Track owner Vogel, arrested on cocaine charges,...


Track owner Vogel, arrested on cocaine charges, leaves Rosecroft management

Last Thursday, a week after wealthy Prince George's county developer Mark R. Vogel was arrested on charges of possessing cocaine, he agreed to a state Racing Commission request that he stay out of the operation of the Rosecroft Raceway harness track he owns near Oxon Hill.

The commission asked the 42-year-old developer to step aside after it learned that, over the past year, he had taken about $2 million from "racing-generated funds" to pay debts unrelated to track operations, according to sources.

Mr. Vogel's decision to remove himself from the management of Rosecroft was made after the flamboyant entrepreneur was charged with possession of cocaine when his Corvette was stopped in Virginia in a case stemming from an ongoing federal investigation, sources said.

Mosley, Burns consider race against Schmoke

Controversial Baltimore high school principal Boyse F. Mosley and former Mayor Clarence H. "Du" Burns let it be known last week that they have been weighing the possibility of challenging Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke for the top job in City Hall next year.

Only lack of money, both men said, might stand in their way.

Mr. Mosley, 57, principal of Northwestern High School, said he wants to run because he is frustrated by what he sees as the mayor's indecisiveness in handling the city's problems.

"We need a mayor that is willing to act," said Mr. Mosley, citing Mr. Schmoke's reluctance to fire city school superintendent Richard C. Hunter after making it clear that he was not happy with Mr. Hunter's work. "I've said Mayor Schmoke is the Hamlet of local politics, always contemplating whether to be or not to be, to do or not to do. We need a mayor who can act in the manner of a Donald Schaefer."

Last Monday, an organization called "Friends of 'Du' Burns" held a $250 per person birthday fund-raiser for Baltimore's first black mayor, who narrowly lost to Mr. Schmoke in the 1987 Democratic primary. The organizers of the fund-raiser -- John Hubble, a real estate developer, and Joseph M. Townsley Sr., owner of a consulting firm -- are urging Mr. Burns to use the money for another run at City Hall.

New state prison policy freed Thanos early

John Frederick Thanos, the rapist and robber charged in two recent murders, would be behind bars today if the Division of Correction had not established a policy a month before his release that radically changed the way Maryland calculates an inmate's time behind bars, a correction official said last week.

Under the March 9 change -- ordered by Bishop L. Robinson, state secretary of public safety and correctional services and instituted with the blessing of Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. -- the Division of Correction began reducing the amount of time inmates serve, changing the way it applies good-conduct and other credits to sentences that overlap.

Thanos, 41, was released about 1 1/2 years earlier than he would have been before the policy change took place March 9, according to a correction official who did not want to be identified.

LOTTO millions mend broken piggy bank

The news that a Middle River couple, Lena Meeks and Billy Dean Howell Jr., won the $8.9 million Maryland Lotto jackpot last week came just days after they had applied for a loan and raided their 5-month-old son's piggy bank to help pay bills.

"Now, look what kind of piggy bank our son can have," said Ms. Meeks, 22, as she and Mr. Howell waited for lottery officials to confirm that they were the sole bearers of the winning Lotto numbers: 01-03-05-42-46-49.

Arundel race gets off to slinging start

Robert R. Neall, the Republican candidate for Anne Arundel County executive, last week accused Theodore J. Sophocleus, his Democratic opponent, of deliberately falsifying campaign finance reports in order to "launder" cash contributions.

The allegations center on 29 senior citizens living at Glen Square, a county-owned public housing complex in Glen Burnie, who are listed as cash contributors to the campaign of Councilman Sophocleus, D-1st, the 51-year-old Linthicum pharmacist and Democratic nominee for county executive.

At least five of the Glen Square contributors contacted by the Neall campaign last Monday denied giving any money to Mr. Sophocleus. Mr. Neall said he became suspicious of the contributions when he saw the name of his 72-year-old maternal uncle listed as a $25 contributor to the Sophacleus camp.

Also, Mr. Neall and his staff said they have discovered numerous other "irregularities" in Mr. Sophocleus' campaign finances, including a high percentage of cash contributions overall, and called for an investigation by state prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli.

Mr. Sophocleus learned of the Neall allegations from reporters late Monday and denied any wrongdoing. He did admit that his all-volunteer campaign may have made accounting errors.

The candidate agreed that few, if any, of the seniors who are listed as giving him $25 or $50 in cash for tickets to a bull roast gave him money, but instead donated cakes or other baked goods to be given away as prizes in a raffle.

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