When it comes to the term “fat cat congressman,” Dutch Ruppersberger’s legacy is riddled with controversy. In an article published in The Baltimore Sun, it was announced that a familiar face, Samuel K. Himmelrich Jr. of Himmelrich Associates, may be teaming up with the current leaseholder of the often torched former VA Hospital known as Fort Howard.
The Baltimore Post has been covering the controversial and possibly illegal lease agreement between the VA and disgraced developer Timothy Munshell for years.
For us, this was a déjà vu moment, as this article describes.
In this particular situation, instead of Dutch worrying about the plight of military families living in substandard housing, as he should be, developers are again a priority.
This WJZ TV news report on conditions at Fort Meade, which is right in Dutch’s backyard, illustrates just how egregious this problem is involving private contractors. As the Post reported before, this is not the first time Dutch has turned his back on veterans. The Post believes this new developer in the mix for Fort Howard is especially disturbing because of the numerous legal issues concerning the leaseholder, Timothy Munshell.
This whole debacle was a nightmare from the get-go under the Obama administration. The Government Accountability Office released a scathing report on this entire “almost criminal” enterprise. The report was so disconcerting it eventually forced the VA secretary to resign.
We are quite sure that many people will fail to remember what part Councilman Todd Crandell played in this issue: “Crandell drafted legislation that would have allowed the 400-unit project, but then withdrew it.”
We would publish his response to our questions on that matter, but he’s never responded.
Much of the controversy surrounding the original developers, Timothy Munshell and his partner at the time Carl Williams, dealt with money.
To show you how long this debacle has been going on, the below interview with Congressman Ruppersberger was conducted back in 2013. The interview dealt with a questionable traffic report about the number of vehicles that would be using North Point Road, which only allows one lane in and out of the Fort Howard property.
The Post strongly believes that Dutch was misleading in his response regarding the documented traffic study.
Dutch, please explain to us what veteran would be able to afford one of these townhomes on pristine waterfront property? This whole issue always goes back to the well-heeled developers.
What the Sun article did not explain was a tremendous cost to the taxpayers regarding upgrades to existing infrastructure along North Point Road. This could include new water and sewer lines and underground electrical lines to the development.
What also is interesting about this nightmare is that John Olszewski Sr. and the Jim Smith law firm represented Timothy Munshell at the beginning of his attempt to turn Fort Howard into a metropolis with over 1,300 homes, office buildings, and a shopping center. Just imagine that traffic trying to negotiate a two-lane highway.
If we look closely, we can all see where this new phase of fleecing the taxpayers will go in the following quote from the Patch article:
The development will be financed through private investments, loans and tax credits for renovation of historic buildings and the construction of low-income housing.
Finally, we must not forget that Councilman Crandell promised the citizens of Fort Howard that he would not support anything being built that exceeded the current zoning of one home per acre.
This entire decision rests with the councilman saying “Yea or Nay.”
This most likely will be a “Yea” because of pay-to-play, folks.
Finally, we make this plea to Dutch: you pledged to support the “Green New Deal,” but we think your support would be better placed with our vets.
Please don’t turn your backs on them again.