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Del. Cardin pays police $300 for proposal stunt

A Maryland lawmaker reimbursed the city of Baltimore $300 Thursday for a marriage proposal stunt that involved police resources, writing on his Web site he hopes police won’t be blamed and saying: "I take full responsibility for initiating this incident."

Delegate Jon Cardin, a Baltimore County Democrat, also wrote that he has made a separate contribution to the city’s 121-year-old mounted police unit, whose existence has been threatened by budget woes.

Cardin wrote that he "should have been sensitive enough to realize that these are extraordinarily difficult times in Baltimore, both financially and from a public safety perspective."

"In that context, I realize how inappropriate my request was," Cardin wrote.

During the Aug. 7 incident, police officers boarded a boat Cardin and his fiancee were on with friends in the Inner Harbor and pretended to search for contraband until Cardin popped the question. During the search, the police helicopter flew overhead.

The episode has been a big embarrassment for Cardin, who has posted three successive statements on his Web site as the proposal has grabbed headlines. In his latest posting Thursday, he said he hopes police officers involved in the incident won’t be blamed.

Police are conducting an internal investigation into the incident.

"I certainly hope that the blame for this is placed on me, and none of it is given to any of the brave officers of the Baltimore City Police Department," Cardin wrote.

Anthony Guglielmi, a police spokesman, confirmed that a $300 check for expenses associated with the stunt had been received from Cardin. The department decided on the figure, based on the hourly rate paid to the officers involved in the incident, which lasted about 15 minutes. Fuel for the helicopter also was included, Guglielmi said.

Cardin wrote that he has personally apologized to Mayor Sheila Dixon, Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld III and the department’s marine unit.

"I have fully reimbursed the city for its expenses," Cardin wrote. "As a further gesture of my contrition, I have also made a personal contribution to the city’s venerable mounted police unit to help it weather the financial crisis that is now threatening its existence." Cardin did not disclose the donation amount.

Cardin also apologized to his fiancee, Megan Homer of Rockville.

"Finally, I hope that my fiancee will be able to forgive the fact that I brought this unexpected and undesired public attention to what should have been a special moment in our lives," Cardin wrote.