July 7, 2016 12:01 pm ET
New developer uproots Save Fort Howard meeting as Crandell faces opposition at council session
Source: A New “Development”
Photo credit/Scott Collier, DundalkTV
(The new mystery developer is camera shy)
There’s an old saying that goes, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
Truer words were never spoken concerning this latest “development,” which is pretty much the old “development,” but with an added twist.
Here is my take on the recent events that have put the Fort Howard Development back on the front burner and Council Todd Crandell back in the hot seat. You see, folks, said councilman tried to introduce legislation that may open the door to the very same issues he promised the community that he would help us avoid.
Let me start from the beginning.
This article appeared in the Baltimore Sun just prior to the Save Fort Howard meeting.
I believe that this was a preemptive strike by Councilman Crandell to head off the controversy that was looming, as some community groups were getting wind of rumors swirling around about the resurgence of the FH Development.
I also had received some information, including blog post by a DAV David Robert Crews who, like myself, has been chronicling this ongoing sage of the old veterans’ hospital and the VA’s attempt to shun the responsibility of managing the property.
Now, from way back when this was the first and only meaningful meeting with the community by the Developer Tim Munshell and his partner Carl Williams, we have this insight.
In Ron Cassie’s article (http://patch.com/maryland/dundalk/fort-howard-deal-could-be-signed-in-3-weeks), we find a multitude of facts involving some key players and their grandiose plans for that sacred piece of property.
It should be noted that this was not what the community wanted, and the battle lines were drawn.
Despite all of the empty promises by Mr. Munshell to get back to the community on a host of issues, the lines of communications went dead.
Mr. Munshell, the VA, and anyone connected to that development were nowhere to be found.
I added my two cents when I followed my then-editor Ron’s article with this piece:
Recently, David Robert Crews wrote about some rumblings involving a lawsuit filed by Munshell’s former law firm—Smith, Gildea and Schmidt—against the FH developer.
Munshell had other problems as well, including lapses in security that allowed historical buildings to be burned to the ground in arson fires and fines levied by Baltimore Code Enforcement.
Did I mentioned some back tax issues?
Here is David’s blog post:
So, if a person were to evaluate the current status of Mr. Munshell’s ability to develop anything, I would predict snow in July.
But then enters another player into the mix … and rather obnoxiously so.
I captured some video of the most recent CMPZ meeting held at Chesapeake High School in which the FH issue was addressed by a community leader:
That footage lead into the Save Fort Howard meeting that the Sun eluded to in Pam Wood’s article.
Good, bad, or indifferent, the video I captured missed the big explosion due to my leaving early, even though the three men that entered the meeting late were loud and boisterous enough in a hallway that a member of the audience had to ask them to politely “knock it off.”
I had a feeling that these men were not part of the community, but I did not know what was going to take place after I packed up my camera and left.
I felt the meeting had run its course and the show was over when, in fact, it had just begun.
As you will see in Scott Collier’s DundalkTV footage, Mr. Donnelly and the other two moderators were caught by surprise when one of the men approached the stage and wanted to speak about his role in this saga.
Since I had already left, I had to rely on those in attendance as to what took place.
Mr. Collier had a front row seat for the action and the mystery man’s dialogue with the audience.
Prior to the veiled threats made by this man, I made an attempt with the following email to confirm not only the developer present at the meeting but also the company involved.
Here is a copy of my email, which went unanswered:
Timonium, MD 21093
I was at the Save Fort Howard Meeting recently when a gentleman introduced himself as a partner in the development of the FH Veterans Property currently under a EUL between Mr. Tim Munshell, his partner Carl Williams and the VA.
Is your company involved in this project as a partner?
Is Councilman Todd Crandell and Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger aware of this new dimension?
Thank you for your time?
Now let’s get back to the crux of this intruder’s remarks and their rather caustic tone.
According to Mr. Collier, the man claiming to be the developer told the audience that they could work with him or, if they did not, there was the possibility that a prison could be built on the FH site.
Viewing Mr. Collier’s video, it shows the acknowledgement of the FH moderators in introducing this man to the audience, as well as his subsequent actions of demanding that Mr. Collier turn off the camera.
I thought this was suspicious. This is not the first time Cignal Corp has run into controversy as this link shows:
With that said, there is clearly reason to speculate the following chain of events.
With the timing of the Sun article, the crashing of the FH meeting, and the introduction of Councilman Crandell’s bill (see below), one can only think of how much of a coincidence this all was.
Here is a copy of Mr. Crandell’s bill, which was introduced at the July 5, council session.
At the council session, three community groups came out and voiced opposition to Mr. Crandell’s bill.
There seems to be a disconnect between Mr. Crandell’s earlier stance, which is shown in this article:
Is Councilman Crandell flip flopping on his FH pledge the same way he did on the Government Center?
Obviously, three community groups stated so at the council session, as they took issue with Mr. Crandell’s bill.
The key question is who wrote this bill? I will file a PIA to find out, and that should give us a clearer picture behind the curtain.
This is the first shot across the bow in this “new development development” (try saying that five times fast), and it will be very enlightening to find our way to the reality of the true players in this game of “What’s behind back door number one?”