After call to investigate schools chief, Prince George’s Co. candidates trade barbs

prince george's map(Danny Yi)

WASHINGTON — Two elected officials in Prince George’s County, both aiming to be the next county executive, are leveling accusations that each is politicizing their mutual call for the resignation of schools chief Kevin Maxwell.

On Wednesday, Maryland Sen. C. Anthony Muse sent a letter to Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks — one of Muse’s rivals —  asking her to “formally launch an investigation into CEO Kevin Maxwell’s conduct while in office.”

“As you know it has been widely reported in the press about the cheating scandals that have occurred, allegations of mismanagement and also illegal pay raises,” Muse wrote to Alsobrooks.

Muse, Alsobrooks and former congresswoman Donna Edwards, who have all called for Maxwell’s resignation, are battling for the county’s top spot in the June 26 Democratic primary.

Alsobrooks dismissed Muse’s suggestion as “political tomfoolery,” saying Muse provided no evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Maxwell. She noted Muse launched his call for an investigation on his campaign’s Facebook page, during a Facebook Live video shot in his living room.

“As state’s attorney, I’m offended,” Alsobrooks told The Washington Post. “It is unethical, irresponsible and demonstrates an astonishing lack of understanding that is frightening.”

“I take issue with that,” Muse told WTOP. “In 2016, before I was running for any position of this nature, I called for the resignation of Kevin Maxwell. And in 2017, and in 2018.”

Alsobrooks last week cited “unauthorized” pay raises made to some top-level school employees as the reason she urged County Executive Rushern Baker to ask for Maxwell’s resignation.

Baker, who is at the end of his limited term, is running for governor.

While Alsobrooks attributed Muse’s call for an investigation to political motives, Muse was more circumspect, but only slightly.

“If we wanted to go down that road, I would find it kind of strange that two months before the election, she called for his resignation,” said Muse. “Many would say that’s political.”

Muse said Alsobrooks should look into grade-fixing, inflated graduation rates and mismanagement of the school system under Maxwell.

“Five thousand-plus of our children have been robbed of their education for life. It came down from somewhere. Teachers from various schools, from one side of the county to another, did not decide they were going to start fixing the grades of kids,” Muse said.

Muse said the grade-fixing scandal is enough evidence for Alsobrooks to launch an investigation.

“Let it start there — if she finds nothing, fine,” said Muse.

John Erzen, a spokesman for Alsobrooks in her role as state’s attorney, said she’d decline WTOP’s request to answer more questions about Muse’s allegations.

Muse disputed Alsobrooks’ accusation that his call for an investigation was based on politics.

“I don’t think we want to get into that argument. I’m still the sitting senator, who must do my job. She’s still the state’s attorney, who must do her job.”

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up