County races mostly funded by developers

Frederick News-Post
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Companies involved in land development, along with their owners and employees, have poured more money into the Frederick County Commissioners election contest than all other contributors combined, according to a review of the final pre-election campaign finance reports.

The real estate and building industries, generally unhappy with the two incumbents who are running for re-election, have supplied about $40,000 for a group endorsing several challengers and largely bankrolled some individual campaigns as well, the reports show.

Development interests helped catapult Republican John Lovell to the head of the fund-raising pack — he has raised more than $36,000 — and also filled the campaign coffers of Republicans Mike Cady and Charles Jenkins, according to the reports. To a lesser — but still substantial — extent, building and real estate supported Democrats George Smith and Bruce Reeder.

The reports show Jan Gardner, an incumbent, along with Bonnie Bailey-Baker and Belinda Teague-Levy received little from the building industries, as did Republican Hugh Warner, though he’s more pro-growth than those three Democrats. Incumbent John L. Thompson Jr., a Republican whose campaign platform centers on opposition to development, apparently received nothing from the development forces.

The reports, many submitted to the county’s Board of Elections on the
deadline of last Friday, reflect fund-raising efforts through Oct. 20. The
next reports are due after the election, but the political action committee
Frederick Countians for True Republicans disbanded after the primary and
filed a closing report Friday.

The reports don’t indicate the employment of individual contributors, so exact figures on development-related money are not available. But the money from the firms in the building industries, plus the individuals known to be in those industries, is clearly higher than the total balance of contributions.

Among the largest sources of contributions was the Virginia-based firm — and its owners and employees — that bought Lake Linganore earlier this year.

Those contributions are listed variously as being from SK&R group; Calvert Development LLC; Robert Wilcox, the principal owner; William DiLoreta, an employee; and Frank Ellis IV, who is also on Mr. Wilcox’s payroll.

Their money went to Mr. Lovell, Mr. Cady and Mr. Jenkins.

Mr. Wilcox, who put Lake Linganore in bankruptcy when he bought it, has said his plans for developing the long-stalled subdivision involve financial mechanisms needing county government approval.

While some of the development-related contributors in the election are based out-of-county, others are local, such as Morgan-Keller Inc., Millennium LLC, Buckeye Development LLC and Earl “Rocky” Mackintosh.

Various officers of Defenders of Citizens’ Rights Inc., which focuses on land-use policy, made contributions primarily to Mr. Lovell, Mr. Cady and Mr. Jenkins.

Frederick Countians for True Republicans in its final report said it raised and spent $47,301. The vast majority of that, approximately $40,000, was from the building industries. Fifty-eight contributors were listed.

True Republicans endorsed Mr. Lovell, Mr. Cady, Mr. Warner and two other candidates who were knocked out in the primary.

The ballot issue committee Citizens Against Code Home Rule, formed Oct. 10 by many of the key players in Defenders, reported contributions of $2,950 and expenditures of $500 through Oct. 20.

Candidates had roughly between 30 and 110 contributors apiece. According to reports reflecting total activity through Oct. 20:

— Mr. Lovell raised $36,550 and spent $31,549.

— Mr. Cady raised $26,401 and spent $16,278.

— Ms. Gardner raised $20,679 and spent $15,900.

— Mr. Jenkins took in $19,505 and spent $11,543.

— Mr. Smith raised $17,740, loaned his campaign $10,000 and spent $11,056.

— Mr. Reeder raised $16,610 and loaned his campaign $2,500. He spent

— Mr. Thompson raised $7,660 and loaned his campaign $1,000. He spent

— Ms. Bailey-Baker raised $6,417, loaned her campaign $5,000 and spent

— Ms. Teague-Levy raised $3,275 and gave her campaign $2,185. She has spent
all but $18 of the total.

— Mr. Warner claimed contributions of $2,425, and he loaned his campaign
$4,000. His expenditures were $2,887.