The husband of a Democratic candidate for Senate in the 42nd District was caught Saturday in the act of removing campaign signs for his wife’s opponent.
J. Ronald DeJuliis, who is also commissioner of labor and industry, is heard on video with two other men removing signs belonging to Sen. James Brochin. DeJuliis later is shown on the 5-minute video, which was shot by Brochin campaign volunteers, admitting to removing the signs at the location on Loch Raven Boulevard near Joppa Road as well as other signs.
“They were right, I took them down and I put them in the back,” DeJuliis says of signs posted at a gas station.
DeJuliis, Charles “Boots” Buttiglieri and Casey Akeem Addison were all charged with theft of property valued at less than $1,000. Buttiglieri is an assistant to the vice president of the Communication Workers of America.
DeJuliis, in the video, initially accuses Marc Lazerow, Brochin’s campaign manager, and another volunteer of stealing signs belonging to Connie DeJuliis.
“You keep tearing my signs down and you will go to jail,” DeJuliis is heard saying to Lazerow.
Lazerow denied the allegations and called Baltimore County Police.
A voice off camera, which Lazerow identified as a campaign worker named Ryan, can be heard denying removing the DeJuliis signs.
“One thing we’d never do is tear down campaign signs because you end up in this,” the volunteer said, referring to the video he was shooting.
DeJuliis later retracts his accusation.
The police who responded forced DeJuliis and the other two men to return the signs, which are valued at about $100. They were not arrested at the scene but were later charged in District Court after the campaign filed a complaint with a court commissioner.
Connie DeJuliis could not immediately be reached for comment. She told the Baltimore Sun that the issue was “somewhat silly.”
“It’s been explained and rectified,” she said. “They chose to accelerate the situation to the point where they are cluttering up our court system with something that is clearly minor.”
Brochin, in an interview with The Daily Record, said he took a different view and believed it to be a violation of the law.
Connie DeJuliis has the support of Gov. Martin J. O’Malley. Her husband, the former president of the Baltimore Building and Construction Trades Council, was appointed to his current post seven years ago. Connie DeJuliis is a trustee of O’Malley’s O’Say Can You See federal political action committee, which many see as a concrete step toward a bid for president in 2016.
Nina Smith, a spokeswoman for O’Malley, said the governor would not discuss how the issue might be handled internally calling it a personal and personnel issue.
“We don’t comment on personal issues,” Smith said. “We don’t comment on issues performed after hours.”
DeJuliis has options if he’s looking for a lawyer.
G. Randolph Rice Jr, a Dundalk-based criminal defense attorney, has offered his services via Twitter.
In a follow-up message Rice tweeted: “Campaign signs theft case in Baltimore County may have been charged improperly.”