May 27, 2016 2:16 am ET
Questions arise over Tradepoint’s $100,000 donation to local school
Question: Is a charitable donation really charitable when you don’t care about the source of the check?
Think about that one for a moment…
I’m the first to admit that I’m not always the brightest bulb in the lamp, so to speak, so sometimes I require the assistance of some well-educated professionals to help me shine a light on some issues.
This is one of those times.
I want you to take a close look at the photo at the top of this column/blog. Does anything jump out at you, with the exception of the suits—as they say in the business world—and the sheepish grin on Councilman Todd Crandell’s face?
(An explanation will be forthcoming in a follow-up column.)
Still stumped? Take a closer look at the check. What do you see?
What I see are a couple of things that the “lamestream” media missed. (It must have been a cloudy day at the Sun.)
First, in the upper left hand corner of the check, you see the following:
Tradepoint Atlantic, The Davis Family Foundation, Inc.
After looking at that, I sent the group photo of the presentation to someone who has the acumen to notice the subtle nuances of, as “the Donald” would say, the art of the deal.
Here is where the story really gets interesting, as some of the main players are homegrown. (They also play on turf, which was recently changed from artificial to real.)
Speaking of real, let’s go one step further on this brief look into the deal. This should peak your interest, especially because of all of the smoke and mirrors.
You see, folks, this “donation” is not gift. Before you scream at me or send me nasty emails, consider this.
As always, I did my homework (with some help) in seeking out the truth. Below are some emails that were shared with TPA’s Aaron Tomarchio that I hope you’ll find interesting:
Here is my first email to Mr. Tomarchio:
On May 24, 2016, at 7:50 AM, Buzz Beeler wrote:
Mr. Aaron Tomarchio
VP Corporate Affairs
(For the record)
I have a few questions for the record on a column I’m working on.
1. How many local jobs are involved in the current projects at TRADEPOINT ATLANTIC? (I already spoke to labor groups and I want to see if our figures match.)
2. What is the name of the Davis Family Foundation doing on the check of the donation of $100,000? How are they involved?
3. How much capital investment does TRADEPOINT ATLANTIC expect to spend over the next 10 years?
4. What infrastructures will need upgrades such as roads and bridges?
5. How much money of the $48 million TRADEPOINT earmarked for remediation has been spent?
Thank you for your time. I will begin my column on Thursday. I hope to hear from you by then.
(For the record, I cleaned up a couple of typos while reproducing the email. You see, while composing many of these emails, someone is typically chewing my ear over the phone about any number of issues.)
Here is one of the several replies from Mr. Tomarchio:
I am currently on travel and have limited connectivity. Will work to get you responses as best as possible. May I ask what publication are you with? Thanks!
My reply back to Mr. Tomarchio (again, the typos on my part were corrected):
Thank you for your reply.
This is the name of the publication you have requested.
Here is Mr. Tomarchio’s reply:
On 5/24/2016 3:17 PM, Aaron Tomarchio wrote:
Thank you for the clarification. As a matter of corporate policy, we do not comment on articles being written by bloggers for social media sites.
Many of the questions you have asked in your email have been answered in previous published interviews with mainstream media publications, at open community forums and on TPA’s social media sites. We hope you understand, thank you.
Vice President, Corporate Affairs
It is SO difficult to get respect as an “independent journalist,” folks. But most people give me a little bit of courtesy rather than the flat out dismissal that I received from Mr. Tomarchio.
I also sent the following email to Councilman Crandell’s office:
Councilman Todd Crandell
7th District, Dundalk
Dear Councilman Crandell:
Can you tell me why the name of a non-profit organization—The Davis Family— signature appears on the $100,000 check which was intended as a gift to Baltimore County and the field at Sparrows Point High School, was in the name of TRADEPOINT ATLANTIC which is a for profit company?
I eagerly await your response.
As usual, there has been no response. (Remember that line about getting some respect from some people? Forget I wrote that…)
Then I thought I might set the record straight with Mr. Tomarchio regarding his response. To that end, I fired off the following email:
I have to disagree with you assessment on several counts.
Number one I am an experienced investigative journalist with 32 years of experience. I have worked for The Baltimore Sun, The Sunday Sun Magazine, The Hearst Corporation (owners of WBAL) and their publication, The Baltimore News American
Mr. Tomarchio, sorry about that, a technical glitch. (sent without completing)
As I was writing, I am also a member of the writers’ union of the AFL-CIO among other writing credits.
Patch is a legitimate nationwide news site.
You might also want to look at The Baltimore Sun. Many of their reporters also write blogs.
Facebook is what you refer to as “social media.”
(I also sent these blogs regarding the numbers)
I will abide by your wishes and use your comment.
Now before I go forward in the story, I would like to refer to a link related to an article in the Baltimore Brew.
Now, you should notice some of the key players in this deal, including John Oleszewski, Jr. and Kevin Kamenetz, among others.
However, the dots we are trying to connect go well beyond the Brew’s great article.
I will deal with the rest in another column—call it part two of this investigation—including a $500 million non-profit involved with a for-profit corporation.
Fasten your safety belts, folks, as we clear the smoke and smash the mirrors on this “Art of the Deal!” We are going to take a closer look in the gift horse’s mouth.
And, believe me, there are some deep “cavities” in there…