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Where's Joe, Part II

The state legislature held what they figured would be the final hearing in a probe looking at the dismissals by the administration of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. And they did it without hearing from the man whose at-times audacious behavior got the whole thing started.

In the eyes of Maryland lawmakers, Joseph Steffen remains at large. The lead investigator in the probe, Ward Coe, told lawmakers he has been unable to find Steffen, the self-proclaimed prince of darkness who allegedly roamed from one state agency to another, drawing up lists of veteran state workers to be fired.

After deliberating behind closed doors for nearly an hour, the lawmakers decided to ask Coe to continue his efforts to locate Steffen and serve him with a subpeona. Steffen is rumored to be in Virginia doing political consulting work, but Coe said that doesn't mean he won't pass into Maryland from time to time.

They also agreed to allow state lawyers to go into court and compel two of Steffen's friends to respond to questions from the lawmakers. Both of them, port liaison (and ice dancer) Greg Maddalone and Public Service Commission chief of staff Craig Chesek, refused to answer questions last week on advice of counsel--including some questions about Steffen's whereabouts.

Coe now has little more than a month to find Steffen. By June 30, he has been asked to deliver a full report on the Ehrlich administration's personnel actions, with Steffen's testimony or without.

By  |  May 23, 2006; 10:15 AM ET
Categories:  General Assembly  
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