Candidates: Have You Refused or Returned Any Contributions? ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Candidates: Have You Refused or Returned Any Contributions?

Candidates were asked the following: "Please tell me, if in your fund raising, you have refused any contributions or you have returned any that you felt were inappropriate. Please provide a brief one or two sentence general answer within two days. If there have been such instances, likewise, please feel free to be as specific as possible and provide explanations."

All candidates were sent the question at the same time. Below are the unedited answers (salutations were removed) in the order in which they were received. As always, readers are urged to study and learn more on their own and to draw their own conclusions:

From Trudy McFall: 
I have refused verbal offers of contributions from several sources and returned a couple of checks.  I will tell you the types, if that is OK, but it feels unfair for me to name names because they are all perfectly decent professional folks-- they just fell into categories I didn't want to accept from and there is no need to make them feel insulted.  I have not wanted to accept donations from any development firm that was developing in the City in the last few years (including the 2 developers working on the redevelopment of the public housing) or that I knew intended in the future to build in Annapolis. Also, I did not want any contribution from the key local land-use lawyers who are generally so active in getting developments approved.  I refused several offers of contributions and returned two checks from such folks.

I also refused endorsements from the Fire Fighters Union, and, therefore, the contributions that typically follow.  No other union asked, so no other refusals there.

I would have refused anything from the various private folks that lease City property, such as the boat show, but no offers were ever made or suggested.  Also the classic big developers like Jerry Parks have never had the slightest interest in me, so no refusals were required.

A note about my use of the term "development firms working locally."  I do have contributions from professionals who work on some local projects, such as architects, construction firms, civic engineers, property manager firms, landscape firms, etc.  They are all folks that I have known for years in other capacities (the State and HFA), and some do from time to time work in Annapolis.  They are not the developers who sell the deals to the local officials, they are just hired to do their various professional work after the fact-- so I accepted some money from them.

One last note, the contribution listed in the previous filing from the Annapolis Towne Centre group (I believe that was the name) is actually a subsidiary of The Bozzuto Company of Greenbelt, Md.  They are not the developers of the Towne Centre, but where just the builders selected to build one of the apartment buildings and they made the contribution from that account. I am long time friends with Tom Bozzuto, the President, from when their prime business was affrordable housing. (Josh on the other hand does have $6,000 from the actual owners and developers of the whole property--something I would not have done even though it is outside Annapolis.)

From Gil Renaut
No contributions have been refused, and nothing has been returned.

From Chris Fox 
NO. If you look at our finance report you can see that almost all our donations came from Annapolis residents and one large one from an Annapolis bar/restaurant.
From Zina Pierre
In our fund-raising efforts to date,  we have not experienced concerns with receiving contributions given to our campaign nor felt the need to return any funds given.  Nonetheless, this campaign would have no problem returning any funds that we deem or lend the appearance of being inappropriate.

From Wayne Taylor
We have not recieved[sic] any inappropriate contributions, so we have returned any.[sic]
From Laurie Sears-Deppa
No, I have not not received any inappropriate contributions, therefore, I have not refused any. 
From Sam Shropshire
Yes, I have refused a contribution.  The sizeable contribution was offered me if I would run for alderman and not run for mayor.  My response, "I will not sell my decision to follow my conscience."  All other modest contributions I've received have been from small, legitimate donors who support my vision for protecting our people, our environment and our history.
From Dave Cordle
I have not refused any contributions, but have made it clear that no contribution can buy my vote (ask Alan Hyatt).  I have returned portions of 2 contributions as they exceeded the maximum amount allowed by law. 

From Josh Cohen

The donations that were accepted are all a matter of public record.  To the best of my knowledge, there were no contributions that required return.

As an elected official, Josh has always acted based on what he believes to be the public interest and his record clearly reflects that.  While it appears that some are trying to stoke fears based on selected donations, take a look at the facts: 

Josh has served in public office for eight years and cast hundreds of votes.  If there was any legitimacy to these fears, he would be attacked on his record.  There is a reason he is not -- Josh’s record shows he has consistently fought to protect the community's interest by managing growth, protecting our natural resources, strengthening schools, enhancing law enforcement, and limiting spending.  That is what he has done for eight years and it is what he will continue to do as Mayor.

We are proud of the broad range of people who support him -- environmentalists and developers, business leaders and labor leaders, educators, law enforcement, residents and others. 

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