Yes, folks, the cold hard truth is that Johnny O has more campaign cash than his Republican opponent, Al Redmer. But where did all those $$$ come from?
Once again, the Post investigates in order to provide our readers with the facts.
We took a look at Johnny O’s campaign finance records to see which pasture produced his sizable cash cow.
During our research, we were not shocked to see the below quote from Mr. Redmer regarding Johnny O’s influx of campaign cash:
“Johnny ‘O’ is part of the old political machine that includes the same movers and shakers that have been funding county politicians for decades.”
We decided to learn more about these “movers and shakers” to whom Mr. Redmer is referring.
Some of you may remember the name Steve W. Whalen Jr. For those of you who don’t know who this gentleman is, let’s go back in time to look at his role as a “mover and shaker” in the world of Baltimore County politics.
You see, Mr. Whalen was convicted of election law violations, as noted by the Baltimore Sun:
State prosecutors said Whalen, owner of Whalen Properties, gave a total of $7,500 in cash to three people — his personal fitness trainer, an employee and a friend — and asked them to write personal checks to the campaign of Councilman Tom Quirk, a Catonsville Democrat, in 2011. The illegal practice, known as straw contributions, can be used to conceal the identity of a political donor.
Imagine our surprise when we looked at Johnny O’s campaign finance records saw the amounts that Mr. Whalen donated to the county executive hopeful’s campaign.
There is another interesting comment in this letter to the Baltimore Sun, which contained the following quote in support of Johnny O:
Sometimes choosing a candidate comes down to common sense. Or dollars and cents.
With that statement, the Post decided to dig some more.
Beyond the contributions from Mr. Whalen, we uncovered names that harken back to the days of Johnny O’s father–former Councilman John Olszewski, Sr.
Those times included many controversies that engulfed the east side of Baltimore County: the Yorkway development, developer John Vontran, and the Seagram’s property that stood for many years as a symbol of the decaying 7th District.
What took place at Yorkway should be important to every voter in Baltimore County, as it typifies the attempt by politicians to ingratiate developers through the use of taxpayer dollars. That unfortunate incident began when then-Baltimore County Executive Dutch Ruppersberger attempted to seize the old Yorkway apartment complex property. The value of the property originally was listed at $1.5 million. However, when political influence deeply impacts the taxpayers, as this particular issue exposed, the taxpayers pay a heavy price.
The owners of the apartment complex refused to sell, and Dutch’s attempts to seize the property under the eminent domain law also failed when the owners fought back in court. That did not stop either Councilman Olszewski Sr. or Dutch from continuing their attempts to seize the property through legislative means.
In the end, the whole matter ended up as a rather disturbing hit to the taxpayers. The property that was valued at $1.5 million eventually cost taxpayers $20 million to purchase and another $2 million to demolish, all so the county could come to the aid of the developer, John Vontran.
It should also be noted that Johnny O (Jr.) was a state delegate at the time of this downward spiral. His political turf, if you will, comprised the 7th Councilmatic District as well as the 6th Legislative District, which includes Essex and Middle River.
Getting back to the campaign cash cow, who continues to chew plenty of green, we found other prominent names: Jim Smith and his law firm; The Seahorse Inn; another well-known (and controversial) developer, Frank Scarfield; and Caves Valley, which over the years donated close to $6,800 to Socialist/Progressive Democrat Johnny O.
If the Baltimore Sun believes that Johnny O is the answer to the problems of Baltimore County, which is evidenced by the paper’s unabashed support, then at the very least The Baltimore Post can provide a counter-narrative to this extremely important upcoming county executive race.
Remember, folks, as the saying goes, “The Apple does not fall very far from the tree!”
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