McConkey as one of only seven real estate licensees required to pay the maximum under the law in that period.

In 2012, McConkey actively lobbied the Senate for changes to rules governing the fund already adopted by the House that would lower the costs for real estate agents required to pay into the fund, the committee's report said. He circulated a flier that suggested the changes would save $9,081 for a hypothetical real estate agent who owed $50,000.

The ethics investigation stemmed from a complaint by Sen. Edward Reilly, a fellow Anne Arundel County Republican, after McConkey's unsuccessful overture for Reilly's support ended with McConkey shouting, cursing and eventually being escorted from Reilly's office by state police, according to the report.

Reilly said Monday night that the report was “very accurate” and that he had no qualms about making the complaint.

“I have the opinion that unless we police ourselves, we’re never going to address some of the fundamental issues of people who serve themselves rather than citizens,” he said. Reilly said he has not spoken to McConkey in the nine months since filing the complaint and had not received an apology.

McConkey told the committee he believed he had been cleared by ethics officials and offered an email as proof; the same ethics officials using the same email told the committee McConkey had not been advised there were no ethical conflicts.