August 18, 2015 3:09 pm ET
Three-judge panel says Circuit Court is best suited for dispute over government center
In the game of tennis, you lob the ball to throw your opponent off balance. That is why I believed it fitting to take a tennis theme in the headline, because the latest move in the government center saga has people off balance, to say the least.
Dundalk United met another stumbling block, which was somewhat expected, when the Board of Appeals for Baltimore County stated that the organization’s case should be heard in the Circuit Court of Baltimore County.
Explaining the evolution of the PUD process, Administrative Law Judge Andrew Belt—speaking on behalf of the panel— said, “We are not here to hear evidentiary evidence but to determine if the law was followed.”
And around we go again, folks.
The three-judge panel—which featured Jane Hanley, Meryl Rosen, and Andrew Belt—said it was their opinion that the law was followed properly and this case was best suited to be “flushed out” in the Baltimore County Circuit Court System. The term seems appropriate, as a good number of cases are decided in the hallways (and restrooms) of the county court system than in the courtrooms.
What are friends for, anyway?
Judge Belt brought up some interesting points regarding arguments made at the first hearing, which was heard by Administrative Law Judge John Beverungen. At that first hearing, Dundalk United’s lead attorney, Mike Moran, was told that the court of appeals did not have the authority to make any other decision, based on its scope and power, which meant that the circuit court would have to decide the outcome of this long and contentious battle to save the North Point Government Center.
However, in order to get the case to the circuit court level, there are a serious of steps that must be taken. Unfortunately in this case, the judges have all been appointed by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.
No conflict of interest there, right?
Judge Beverungen also approved the ramrod Paragon boondoggle, better known as the White Marsh Mall outlet store development.
I would say that I was shocked at that one, but that would be a bold-faced lie.
Councilwoman Cathy Bevins and Tom Quirk were glowing and flowing in their praise for that mess.
Quirk, who should know better, and Bevins who has no clue, led the “jobs, jobs, and more jobs” chant (as well as the “revenue, revenue, and more revenue” refrain) without any study material or facts to make such claims. How do I know this? Because I have put in numerous requests for that data. I would have accepted anything—a coloring book, even—to validate that they looked at something other than marching orders from the developer.
I called Councilwoman Bevin’s office and received a response that led me to believe that nobody there knows what facts are. I spoke to a representative from Paragon and, after an exchange of “I read your column” and other (un)pleasantries, I politely reminded the executive about my request for the study material the company claims to have.
My parting comment was, “I won’t hold my breath for a response.” If I was to do so, I would be in the great beyond very quickly.
One more point on my assessment of this: Remember the Fred Homan incident with Suzanne Berger, when a Democratic Judge threw out the case after he refused to allow the sexual incident to come into play, which was the crux of the entire case.
(In case you don’t remember: http://archives.explorebaltimorecounty.com/news/6005823/homan-named-1m-lawsuit/)
So, folks, you can see the battle Dundalk United will have in the county courts, where more often than not politics play a key role.
Not only that, but you can bet millions of our tax dollars that the court will appeal any decision that does not favor Mr. Kamenetz or Merritt Pavilion.
It must be nice to use our tax dollars for someone else’s pet projects.
What are pals for, anyway?!?!
The real tragedy is that, long after Mr. Kamenetz and his cronies are out of the political arena (which hopefully will be soon), the trash left behind will continue to litter our communities.