Laurel Mayor Craig Moe won a third term as mayor despite charges of fraud being thrown at him by former Laurel City Councilman Michael Sarich.

Moe won with over 50 percent of the vote with Sarich finishing second with 26 percent and Laurel Ethics Commission member Valerie Cunningham in third place with 24 percent.

Sarich claimed Moe’s supporters distributed unsigned campaign materials, an illegal practice.

“In the September 2010 primary election, you took aggressive action at the request of Angela Alsobrooks against Jerry Mathis for failure to provide a legitimate authority line on campaign materials (among other charges),” Sarich wrote in a complaint to Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler. “In this case, supporters of Craig A. Moe, incumbent Mayor, have used the United States mail to send anonymous campaign materials with various inaccurate allegations (fraudulent in some cases) to voters in Laurel.”

According to the state board of elections, an authority line must be “set apart from other printing or content of the campaign material” and must “state the name and address (unless the address is on file with the State Board) of the person who is responsible” for the literature.

Sarich also accused Moe’s campaign of using fear tactics when City Administrator Kristie Mills wrote an op-ed piece in the Baltimore Sun, which said city employees feared their jobs might be on the line if Sarich were elected.

“There has never been an election where a mayoral candidate threatened city employees, attempted to intimidate an established employee group and disregarded the city’s local laws and policies the way Michael Sarich has,” Mills wrote.

“Employees have heard department heads and co-workers told to get their boxes, their jobs were ending Nov. 2. Mr. Sarich has frightened city employees with his outlandish behavior and statements.”

Sarich denied the accusations.

“I have never threatened the jobs of City employees, many whom I have known for years,” Sarich said in a statement. “This is how the Mayor and his friends have kept power for so long – lies, threats and intimidation.”

Moe, however, had strong support from several statewide officials and that appeared to be the difference in the race. Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks, State Sen. Jim Rosapepe, D.-Dist. 21, and Del. Barbara Frush, D.-Dist. 21, were all glowing in their praise of Moe, especially Baker, who said Moe had been able to build relationships as mayor in way that benefitted the city while providing accountability.

“He has been able to open many doors and works well with others to get things done,” Baker said. “He is one of the most honorable and ethical elected officials I know. I look forward to working with him for the next four years.”


George Barnette

Special to the AFRO