HB 1347 Please delete $5 million in grants for boondoggle hotel — an appeal to Senate and House appropriators

Dear State Senator/Delegate: 

Please delete the $1 million and $4 million grants for the Frederick downtown hotel in HB 1347 (pages 8 and 12.) see  https://legiscan.com/MD/text/HB1347/2019

The State of Maryland should not disgrace itself with support for this project. It is a corrupt, wasteful boondoggle whose first City ’point man’ Mark Gaver was last year convicted of $50 million of fraud and is now serving a 17 year jail sentence. Gaver was the first chairman of the City’s Downtown Hotel Advisory Committee (DHAC) notorious for its flouting over eight years of the State Open Meetings Act and for its corrupt behind-closed-doors procurement on behalf of City cronies. 

A detailed complaint about this project has been submitted to the Office of Legislative Audits and the Board of Public Works, available in pdf form at this link:


There’s also gross mismanagement. The first expenditure of taxpayer money was in 2009. Nine years later, a score of consultants, report after report, meeting after meeting, and millions spent, they haven’t produced even a site plan capable of meeting City codes. Earlier state grants have been forfeited for failure to meet deadlines for documentation. One grant the subject of proud press releases at the time was actually forgotten by the City!

Consider also in HB 1347 two extraordinary ’notwithstanding’ clauses in the text of the Frederick hotel grants. One provides June 1, 2026 as the new deadline for the City of Frederick. That says it all. They think they need seven more years to get their act together!  Another notwithstanding clause shields the chosen hotel site from review by the Maryland Historical Trust even though it contains two buildings deemed of ‘unusual’ historic importance — including the only surviving 19th century leather tannery works in the state.

This project is so contentious, it is reported, that the grants were not even brought up for open discussion at the meetings of the Frederick County Delegation of the General Assembly. As always the hotel project was advanced into HB 1347 behind closed doors.

Please, in the name of honest government and prudent spending of taxpayer money, put an end to all State support for this crony hotel project in downtown Frederick. It is disgusting and ridiculous.

Peter Samuel

text of email 2019.03.30

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