Would-be Prince George's County delegate ready to move on from string of bad luck

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Local,Maryland,Matt Connolly,Prince Georges County

Would-be Prince George's County delegate Greg Hall is moving on from a string of bad luck that saw him lose his potential legislative seat, lose his court appeal and, a month later, lose his house in a fire.

Hall was at the center of a whirlwind of controversy after he was recommended to fill Tiffany Alston's seat in the Maryland House of Delegates. He ended up with nothing, though, after concerns were raised over his criminal past.

"I was screwed on this one," Hall said. "It's just been a long, long process."

The Prince George's County Democratic Central Committee submitted Hall's name to Gov. Martin O'Malley for appointment, but O'Malley balked at his decades-old criminal record, which includes a gun charge conviction and dropped murder and drug charges.

Hall filed a lawsuit claiming the governor was required to appoint the Democratic committee's choice. Alston, whose seat had been vacated for her misuse of public funds, also sued to return to the House after her lone guilty finding was changed to probation before judgment.

Alston was convicted in June of misdemeanor theft for using $800 in state money to pay an employee of her law office and pleaded no contest in October to attempting to use more than $3,500 in campaign funds to pay for wedding expenses.

A December Circuit Court ruling dashed the hopes of both politicians. Judge C. Philip Nichols Jr. ruled that Alston could not regain her seat in the Maryland General Assembly and that the Democratic committee could withdraw Hall's name.

The committee did just that at a meeting Tuesday night, instead recommending Vicky L. Ivory-Orem, Clayton Aarons or Phillip Raines to fill the seat. Ivory-Orem, a Prince George's County Orphans' Court judge, is the committee's primary choice.

"All three of them are upstanding citizens with impeccable resumes," said Terry Speigner, the committee's chairman. "Judge Orem in particular has a stellar history of a community and civic involvement."

Speigner added that the governor received at least 10 resumes from other potential candidates. O'Malley is taking the names under consideration, according to a spokeswoman.

Hall called the recommendation meeting, in which he and Speigner traded barbs, a "circus." He added that he respects the three candidates but thinks they're too detached from the region's issues.

"These people do not represent the diversity of our district," he said. "We are not getting the right representation from the inner Beltway."

To make matters worse, Hall's dryer had overheated Sunday night, setting the lint alight and catching the house on fire. There were no injuries, but Hall said it caused about $80,000 worth of damage. He's working with his insurance company as his family moves around, staying with friends.

Hall is also planning a march for the rights of those re-entering society from prison, which he expects to come next year in D.C. or Annapolis. As for 2014, he hasn't made a decision on whether he'll challenge Alston's eventual successor.

"They couldn't beat Greg Hall -- they know they couldn't," he said. "Maybe I'll just run for governor."

mconnolly@washingtonexaminer.com

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Matt Connolly

Examiner Staff Writer
The Washington Examiner