If the Mayor really wants to “address concerns” he should…


Mayor O’Connor thinks that “addressing concerns” will win support for the City hotel project. Fine. If he’s serious then he should:

1. Explain how the City came to appoint as its “point man” for the hotel project none other than Mark Gaver, probably the biggest conman in the history of Frederick County now serving a well-deserved 17 years jail for his six year $50 million fraud.

2. Tell us why Gaver’s closed door mode of operation of the City’s Hotel Advisory Committee (HAC) in flagrant violation of state open meetings law was tolerated by the City for eight years.

3. Investigate the HAC’s shenanigans in the so-called ‘competed procurement’ of developer Plamondon under the previous Mayor. How come the HAC quietly dumped the site first, developer second or 2-stage procurement recommended by the City consultant and endorsed by the Board of Aldermen? How come Plamondon’s proposal was received by the City even before the RFP was issued? How come there’s a reference in emails to the City working off a draft RFP written by none other than Plamondon? Why was the City Purchasing Department bypassed in violation of City rules?

4. Explain why the City after proclaiming the old Frederick News-Post lot as the best available site for the hotel it now finds it necessary to buy the Eagles property next door. Explain why  Plamondon has been negotiating with the Eagles for land which the City plans to buy and own.

5. Make the case for the City building and giving the hotel developer an expensive engineered ‘podium’ slab for his hotel atop a basement City garage. Show why the taxpayer should assume the risks and costs of building in the dump that is the remains of two centuries of industry creekside. Spell out what this will mean for the finances of the City parking fund.

6. Give us a detailed capital budget for this project. 

7. Get answers to the 25 issues raised by City planning staff in their letter “Re: Sketch Plan STF17-992SP for 200 East Patrick Street” signed by Pam Reppert, City Planner dated December 18, 2017.

8. Explain why he keeps project managers who have obtained state grants, then have them expire because they’re unable to get their act together…. project managers who love to generate project ‘milestone’ schedules and then disregard and discard those same schedules with impunity. Why not new project management?

Peter Samuel

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Extra land for downtown hotel causes more delay, more cost, more conflict

Joe Briglia

18 months ago the Plamondon company’s Joe Briglia made a page-and-a-half (1.5p) proposal to Richard Griffin the City’s director of economic development. This key Briglia email of February 13, 2017 has been blacked out (‘redacted’) as confidential and claimed to be exempt from state law’s requirement for release as a public document so we are denied its detail. But it is clear from other emails that have been released to us that the Briglia proposal was an argument that the City should buy the whole Eagles property — their club building as well as their parking lot immediately adjacent to the hotel site.  Continue reading

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Hotel an election issue — Afzali  and Giangrande highlight opposition to tax-$s

Kathi Afzali the Republican candidate challenging Jan Gardner for County Executive is contrasting her stance on the downtown hotel with those of her two rivals in the November 6 election. A chart in a recent email flyer contrasts her stance against taxpayer money going to the hotel with the support for taxpayer dollars  by incumbent Jan Gardner (Democrat) and Earl Robbins, the independent candidate. Afzali’s flyer presents the issue as: “Corporate Welfare: Giving $30 million in taxpayer money to a private developer to build a hotel in downtown Frederick.” The chart (see lower in this report) shows with a red ‘X’ that Afzali opposes government money whereas Gardner and Robbins with green ticks support ‘corporate welfare.’ Continue reading

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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)” Continue reading

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Mayor O’Connor says extra land for hotel will only be bought after vote of Board of Aldermen — no comment on Plamondon offer to Eagles

Mayor Michael O’Connor says there will be “no action” to acquire

Michael O’Connor

extra land for the downtown hotel without a vote of the Board of Aldermen. And the City will abide by its purchasing rules and the state open meetings law in handling the matter of extra land. Mayor O’Connor was responding to a letter co-signed by Jane Weir editor of the FoF C Downtown Marriott Watch, myself and another citizen in which we questioned allowing the Plamondon company to negotiate the purchase of land which is to be paid for and owned by the City. Continue reading

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LETTER TO THE MAYOR Mr Mayor: Is Plamondon the City’s purchasing agent?

Mayor O’Connor

Mr Mayor: at a recent meeting of the Frederick Eagles club it was revealed that Plamondon Hospitality Partners (Plamondon) has made a $650,000 offer for the Eagles property adjacent to the City-sponsored downtown hotel. Apparently the Eagles land is proposed to be added to the Randalls’ land which is all to be paid for and owned by the City.  Plamondon is in effect making offers-to-buy on behalf of the City of Frederick! Continue reading

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Plamondon offers Eagles $650k for adjacent property valued at $1.23m

Plamondon has offered the Eagles social club $650,000 for their 100 year old property at 216 East Patrick Street and two small open lots to the immediate west used for car parking. The offer was revealed to Eagles’ members at a general meeting last week. A local committee has been formed to recommend next steps but the ultimate decision rests with the head office of the club in Grove City (Columbus) Ohio. Continue reading

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Gaver Guilty — first HAC chair Mark Gaver convicted for $50m bank fraud

Prominent Frederick area businessman Mark Gaver was convicted on all ten US charges of bank fraud and money laundering by a jury in US District Court today (Aug 1.) His trial lasted eight days. Gaver fabricated a stream of false and fraudulent financial reports between 2008 and 2016 vastly exaggerating to the Santander Bank his Gaver Technologies Inc (GTI) business revenues to extract loans he had no hope of repaying to the tune of nearly $50m.  Continue reading

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Hotel Advisory Committee first chairman Mark Gaver’s trial for $50m in Frederick bank fraud begins today in Baltimore

Mark Gaver in 2010

Mark Gaver’s trial on federal charges of bank fraud began today in US District Court at 101 West Lombard St in Baltimore (case #RBD-17-0640.) Gaver served as the first chairman of the City’s Hotel Advisory Committee (HAC) appointed by former Mayor Randy McClement eight years ago and set the HAC on its course of dirty behind closed door political and financial machinations that have characterized the project since its inception. Continue reading

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No state funds for stalled hotel project — City forfeits another state grant but recent MOU fails to acknowledge

June 30th the City lost $500,000 it has been touting as state support for the downtown hotel. The State Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) says it is no longer funding the Frederick hotel project. In January 2016 the City was awarded $500,000 in ‘strategic demolition’ funds for purchase of land for the hotel. The City issued a celebratory press release in which the project director Richard Griffin was quoted as saying the money was “critical to advancing the project.” (2016/01/19) Continue reading

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