Letter to the Editor, Frederick News-Post 2016.06.26: On the downtown hotel you reported: ‘Griffin also dismissed Samuel’s accusations about lack of transparency. He said Samuel’s misunderstanding of the document was one reason why the full report was not made public. “These reports are not public consumption reports,” he said.’ (FNP Jun 26)
For the record I did not “misunderstand” the report, and Richard Griffin can cite nothing I said or wrote that represents a misunderstanding of it. I understood and told elected officials that Griffin had been forced by this $121 million number — a number that was certainly news to them — to cut back on the hotel project, and I mentioned that abandonment of Parking Deck #6 was going to lower the project cost below the $121m number.
How much it will lower it is unclear because Griffin has said he wants 350 parking spaces built on the hotel site instead and most of these will be underground. Underground parking often costs twice per space to build compared to elevated deck parking. Maybe some of the underground parking has been ditched by Griffin? It is unclear quite what his $84m will build.
$84m is certainly a lot better than $121m. But as recently as 2013 the project cost estimate he gave was “about $45m” so at $84m it has almost doubled in cost in less than three years. More important three years ago Griffin was saying the public funding ‘gap’ was $10m to $12m. Now it is $31m.
Richard Griffin says the Forella Jan 7 report was “not a public consumption report.” State (MSA) officials we met in Baltimore certainly thought it was. So did the state assistant attorney general who sent us our copy. If Richard Griffin thinks the risk a report may be “misunderstood” justifies keeping it secret then he doesn’t know state law.
Peter Samuel, Frederick. 2016.06.26