Pr. George's officials say Johnsons should quit
Three Prince George's County officials are calling for County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) to step aside before his term expires Dec. 6. They also said his wife, Leslie Johnson, newly elected to the council, should decline to be sworn in.
"I would do it, I would step down," said Del. Jay Walker (D-Prince George's), whose views were seconded by County Council member-elect Mel Franklin, and Del. Justin Ross, both Democrats, on WTOP radio's "Politics Hour."
Both Johnsons were arrested Nov. 12 after they were overheard on a wiretap plotting to flush a $100,000 check from a developer down a toilet and conceal $79,600 in Leslie Johnson's bra.
The lawmakers acknowledged that the Johnsons are entitled to a presumption of innocence but that the cases are a major distraction and are damaging the county's reputation.
All said that the new administration of County Executive-elect Rushern L. Baker III (D) will take steps to end the county's reputation for "pay to play."
"We are going to really move forward. We have to get beyond this scandal and move this scandal beyond the incoming leadership," Franklin said.
Franklin said that he hoped a majority of incoming council members would agree with him that Leslie Johnson (D) should not serve. The Washington Post reported this morning that there are at least four council members -- Franklin, Vice Chairman Andrea Harrison, council member Eric Olson, and newly elected council member Mary Lehman -- who want to appeal to Leslie Johnson to step aside.
Jack Johnson's spokesman Jim Keary said today after the radio program that his boss has no intention of stepping down and will serve out the remainder of his term. Leslie Johnson could not be immediately contacted; she has declined all requests to discuss her circumstances.
Miranda S. Spivack
| November 19, 2010; 11:21 AM ET
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