Revelations of expensive lobbying in general assembly with taxpayer-$s FACEBOOK POST

At least $21,000 of local taxpayer money funded lobbying for the downtown hotel/CC UPDATE

County Executive Jan Gardner just informed us the County has spent $5,000 this year on lobbying services to advance the downtown hotel and conference center project. We reported earlier that the City revealed it provided $13,500 and the Tourism Council of Frederick County contributed $2,500 to the Chamber of Commerce’s five-party lobbying effort. That brings to $21,000 the money we know for sure was spent in the last legislative session in Annapolis on the hotel project.

According to the latest City numbers $31 million of public funding will be matched by $53m of private funds in what is now an $84m project overall.

The Downtown Partnership and the Chamber of Commerce itself put some of its funds into the lobbying, but they have both declined to disclose the amounts. A guess is the total would be $30,000 plus or minus a grand or two. Earlier the City defined the lobbying effort as a contract with Greenwill Consulting of Annapolis to “monitor legislation and budget hearings regarding the Downtown Frederick Conference Center Project, scheduling meetings with key leadership, educating key members of the budget committees on the Frederick objectives and needs.”

The lobbying effort first surfaced April 13 when Earl Robbins chair of the City’s hotel advisory committee listed Greenwill Consulting “our lobbyist” among those who deserved thanks for the success in getting state funding via a conditional grant of $1 million and two loans of $7.5 million – despite defeat of the two original bills in the house appropriations and senate finance committees.

see earlier report

The Frederick News-Post has published nothing on this so far. And it has not yet reported a 20% increase in the cost of the project from about $70m to $84m revealed by the City May 12.

see on cost increase

P Sam

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