Why the Board of Aldermen should vote No on the downtown hotel (Unpublished Letter to the Editor FNP)

Soon after he first assumed office as Mayor at the beginning of 2010 Randy McClement committed the City to sponsorship of a downtown hotel. It was to be a $45m, three or four year project — due to open by the end of his first term or early 2014. Four years later it is still a three or four year project — 2021 or 2022. Meanwhile the City’s mismanagement of this project has impressed itself on the Maryland Continue reading

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“Black is really white” — Executive Summary misrepresents new MOU on City hotel construction risk

The Executive Summary begins with an Overview reporting supposed revisions to the draft new-MOU for the downtown hotel project made in response to comments at the May 23 Workshop. Bullet points describe revisions claimed to have been made “to address key issues identified by Aldermen at the Workshop.” Continue reading

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City says can’t find records authorizing hotel procurement RFP14J in Feb 2014 — the Cover-Up of the Big Fix

The cover-up of the hotel Big Fix has gotten worse. The City says it cannot find the key records authorizing issuance on February 19, 2014 of the Request for Proposals for the downtown hotel. Known as RFP14J this solicitation was suspect because the insider-only RFP document that emerged from the City Purchasing Office contrasted so sharply with the open, competition-friendly procedure presented to the Board of Aldermen at the prior public meeting. Continue reading

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8 Talking Points about the new MOU or deal between City and developer Plamondon for Downtown hotel

Eight talking points written for Mayor & Board meetings on the proposed new MOU between the City and hotel developer Plamondon:

1. Plamondon the developer will now fund the conference center as well as the hotel, but the City will build a much larger basement under the hotel complex along with a structural platform or ’podium’. This is a bad trade, because building in the muck of the Creek is risky. The MOU claims it saves money but that’s not credible. Say No to paying for Plamondon’s Podium. It’s not infrastructure, it’s a boondoggle.  Continue reading

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Venue changed to City Hall boardroom for public Workshop of Mayor & Board

At 10am this morning the City changed the venue of the Hotel project Special Workshop of the Mayor & Board from the 140 West Patrick St Municipal Annex conference room to the City Hall boardroom. Patti Mullins told us the earlier posting on the City’s Meetings page was in error. Starts 7pm today May 23. Continue reading

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New MOU raises many questions — submission to Mayor & Board


New MOU looks an improvement, but raises many questions — you need to go deeper than the salesman’s spin

Mr Mayor, Aldermen: Attached is a submission urging you to ask difficult questions about this proposed new MOU with a view to taking a whole new look at the downtown hotel project and what has gone wrong. I hope you will conclude that it is time to abandon the project and devote City resources to higher priority, and more worthy purposes. City sponsorship of this one large hotel downtown, promised tens of millions of public dollars, has for more than eight years now casts a dark shadow over the lodging market such that self-financed lodging downtown is impossible. My investigations have made it crystal clear that the procurement was a corrupt fix. The site is a disaster. Project management has been inept Continue reading

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Podcast interview on Frederickland.org

Approached by host Dewey Stewart to do a podcast on the hotel project for his frederickland.org I was happy to talk. His ‘peg’ was the Mayor & Board Workshop on a new MOU for the hotel Wednesday May 23 at 7pm. Dewey asked good questions, I thought.

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State AG’s Compliance Board thinks may have been secret meetings on hotel RFP

The State Attorney-General’s Open Meetings Compliance Board thinks there may well have been secret meetings in 2013 on the downtown hotel procurement, and does not accept the City’s denials. The Board in a May 11 ruling says “We do no know what happened” by way of closed meetings but it thinks it likely that meetings occurred that were structured to evade the requirement that they be public. Continue reading

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City releases new hotel MOU, sets M&B Workshop for May 23

The City has released a revised draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the development of the downtown hotel and conference center (DHCC) with developer Plamondon, and scheduled a public Workshop of the Mayor & Board of Aldermen (BOA) for May 23. A project capital budget in the document puts the overall cost of the project at $80.4m split between the developer $62.9m, and $17.5m the public sector (City, County and State.) That’s a 78%, 22% percentage split.  Continue reading

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City bails out of state compliance board contest — leaves me with last word

Normally a contest at the state attorney-general’s Open Meetings Compliance Board goes four rounds: (1) Complaint (2) Response by City to Complaint. (3) Complainant’s Comment on City Response (4) The Final Words — from the City.  But on this occasion the City bailed out in the final round, taking only 15 minutes to inform the state Board. Naturally my immediate thought was: Continue reading

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