Allegations of slots petition fraud referred to state prosecutor
The Anne Arundel County state's attorney has referred allegations of "massive fraud" in a petition drive to block a slots casino to the Maryland state prosecutor.
The move follows the filing of a civil suit Tuesday in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court by Cordish Cos., which alleges the county elections board has overlooked problems with a petition drive seeking to derail the developer's plans to build a slots casino at Arundel Mills mall.
Given the "serious nature of the allegations," Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee referred the matter to State Prosecutor Robert A. Rohrbaugh, said Kristin Fleckenstein, a spokeswoman for Weathersbee. Rohrbaugh's jurisdiction includes election law, Fleckenstein said.
Both a lawyer for the Anne Arundel elections board and a spokeswoman for the coalition gathering signatures have dismissed Cordish's allegations of fraud.
On Wednesday, FieldWorks, a company assisting the coalition with signature-gathering, also spoke out.
"This lawsuit has no merit," said FieldWorks spokesman Steve Rabinowitz. "This issue is headed for the ballot, and these fabricated allegations will not deter the will of the citizens of Anne Arundel County."
As of Tuesday, the elections board had verified 13,136 voter signatures presented by the coalition, which includes surrounding homeowners and the operators of Laurel Park racetrack, who would like to see slots there instead.
If 18,790 valid signatures are presented by March 8, the zoning measure will go on the November ballot in the county.
The Anne Arundel County Council approved zoning in December, the same month the state awarded a license to Cordish for the casino, which would be the state's largest.
February 24, 2010; 5:20 PM ET
Categories: John Wagner , Slots
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