Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Council Goes Rogue: Citizens Kicked Out


Fellow Historics:

Back room dealings. Smoke filled rooms. Closed Council sessions. The King is in his element. Bully!

Last night's closed City Council session was supposed to discuss the Markethouse. And it really was discussed.

But wait, there's more!

Unannounced, Mayor Josh Cohen's purported influence peddling scandal involving Eastern Waterproofing was discussed as well.

Some background is in order.

Under Ellen Moyer's tenure, the renovation of the APD Headquarters floundered. Lawsuits were threatened and contractors were told they had to make good on their contracts before they would get paid. With our public monies.

Former Central Services Director Rob Schuetz was working to come to an agreement with subcontractors. One of them, Eastern Waterproofing, purportedly agreed to submit only one more 'change order' and was rumored to owe the City approximately $500,000.

Steve Kling, the City Attorney at the time, is said to have had lawsuits ready to go just in case. So, Eastern Waterproofing hired an Attorney too, Mr. Alan Hyatt, Esq.

And, perhaps more significantly, Josh Cohen was elected Mayor.

Soon after Eastern Waterproofing was said to come back with 11 or 12 'change orders' that added close to $1,000,000 to what they claimed they are owed. Former Central Services Director Rob Schuetz is said to have disagreed with them. It violated their agreement he felt.

One of the principals on the City's side says Eastern Waterproofing purportedly told the other subcontractors to "stick with them" after Cohen's swearing in. That Rob Schuetz would be fired. That they would be free to pursue other claims against the City and split the difference for amounts they might be claiming above the original contracted for price (e.g., additional billings against the city).

This specific information was purportedly told to this City principal by one of the other APD contractors -- in front of witnesses.

And, as purportedly promised, Former Central Services Director Schuetz was fired.

Unfortunately, in January Attorney Alan Hyatt agreed with the City on the change orders and on the terms of a global settlement. The very next day Hyatt was said to be fired by Eastern Waterproofing. They then hired Garcete's (the general contractor on the job) attorney Larry Prosen.

The Cohen Administration then makes the decision - acknowledged by Mayor Cohen himself - to not pursue the ~$500,000 owed to the City but to 'no pay' the change orders. So needed cash is siphoned off the City's coffers. And Eastern Waterproofing still pursues additional claims through Attorney Prosen worth $1,000,000.

Oh, and Project Manager Doug Massengale is let go 1 July. A trifling detail and another wagging mouth closed.

You see, one of the owners of Eastern Waterproofing, Jeff Gray, the brother of a life long school chum of the Mayor's. The Mayor has never denied this connection. But he claims this life long friend had no special influence with him.

OK.

The issue really is: what is the true story?

On one side you have three people with inside knowledge, some of whom are talking, about what went seriously wrong and the swagged hundreds of thousands of dollars to Mayor Cohen's chum. These folks are: Former Central Services Director Rob Schuetz, Former City Attorney Steve Kling and Former City Project Manager Doug Massengale. (Note the frequent use of the word "Former"?)

And on the other side you have a story from the Mayor. Which we cannot report since it was told in closed session last night to Council members only.

The City has a process. To discuss the ethical - or unethical - behavior of the Mayor in closed session is not only wrong. It is illegal.

The City has an Ethics Board. The City Council does not, nor should it, have the power to investigate ethics charges against one of its own, even the Mayor. Especially in closed session.

The Council strayed way off course last night.

But, you see, the King approves. This is simply how things are done in the Ancient Citte. After 350 years, our ways are too stuck in the past to let anything change our behavior.

It is good to go! Rogue that is.

King of George

21 comments:

  1. All Hail the King !!!! Praise be to you Lord George. Between you and Annapolis Sound we will squeeze the Mayor until he learns to speak the Queen's english and not the stuff of fantasy.

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  2. Dearest Ne'er:

    It's really not about what Mayor Cohen did or didn't do. He is a pol in the fine tradition of Maryland politics. We would never expect less from him.

    It's about a City Council passing judgment on their own in private session. The way it is supposed to be done. Never, ever air your dirty laundry!

    Back to the basics.

    King of George

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  3. Dear King,

    Bully for you for the nice re-cap; most has been scuttlebutt, but you confirmed rumor. Tsk, tsk to the boy-mayor. We can watch in amazement as the City screws the pooch on this one too.

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  4. Shocking stuff King. The Council is out of control. They need to reign in the boy Prince and his evil hencemen before they drain us dry.

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  5. Jeremy SpokinclassAugust 17, 2010 at 8:10 PM

    The boy mayor wants to play dirty does he ? Well , I and the People say bring it onward and upward punk ! We have organized a squad of high tech and low tech genius to mirrorthe bos every move and tap , tap , tap into valuable sources of highly protected information, This war against the Boiy mayor and the council of bumbling bumpkins will be won with information !!

    The King of George has served as a glimmering beacon on truth on the hill. We wish to honor him by bringing the Boy Mayor to his knees. Once on his knees we will ask him to place his lips on the moons placed before him.

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  6. Dear J:

    Mine or his? The King certainly will not kiss any such moon shine.

    King of George

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  7. Cohen is out of control. He has lost all guidance. Stop him.

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  8. This is really amazing.

    I liked Josh. I always thought he was honest and straight forward.

    I am wrong.

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  9. Gennie, please deal with it. Just politics as usual here.

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  10. Josh is no way a racist!! Give us a break from your stuff. No one believes this.

    Paul - is that you?

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  11. COHEN IS NOT A RACIST !!! Just yesterday he was ' " Honored to dedicate the Philip and Rachel Brown education building on Green Street" and he would have been there even if he was not a politician.

    see him here : http://tweetphoto.com/39657871

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  12. KOG is disgruntled.

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  13. Actually I saw Cohen's yearbook from keyschool, one could hardly say he has much experience with diversity.

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  14. did he graduate ? or transfer?

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  15. The wheels have come off Cohen and his inside dealing.

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  16. ...say it ain't so, Joe..

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  17. I've ordered Cohen not to talk for a while while things blow over

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  18. When you have no ideals
    your beacon whirls round and round
    followed by the long shadows.

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  19. It is amazing the newspaper is silent.

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