Fire-Plagued Fort Howard’s Future Falls Flat
Posted by Buzz Beeler on 30th December 2017
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When the VA made the announcement that a new outpatient clinic was to be built in Rosedale rather than at the original Fort Howard Veterans Hospital site, it raised some serious questions concerning the EUL lease signed by developer Tim Munshell.

Mr. Munshell, by the way, has left the property in decay following several arson fires that destroyed historical buildings at the site.

Another issue deals with the new location of the proposed clinic and the relationship between Mr. Munshell and Armando Cignarale, as described in this article excerpt from East County Times reporter Devin Crum:

The new clinic is slated to open in August 2018 in 12,000 square feet of leased space within the newly constructed Franklin Square Professional Center at 5235 King Ave., not far from Franklin Square Medical Center. The building is owned by the development firm Cignal Corp., the principal of which is Armando Cignarale. Cignarale expressed interest in taking over the redevelopment of the former Fort Howard VA hospital property – the former home of the outpatient clinic – during a community meeting in June 2016.

Some of you may remember the Post column on the subject, which revealed that Mr. Cignarle attempted to form a partnership with Mr. Munhsell to redevelop the old veterans hospital site.


Photo Credit: Dundalk Eagle


There is a serious question here concerning the EUL agreement signed with Mr. Munshell: Does the VA have the right to make such a move without the lease being modified allowing developer Munshell to not fulfill his lease agreement?

Here is a quote directly from The Federal Register and language specifically related to the lease:

The Secretary of VA intends to enter into and EUL for 94 acres of land and 37 buildings at the Fort Howard VA Campus in Fort Howard, Maryland. The selected leasee will finance, design, renovate, construct, manage, maintain and operate the EUL development. As consideration for the lease, the leasee will be required to provide a new community-based outpatient clinic, profit-sharing and discount rental veterans residing in the senior living retirement and affordable housing community.

We, along with some community leaders, wonder how can this be done without any revision to the original EUL.  The U.S. Code 8162 contains the legal language involving an EUL.

In order to find out some of those answers, the Post contacted the VA. The response we got was, “it will be taken care of after the fact.” We found that answer to put the cart before the horse, as the idiom goes.

The spokesperson for the VA would provide no further details.

Here is another snippet from a previous article:

After the meeting, Cignarale said he had become a partner with Ft. Howard Development LLC and developer Timothy Munshell based in Montgomery County.

According to several sources the Post interviewed who are familiar with this process, both the veterans and the public should be involved in any changes to the EUL. Our sources also stated that original leaseholder Mr. Munshell has already potentially violated the lease by not beginning construction on the proposed development within 39 months of the EUL signing, which occurred on June 30, 2014.  The sources referred to US Code 8162, which goes through the entire EUL process.

Finally, our sources told the Post that the Mr. Munshell  is solely responsible for restoring the historical buildings destroyed by the fires at the former VA facility.

The Baltimore Post will continue to investigate this issue thoroughly and update our readers with information pertaining to the law, rather than what happens out of the public eye in backroom deals.

One source essentially stated this was a classic example of a breach of contract. In addition to that statement one source put the blame squarely on Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger.