ANNAPOLIS — John Leopold, chief executive of Maryland’s fourth-largest county, resigned Friday, days after being found guilty of misconduct in office for, among other things, having a secretary empty his urine catheter bag for months in 2010.
Leopold was automatically suspended from office after a judge convicted him Tuesday on two counts of misconduct in office for also using members of his security detail to perform political activities while they were on the job. The 69-year-old Leopold announced his resignation in a letter to the acting chief executive of Anne Arundel County named earlier this week, John Hammond.
“It was a compelling and humbling experience for me to sit through two weeks of the trial and listen intently to the words expressed by the court,” Leopold wrote. “I acknowledge the serious errors in judgment that I made and do not want these errors in judgment to further distract the county from its ability to move forward in a positive way.”
The Anne Arundel County Council had been scheduled to vote on Leopold’s removal from office Monday night.
“This decision is the most difficult decision I have ever made, but I know that it is the right one in the best interest of the citizens of Anne Arundel County,” Leopold wrote in the letter made public Friday.
In court Tuesday, Judge Dennis Sweeney described Leopold as “predatory and cruel” for requiring his secretary to empty the urine catheter bag on her hands and knees up to three times a day for nine or 10 months. Speaking in a packed courtroom at the end of the high-profile trial, Sweeney said Leopold’s actions were “simply outrageous” and an example of “overbearing arrogance.”
Leopold also was found guilty of requiring members of his security detail to put up campaign signs as he ran for re-election in 2010 when they were on duty as police officers. Leopold also required them to pick up campaign checks and compile dossiers on political opponents.
The judge acquitted Leopold of spending $10,000 in overtime pay to use members of the security detail for his benefit, including shuttling him to sexual encounters in a bowling alley parking lot. Leopold also was acquitted of using some of that overtime money to conceal a personal relationship with a woman from a girlfriend while he was in a hospital recovering from back surgery.
Before becoming county executive, Leopold served 20 years in the Maryland House of Delegates. He also served in the Hawaii State House of Representatives from 1970 to 1974 and the Hawaii State Senate from 1974 to 1978.