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Former state senator resigns from slots commission

Robert Neall, a former state legislator, resigned from his post on the state slots commission last week, Chairman Donald C. Fry said Friday.

Neall’s wife, Marta Harting, works for the Baltimore law firm Venable, which represents the Arundel Mills shopping mall. A developer received approval from the commission and Anne Arundel County last year to build a 4,750-machine casino in the parking lot of the mall. The plan has faced stiff local resistance, and the potential of a legal challenge prompted Neall to resign, Fry said.

“This commission has worked very hard… to try to avoid any evidence of conflicts of interest. I think out of an abundance of caution, Mr. Neall thought this was the right decision to make sooner when it wasn’t an issue than later, when obviously some people may think it would [be],” Fry said. “I think he did so at the appropriate time.”

Fry said Neall sent his resignation to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, who appointed Neall to the commission.

“I haven’t heard anything with respect to a replacement,” Fry said.