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Justice

Former delegate pleads guilty to misconduct in office for misusing state funds to pay for Middle River cottage

Former Del. Richard K. Impallaria (R-Harford) pleaded guilty to misconduct in office on Friday. File photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

A former member of the Maryland House of Delegates pleaded guilty in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court on Friday to one count of misconduct in office, with the understanding that if he completes certain conditions by a June 21 sentencing date, he would not be convicted of wrongdoing in the state corruption case.

Under a plea agreement, Richard K. Impallaria, 60, a conservative former state delegate who represented parts of Harford and Baltimore Counties until Wednesday, agreed to pay the state of Maryland $44,100 in restitution, perform 100 hours of community service and enter a guilty plea in Baltimore County gun case. In return, if he meets those conditions in the next five months, Circuit Judge Stacy W. McCormack agreed to sentence him to probation before judgment in June.

State Prosecutor Charlton T. Howard III charged Impallaria in a July criminal information with three counts of misconduct in office, two counts of theft and two counts of fraudulent misappropriation, all stemming from his misuse of state funds in a scheme that involved the legislature’s allowance for district office expenses, including rent.

“The public needs to trust that elected officials are good stewards of the state’s resources,” Howard said in a press statement. “Our office will continue to work toward ensuring that those individuals who abuse their positions of trust are held accountable.”

Impallaria declined to comment after the plea hearing. Steven D. Silverman, Impallaria’s defense attorney, maintained that he and his client were prepared to go to trial, but agreed to the plea agreement after balancing “all the factors,” including “the cost of going to trial, emotionally and financially.”

The government lawyers handling the case, Deputy State Prosecutor Sarah R. David and Assistant State Prosecutor Abigail E. Ticse, declined comment after the hearing.

The State Prosecutor charged that Impallaria paid his landlord with rental payments from the General Assembly for a “district office” that was actually outside of his district — and next door to a cottage that he rented for personal use from the same landlord.

Prosecutors alleged Impallaria paid twice the rent on the “office” cottage, charging the full cost to the General Assembly, while the rent on his personal cottage was simultaneously lowered to $0.

Between July 2012 and May 31, 2022, the state paid a total of $92,800 in rent for Impallaria’s “district office.” During that period, he paid nothing in rent for his neighboring cottage.

Prosecutors charged Impallaria with theft of $44,100 in General Assembly funds, the amount of rent that should have been paid for his personal cottage since 2012.

At various times the buildings were in either the 6th or 7th legislative district. After 2012 redistricting, they were located in the 6th District, while Impallaria represented the 7th. He did not receive a exception to General Assembly rules, which require district offices to be located within the district’s boundaries.

Impallaria was first elected to the House in 2002, representing an area that was either District 6 or District 7 over the next 20 years because of redistricting. The former five-term delegate lost a reelection bid last year for a seat from District 7B.

In the Baltimore County case, Impallaria was charged with possession of illegal ammunition and possession of a gun by a prohibited person – charges filed by the Maryland State Police in September 2021 after troopers serving a search warrant for the State Prosecutor’s Office discovered the firearms, including pellet rifles. The illegal possession charge came about from an earlier assault charge in 1982.

Asked if the still-pending gun case had been resolved with Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s office, Silverman said, “We have an understanding.”