An email back & forth with a leading defender of the City’s handling of the Eagles land buy negotiations

He said ‘No’ to reporting his name, so following New York Times practice we call him/her Anonymous or Anon.
Anon: Its pretty simple. Plamondon buys property. The city cannot dictate when or how much. The City then later may to decide to property. It would go through city purchasing requirements including vote by BOA (Board of Aldermen) You are surely welcome to get up at the BOA meeting and holler that the city is CORRUPT by paying HALF the appraised value. “What a TRAVESTY. (etc)”

PSam: Thanks (Withheld name), but like the Mayor you don’t provide an explanation as to why the City is not negotiating for the land itself. The people running this (downtown hotel) thing always seem to find a suspicious roundabout route, rather than a simple straightforward logical route to get to where they want to go.

Anon: Again, it is pretty simple. Plamondon is purchasing the property. The City is not purchasing the property. Again, the City cannot tell people whether or not they can purchase a property, nor for how much. Apparently you are a communist. And believe the government should be able to dictate what private businesses can do.

PSam: No I’m not saying Plamondon shouldn’t be allowed to buy it. I’m saying the City should come clean about any understandings it has with Plamondon about taking over any purchase agreement. It should have been put in the new MOU.

Anon: The “understanding with Plamondon” is clearly stated in the MOU. Additional land can be purchased up to $526,825.

PSam: I was the only one who drew attention to that provision for extra land! And I asked about it. No one would discuss it. Also It says nothing about why (the land) is needed or about who makes the purchase. There is no reference to any understanding with Plamondon. It just says the City will own the property (the land.)

Anon: Plamondon purchases just like they purchase(d) the FNP (property). Then they deed the property to the city, just like the FNP (land). BOA then approves funds for the property just like they approve funds for the FNP. Additional land needed has been discussed many times.

PSam: In the case of Plamondon buying FNP (Frederick News Post) property the City had assumed no responsibility. The Plamondon-Randall’s purchase agreement occurred before the City had formally made its choice of partner. If Wormald or someone else had been chosen by the City as its partner then Plamondon and the Randalls would have been left with the land and taxpayers would not have been called on to pay for their arrangements. The Plamondon-Randall deal was part of the package the City bought when it selected Plamondon rather than Wormald. The situation is quite different now. The City is hooked up with Plamondon, and the City is committed to paying for and owning the land of the project. It is none of Plamondon’s business to be buying more land for a project in which the City is committed to owning the land — unless there is some secret deal and understanding that Plamondon will act on the City’s behalf…. which is precisely what I am investigating, and asking the City to come clean on.

Anon: Again, there is nothing corrupt here, no secret backroom dealings, nothing to investigate. It is all public. The MOU approved by the BOA allocates $526,825 for additional land. In addition, the need for additional land has been discussed in the OPEN for a couple of years.

PSam: How do you know there is nothing corrupt here? How do you know whether or not one or two key Eagles people are getting paid $50k or some such on the side to go along with selling a $1.2m property for $650k. You claim there are no secret backroom dealings. What about the negotiations between the Eagles and Plamondon? And the dealings between Plamondon and City officials over acquiring the Eagles property. Backroom dealings again. Why? The City has taken on paying for and owning the land for this project. The City has a Purchasing Department and established procedures designed to make acquisitions in a clean, transparent, accountable manner. Why all this roundabout, secretive, surreptitious use of a developer to negotiate the City’s land purchase? The Mayor hasn’t explained it, and you haven’t either.

NOTE: This has been somewhat edited as compared to precisely what went back and forth in quick emails.

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