Unhappy contributors and Frederick County delegation members took offense to inferences gleaned from recent blog post regarding the proposed downtown hotel conference center.
On Friday, February 5, 2016 the Frederick County, Maryland Delegation met at the House Office Building in Annapolis. While I did not have the pleasure of attending, the MacRo Report Blog post entitled “Does the Elephant reside at the Holiday Inn” apparently sparked exchanges between Democratic and Republican members with declarations of votes “being bought” and the article being called a “hit job.”
Those claims made the comments section of several social media outlets and the comments section of the MacRo Report Blog. I received calls from delegates Kathy Afzali and William Folden, the former claimed that I did not have the whole story.
Well, it seems that I did not.
In last week’s post we included a chart that summarized all the political contributions that have been made from two primary donors who have an interest in the outcome of the votes cast toward the proposed downtown project. In my tally of the monies that flowed from Randy Cohen and his Holiday Inn contingent, which opposes any government financial support, and the Plamondon brothers, who are the selected developers for the project, I inadvertently left out the members of the Plamondon group who do not share the same last name.
The revised tally can be found by clicking here or by going to the edited version of last week’s post.
All told, as Danielle Gaines summarized in her front page article in last Saturday’s Frederick News Post, all the primary contributors aligned with the opposition and the developer. According to the additional information gathered from the article, the total of the Cohen contributions did not change, but the sum of the Plamondon donations turned out to be $4,075 instead of the $1,000 I reported last week. Still a significant difference, especially when one includes the $2,072 contributed to Senator Hough in October of last year by the developers of Jefferson Tech Park, which also announced plans for a privately funded hotel conference center on the west end of the city.
While I have no idea as to what the official position of the Jefferson Park Developers is on this matter, Mr. Hough has often used the project name as one that would be unfairly treated by the city’s downtown plans.
As soon as Ms. Gaines made me aware of the error in my contribution calculations, I emailed all members of the delegation with my apology … and also broadcast the same message over the same social media channels the post was originally circulated.
But the question remains among many as to whether it was my intention to perform a “hit job” on the Republican members of the Frederick County Delegation, as well as Randy Cohen.
My answer is a plain and simple NO … and for that I apologize.
The point I was trying to make was that while the amount of contributions totals a minor fraction of what is seen on a national or regional scale, it still left a number of the readers of the MacRo Report Blog wondering — enough that I felt compelled to share what information I had.
Do I personally think the money has made a difference to delegation positions? I truly doubt it.
I will leave this matter just saying that I have the utmost respect for Delegate Carol Krimm, who, as I understand it, chose not to either solicit nor accept any political contributions so close to the time the delegation would be discussing and voting on the matter.