OCEAN CITY — An Ocean City woman was charged last week with three counts of telephone misuse-repeated calls after an alleged spree of threatening or harassing calls to three Ocean City Council members in October.
The Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office last Thursday formally charged Amy Lee Durham, 39, on three counts of telephone misuse-repeated calls to City Council members over a period of two days from Oct. 4-5. Each count carries a $500 fine and/or three years imprisonment.
In the first count, the State’s Attorney’s Office charges and alleges on or about Oct. 4, Durham “unlawfully did misuse telephone facilities and equipment for repeated calls with the intent to annoy, abuse, torment or harass Brett Ashley” in violation of Maryland law.
The other two counts read exactly the same way with Councilman Jim Hall allegedly victimized with calls on Oct. 4 and Councilman Joe Hall victimized on Oct. 5.
Joe Hall said this week he and the other alleged victims have been instructed not to comment on the case. However, both Joe Hall and Ashley confirmed last month they had received early morning calls from an unknown number. Hall and Ashley said the caller blocked the phone number from appearing, but Ashley characterized the calls as “threatening,” while Joe Hall referred to them more as “harassing.”
While the content and context of the calls has not been made public, the presumption is they were politically motivated. Each of the three alleged victims were among the council majority that ostensibly forced out long-time City Manager Dennis Dare in September, igniting a political firestorm from which the resort has still not fully recovered.
However, Councilwoman Margaret Pillas, the fourth member of the council majority, was not called reportedly or is at least not listed on any court documents.
The incidents were immediately reported to the Ocean City Police Department, which then alerted the state’s attorney’s office. Verizon was contacted and was able to obtain the phone number and traced it to Durham. According to court records, Durham was formally charged late last Thursday afternoon although she wasn’t served with summonses until Monday.
Durham is part of Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan’s extended family. Reached last Friday, Meehan declined to comment on the matter, simply saying, “obviously, it’s not the kind of behavior I condone in any way.”