Politician Sorry for Enlisting Cops in Proposal Stunt

A state lawmaker reimbursed the city of Baltimore $300 Thursday for a marriage proposal stunt that involved police, writing on his Web site he hopes officers won't be blamed.

On Aug. 7, police boarded a boat Delegate Jon Cardin and his fiancee were on with friends in the Inner Harbor and pretended to search for contraband until Cardin popped the question. A police helicopter flew overhead. In an earlier posting, Cardin said he and his best friend dreamed up the scenario.

"I take full responsibility for initiating this incident," wrote the Baltimore County Democrat. He also wrote that he has made a separate contribution to the city's 121-year-old mounted police unit, whose existence has been threatened by budget woes.

He also apologized to his intended, Megan Homer, who did accept his proposal.

"Finally, I hope that my fiancee will be able to forgive the fact that I brought this unexpected and undesired public attention to what should have been a special moment in our lives," Cardin wrote.

The episode has embarrassed Cardin, who has posted three successive statements on his site after the proposal grabbed headlines.

Cardin has been criticized for everything from bad taste to the misuse of resources in a city hit hard by violent crime, especially near the Inner Harbor shopping and entertainment district, where recent beatings and shootings have scared tourists and residents alike.

Police are conducting an internal investigation.

Anthony Guglielmi, a police spokesman, confirmed that Cardin's check had been received. The department decided on the figure, based on the hourly rate paid to the officers in the stunt, which lasted about 13 minutes. Fuel for the helicopter also was included, Guglielmi said.

Guglielmi noted the helicopter already was patrolling the harbor area.

"It's not like he was just caught up in this incident," Guglielmi said.

Gigi Wirtz, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore Community Foundation that accepts donations on behalf of the mounted police unit, confirmed Cardin gave some money, but she declined to say how much.