Glen Burnie principal charged with stealing thousands from dead Baltimore County delegate's campaign fund

Phil Davis
Contact Reporterpdavis@capgaznews.com

A Glen Burnie school principal stole about $13,000 in campaign funds from a dead Baltimore County delegate, according to state prosecutors.

In a release Tuesday, the Office of the State Prosecutor said that Ronald Chesek, 59, of Severna Park, has been charged with stealing between $10,000 and $100,000 from the campaign fund of former Del. Joseph J. Minnick, who died in October 2015.

Chesek is the principal at Marley Glen Special School, where he made about $129,000 in annual salary as of 2016, according to county records. He’s been with the school system since 1986 and the principal of the school since 2009, according to Anne Arundel County Public Schools spokesman Bob Mosier.

Prosecutors said that Chesek — who had been Minnick’s treasurer since 1993 — “used campaign funds for his own personal use and benefit” between July 9, 2013, and Sept. 17, 2017.

Minnick — a retired restaurant owner who served in the Maryland House of Delegates for more than two decades dating back to 1988 — was 82 when he died of a blood disease in October 2015. He represented District 6, which includes Dundalk, Essex and Sparrows Point.

Prosecutors allege Chesek stole $13,045 from the fund over a four-year period.

Chesek will be reassigned to another position within the school system where he will have no access to children or public funds, Mosier said. He said school officials learned of the charges Tuesday morning and are still investigating.

Campaign finance records show that, after years of inactivity, the fund spent $13,817.46 in charitable donations to four Catholic and cancer organizations “for close out only” on Sept. 7.

Calls for comment from the Archdiocese of Baltimore — which oversees the Our Lady of Hope Church and St. Luke School in Dundalk, which received a combined $7,878.46 in checks from the fund, according to its filings — were not returned. Calls to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Catholic Relief Services, which received $2,000 and $3,939, respectively, were also not returned.

According to prosecutors, “Chesek wrote numerous checks payable to himself from the Friends of Joseph J. Minnick campaign bank account.”

Chesek faces up to 15 years in prison and $15,000 in fines if he is found guilty, prosecutors wrote.

Mosier said Chesek was out of the office Tuesday on previously scheduled leave.

Attempts to reach Chesek were unsuccessful. No attorney is listed as representing him in court records.

Clarification: This story has been updated to differentiate between Marley Glen Special School and the elementary school.

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