Ocean City Today

Treasurer choice questioned

Opponents say Braughler appointment shows McDermott’s lack of judgment
By Brian Gilliland | Mar 01, 2018
Bill McDermott

(March 2, 2018) Responding to criticism that he chose an unsuitable campaign treasurer in Christine Braughler, Interim State’s Attorney Bill McDermott, a candidate for a full term in office this year, released a statement this week explaining his choice.

“My opponent’s campaign has questioned my decision making because I have appointed Christine Braughler as my campaign treasurer. According to my opponent’s team, they believe that anyone who has prior misdemeanor convictions and who has paid their debt to society should not be allowed to participate in the political process,” his statement begins.

According to public records, Braughler made Alford pleas to two charges, second-degree assault and malicious destruction of property — both misdemeanors — in 2004. She was sentenced to four months in jail, while six other charges went unpursued by prosecutors.

An Alford plea is a statement of innocence, while admitting to the court that the prosecutors have enough evidence to convict on a charge.

Years before that, as Christine Sier, Braughler was convicted in District Court in 1991 of theft. However, during and after that time there were a multitude of other charges filed but not pursued by prosecutors.

She also has had federal and state tax liens instituted against her in the recent past.

Braughler faced no criminal charges in Maryland from 2008 until 2017.

“As the State’s Attorney, my job not only involves prosecuting those that have committed crimes, but it is also to help them to become productive members of society,” McDermott wrote. “I, and my entire office, celebrate when anyone is able to turn their life around. And she did.”

In 2003, with $500, McDermott said, Braughler started her first business, Delmarva Archive LLC. He said she passed Maryland State Police background checks so that she could handle sensitive documents for local businesses.

“In only 10 years, through hard work and faith – she turned $500 into a million-dollar business that was sold in 2015 to a Fortune 500 company,” he said. “She used part of those earnings to reinvest in the Eastern Shore by purchasing, growing and eventually moving The Acorn Market to downtown Salisbury. On any given day, you can find prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, politicians, business owners and everyday people breaking bread in what has become one of Salisbury’s most popular restaurants.”

The last criminal charges Braughler faced in October 2017 was for operating The Acorn Market without a license and related charges. None of those charges were pursued.

“It is my fondest wish that everyone who we prosecute can one day become the next Christine Braughler, because this prosecutor believes in accountability, fairness and redemption,” McDermott wrote. “An attack on a citizen for volunteering to help in a campaign is exactly the problem with politics today, and is the real story in all of this.”

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