Emails obtained by The Baltimore Post reveal backdoor deals between pols and business leaders
Deals were already cooked before public had a chance to respond. Deals could cost taxpayers $1/2 billion dollars
The Baltimore Post has obtained through a Public Information Act request 53 pages of emails revealing a number of backroom dealings involving members of the political elite and entities including Tradepoint Atlantic, The Jim Davis Foundation, and other government agencies.
Due to the large volume of emails, The Baltimore Post will present a multi-part behind the scenes look at the underbelly of our political leaders, as well as their ties to corporate cronyism.
These emails reveal some startling information involving how many of these deals are cooked before the public is even aware of what is about to take place. We found emails containing some shocking details as to how far these political leaders will go to oblige their corporate counterparts.
This whole story began when a reader contacted the Post regarding the above photograph; saying the money supposedly was donated by TPA was misleading. The front of the check clearly showed that the money did not come from TPA, but rather from the nonprofit group, The Jim Davis Foundation. Jim Davis is the cousin of Ravens owner Steve Biscotti.
It should also be noted that shortly after The Baltimore Post reported on the above story, the signing commemorating the donation to Sparrows Point HS was removed.
In addition to the issue of “who wrote the check,” Councilman Crandell made the following statement at a recent community association meeting relating to the impact of TPA: “People can come out and comment on the impact of the development.” If that is the case, then why did Councilman Crandell introduce legislation, 86 – 15 that actually prohibits any public input on the subject of TPA.
Mike Pierce is a well-known community activist who testified many times before the County Council. He is considered to be one of the outspoken critics against this type of legislation put forward by Councilman Crandell. Mr. Pierce had the following to say about legislation 86 – 15:
“Whats wrong with the bill is that it takes that ‘open process’ away from citizens and grants a de facto exemption, without the right to object or appeal. This is apparently the ‘cumbersome processes’ which the Sun article referred to.”
At a recent community association meeting, Councilman Crandell said this about TPA: “All of the jobs are not low-wage jobs.” If, in fact, the councilman had this information, then why did he release the following statement regarding the Post’s PIA?
- A breakdown concerning the number and type of jobs currently being offered by Amazon at TPA. Breakdown should include the pay scale, full-time employee numbers, and the differentiating number of skilled versus labor-intensive In response, your request does not appear to be for records but rather for information not in possession of Councilman Crandell or this office. Therefore, we are not in possession of any records that are responsive to this request. I would suggest that you contact the offices of Tradepoint Atlantic directly for this information.
We think this is referred to as “dodging the question” … or double-speak. Take your pick.
Let’s get to the heart of the issue at hand: the emails gained through the PIA. Below is the first installment of our investigation.
As always, “You read; you decide.”
From: Aaron Tomarchio <email@example.com>
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2016 8:35 AM
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; Delegate Ric Metzgar; Bob Long; Grammer, Robin
Subject: Tradepoint Atlantic – Legislative Agenda & Transit Service – BaltimoreLink Public
Dear District 6 Leaders & Councilman Crandell
I hope all is going well. I would like to see if you have time in the coming weeks to share and discus TPA’s legislative agenda and the upcoming Baltimore Link public meetings. I am working with several community leaders to try to generate support in getting MTA bus transit service extended to serve Tradepoint Atlantic/Sparrows Point. Wanted to get your thoughts and see if we can develop a coordinated strategy on Link and the other legislative issues of interest to TPA. Would you all be available to meet before the start of session? I know trying to get everyone together may be a bit of a challenge, so I am happy to meet one on one or in coordinated groups. Thanks so much!
VP, CORPORATE AFFAIRS
TRADEPOI NT ATLANTIC
1600 Sparrows Point Boulevard Baltimore, Maryland 21219
T 410.709.1289 C 443.XXXX
From: Maryland Transit Administration <email@example.com>
Reply-To: Maryland Transit Administration <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Friday, December 9, 2016 at 10:02 AM
To: Aaron Tomarchio <email@example.com>
Subject: BaltimoreLink Public Hearings
Dear MTA Customer,
After two phases of public outreach (fall 2015 – summer 2016), hundreds of public and stakeholder meetings,
You will notice that in the above email there is no mention of the community. The focus is strictly on TPA’s agenda.
One of the community leaders Mr. Tamarchio was referring to is Ms. Gloria Nelson from Turners Station in Dundalk. Ms. Nelson’s name will be featured in future articles and there is only one other community member mentioned in the entire group of 53 emails. His name was Fran Taylor who is the chairman of DMMP Citizens Advisory for the Port of Baltimore. Mr. Taylor oversees potential for the dredging at TPA.) It should be noted that dredging is crucial to TPA’s success.
The DRC is also embedded in TPA’s agenda. Below is a list of some of the grant money received by the DRC. We will have more on this in the next part of this story.
Community Legacy funding ($100,000) initiated the Dundalk Avenue streetscape, which later received $467,000 in county
funds and $1.7 million in additional state funds and was completed in 2007. A $70,000 gateway sculpture over Dundalk
Avenue was installed in 2008. The Roundabout entrance to Turner Station and Watersedge was completed in 2007 ($1
In addition to the above notation, we must also consider the impact of the DRC which is listed below in this telling photo. Please note this is just a small portion of the money that goes directly to the DRC, provided by, you guessed it, – the taxpayers.
Former TPA executive Michael Moore and DRC Executive Director Dr. Amy Menzer (Photo credit/TPA)
The Post believes the MTA line running from the city directly to TPA is meant to provide a source of “cheap labor,” as those in the business community call it. We know this because the types of jobs currently being offered by FedEx are basically logistics positions.
In this first installment of revealing emails, and you will notice that there is not much concern about community input. The emails are rather inclusive of TPA’s legislative agenda.
As the Post continues to reveal these emails, you will see how the attempt to control the narrative by utilizing one particular media outlet may shed some light (“Sun-light,” if you will) on why so much of this information remains in the clouds.
Stay tuned–there is much more to come regarding the seedy backroom dealings between our elected officials and the business leaders who continue to exert influence over the pols.