Anirban Basu, downtown hotel shill paid $1600 for Frederick News-Post article, paid by…guess who?

Anirban Basu, the Baltimore based advocate for ‘public private partnerships’ had about 800 words in the Frederick News-Post May 22, 2016 under the head “Downtown hotel & conference center will be a boon for Frederick.” Basu attributed the $81m cost estimate for the DHCC to the Maryland Stadium Authority (City or HAC consultants made that estimate.) And he called Carroll Creek Linear Park a successful public private partnership (there was no private contribution, it was a traditional public works project.) Continue reading

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REPRINT: No quarterback for the downtown hotel? Letter to Editor FNP

No quarterback for the downtown hotel? Frederick News-Post, March 29 2018

You report (Mallory Panuska’s story published on March 24) Mayor Michael O’Connor as wondering whether there’s been a “quarterback” or anyone driving the city’s downtown hotel project. Initiated in 2009, it’s been a barely moving jalopy. Nine years later, they don’t have a workable site plan or permits, and funding is in doubt. Nine years. What a fiasco! Continue reading

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City Attorney says “no requirement” that RFP be approved by Board of Aldermen — backroom machinations OK?

City Attorney Saundra Nickols tells us in an email a Request for Proposals CAN be issued by City staff without approval of the Board of Aldermen. She maintains that the City’s Purchasing Policies and Procedures Manual does NOT require Mayor and Board of Aldermen approval for solicitations, requests for proposals (RFPs). Continue reading

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Complaint to state Open Meetings Compliance Board about backroom deal on City procurement

COMPLAINT: Failure to conduct an open meeting of the Mayor & Board of the City of Frederick to present, discuss, and vote on RFP14J, the procurement of a developer for the City-sponsored downtown hotel Continue reading

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Procurement RFP14J workshopped but never presented, discussed or voted on by Mayor & Board at public hearing

City records show that the key procurement, RFP14J, in which a developer was sought for the downtown hotel was never presented, discussed, or voted on, at a public hearing of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen back in 2013/2014.  The City Purchasing Policies and Procedures Manual requires that for contracts over $49,999.99 “the solicitation document along with all backup shall be submitted… for approval by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen” (p36.) Adopted as a Resolution by the Mayor & Board this represents City law.

Without any Mayor & Board approval of the terms of the RFP14J procurement it is unclear that there was a legal basis for the selection of the Plamondon company announced in August 2014, and ratified in a City-Plamondon Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on December 23, 2015. Continue reading

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The dilettante control freaks — looking back to 2013

Back five years, on February 6, 2013 at a Mayor & Board of Aldermen (M&B) workshop there was an interesting discussion among the City officials who got us into the downtown hotel boondoggle. They were considering a recommendation from the mayor’s Hotel Advisory Committee (HAC) that the City authorize $157,000 to hire Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) as the principal consultant for procurement of the site and the hotel developer. Continue reading

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Mayor says terms of hotel deal with Plamondon and historic mitigation both in “active negotiation”

The terms of the City-Plamondon deal for developing a hotel complex on the old Frederick News-Post are now in “active negotiation.” Mayor Michael O’Connor says this in a letter to Andy Stout, who wrote him questioning aspects of the City’s handling of the project. Continue reading

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Why the City-sponsored hotel is wrong

This website is dedicated to documenting what’s wrong with the City-sponsored hotel project here in downtown Frederick. We’ve written about:

— how and why the project was launched (because hotel developer Pete Plamondon thought such a hotel could pay once the State provided a new gateway off the Interstate and if the City would carry the cost of the conference center that the Chamber of Commerce wanted)

— how the City’s ran a fake competed procurement in 2013 (by outsourcing procurement to the shadowy Hotel Advisory Committee, rejecting their consultant’s plan for competition, limiting proposals to owners of a couple of approved sites, then doing an outrageously biased scoring to eliminate Plamondon’s competitor) Continue reading

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HAC chair Robbins resigns, says hopes the “politics” holding up the project can be resolved

Earl Robbins (Frederick News-Post picture 2013)

The longtime Hotel Advisory Committee (HAC) chair Earl Robbins resigned effective the end of 2017. And Mayor Michael O’Connor is not looking to replace him, spokesman Patti Mullins tells us. Robbins was honored by the Mayor & Board in a ceremony at their regular meeting in City Hall, Thursday March 1 — presented with a Certificate of Appreciation by Mayor Michael O’Connor. Continue reading

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Save the Birely smokestack

Any serious mitigation plan for the Birely Tannery would look to save some significant component of the building. Why not the splendid brick smokestack?

At more than 40ft the equivalent of nearly five stories high, nicely tapered from 4 ft at the base to 2.5 ft at the top, (my rough estimates) minimally decorated, it is a substantial and distinctive brick structure in its own right, although its footprint is modest. It soars well above the roofline of the three story north wing of the tannery. Continue reading

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