Maryland state Del. Richard Impallaria, a Republican who has represented parts of Harford and Baltimore counties, has been charged with multiple criminal counts related to inappropriate use of state funds for a district office and office furniture, prosecutors announced Wednesday.
The Office of the State Prosecutor charged Impallaria in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court on Wednesday with three counts of misconduct in office, two counts of fraudulent misappropriation of funds by a fiduciary, and one count each of theft between $25,000 and $100,000 and theft between $1,500 and $25,000,
The Office of the State Prosecutor alleges that Impallaria rented a local district office in Essex that was outside of his district, with the General Assembly paying a total of $92,800 in rent over the course of 10 years. The rent was twice what the General Assembly paid for any other delegate’s district office rent, according to charging documents.
The building that housed the supposed district office was next door to a personal cottage used by Impallaria. Once the General Assembly started paying rent on the office in 2012, Impallaria stopped paying rent on the personal cottage, which has the same owners as the office building, according to a criminal information document filed by prosecutors.
Financial documents kept by the property owners indicate that the General Assembly’s rent payments were “divided and split between” the district office rental and the cottage rental, according to the criminal information document.
Further, prosecutors allege, the district office building was used to store the delegate’s personal items, including bedroom furniture, folding beds, clothes, building materials, campaign materials, skis, coolers, and pellet rifles and ammunition.
The state prosecutor further alleges that Impallaria was reimbursed by the state for more than $2,400 worth of office furniture that he never received, using the money instead for fundraising letters sent by his campaign.
Impallaria did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday afternoon, but his attorney, Steven Silverman, issued a statement saying the delegate denies any wrongdoing.
“Delegate Impallaria has been aware of these allegations for some time,” Silverman said in the statement. “Having investigated the State Prosecutor’s version of facts as alleged in the indictment, along with interviewing over a dozen witnesses and reviewing the relevant documents, I can say in no uncertain terms that Delegate Impallaria has not violated either the letter or spirit of the law.”
In a statement, State Prosecutor Charlton T. Howard III said: “Elected officials are expected to be good stewards of the state’s resources. Any official who abuses the public trust for personal gain must be held accountable.”
If convicted on all counts, Impallaria could face up to 25 years in prison on the fraud and theft counts. The charge of misconduct in office does not carry any range of specific penalties. A preliminary appearance is scheduled for Aug. 15.
It’s unclear whether Impallaria would face discipline within the General Assembly. The legislature’s ethics committee conducts its investigations confidentially.
“We can’t comment in an ongoing case, but Speaker [Adrienne A.] Jones expects every member of the House of Delegates to uphold the law and be honest stewards of taxpayer dollars. The misuse of state funds is an issue we take seriously,” the speaker’s Chief of Staff, Jeremy Baker, said in a statement.
Impallaria, 59, was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2002. He ran for election this year in the newly drawn District 7B in the eastern portion of Harford County. Impallaria was one of five Republicans vying for the nomination for one seat in the district, finishing second behind Del. Lauren Arikan.
This is not the first time Impallaria has faced trouble during his political career.
In 2017, Impallaria was convicted in Worcester County Circuit Court of driving while impaired. Several months earlier, the delegate had been arrested by Ocean City Police officers who said they saw him open a container of alcohol inside his pickup truck, which was idling while parked illegally on 82nd Street. He failed a field sobriety test, police said.
And last year, Impallaria courted controversy in the General Assembly after calling one female delegate “more attractive” than a past delegate during a public hearing that was streamed on video. While some lawmakers were offended at Impallaria’s focus on appearance, he said he thought he was making polite small talk. “I thought it was pleasantry and being nice,” he said at the time.
Impallaria also got into a messy fight with members of the Baltimore County Republican State Central Committee, alleging that he was defamed when he was discussed during a 2019 meeting. Impallaria sued four central committee members, but his lawsuit was dismissed by a judge.
That same year, the Maryland Republican Party urged Impallaria to resign his position, saying he was “unworthy of the title Delegate.”