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Quirk: Whalen PUD Decision Above Board

Councilman Tom Quirk says the public record will vindicate decisions made on the Southwest Physicians Pavilion one day after developer Steve Whalen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations.

When it's all said and done, Councilman Tom Quirk says the public will understand that decisions made regarding the proposed Southwest Physicians Pavilion project were all above board.

Quirk offered the brief comments, his first after Catonsville developer Steve Whalen pleaded guilty to five counts of violating state campaign finance law, during a Friday interview. All of the violations stem from made to Quirk through three people including Whalen's personal trainer, a friend and an employee of Whalen Properties.

Whalen is the developer of the proposed Southwest Physicians Pavilion.

Parts of emails read Jan. 3 in Baltimore County Circuit Court highlighted conversations between Whalen and Quirk in 2011. At that time, the councilman was reviewing the developer's request to build the project under county Planned Unit Development laws.

In those emails, Quirk and Whalen talk about fundraising intermixed with discussions about Whalen's development projects, including the physicians pavilion project.

The emails raised some eyebrows because of the appearance of an improper- relationship between the councilman and developer. Political rival Paul Dongarra, who reported Whalen's campaign finance activity to the state prosecutor, said it was indicative of a "pay to play" culture in the county.

Even Whalen's own attorney in court Thursday said observers could wrongly infer an improper relationship between Quirk and Whalen.

Quirk declined to discuss the Whalen case during the phone interview Friday and referred a reporter to a statement he issued Thursday afternoon.

But the councilman added that all the decisions made about the project will be validated once an administrative law judge approves the plan.

"I am very confident that project's use of the PUD was done extremely well," Quirk said. "The public record will show that."

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David Sattler January 04, 2013 at 10:53 PM
I'm sure a councilman asking a developer to do fundraising for him, and then said councilman working to see that developer's projects approved over community objections, is pure coincidence.
OpenEyes January 04, 2013 at 10:58 PM
Maybe they should rename Catonsville....Coincidence City.
Steve January 04, 2013 at 11:08 PM
........and if you ask Elijah Cummings he will tell you it was just happenstance that the 3 Demolition contractors who made the same contributions to his campaign just happened to get "no bid" contracts for 10X the going rate.. It's all just a big coinkydink....
Jennifer January 04, 2013 at 11:15 PM
Open Eyes= Sore loser Paul Dongarra. Mr. Dongarra, the state prosecutors stated there was no wrong doing on Quirk's part. Get over it. And get over your wife's loss to Quirk. For someone so concerned with the issues you pretend to care about, where were your accolades for Councilman Quirk when he revoked Thistle Landing, when he passed numerous development reforms so that the PUD process would be more transparent, better scrutinized and open for public comment? When he refused to up zone all those properties during CZMP? When he moved 190 acres outside the URDL? When he created the Pedestrian and Advisory Committee? When he created Neighborhood Commons? When he made Open Space a community benefit? When he secured the district's first NeighborSpace property? Did he do all that for developers, too? Doesn't make sense that the person you claim to be in the pocket of developers is passing all this legislation that makes their life more difficult. But you're silent on all that, Mr. Dongarra. Why? Because your only objective is to destroy Quirk.
David Taylor January 05, 2013 at 12:23 AM
What he said... :) ^^^
David Taylor January 05, 2013 at 12:25 AM
Is that sorta like the old farmer blaming Scooby-Doo and the gang for trying to destroy him? "If it wasn't for those meddling political rivals, we would have gotten away with it!" Ha!
Sally G January 05, 2013 at 12:57 AM
What is 'coincidence' is Paul standing by a life size cut out of Obama and people passing out Team Obama slate (making it look like Obama endorsed Rebecca) all in an attempt to pander to african americans. Brian Bailey had the best quote on that one in the newspaper.
David Taylor January 05, 2013 at 01:29 AM
A guilty plea for violating state campaign finance law is just like standing next to cardboard... I see what you mean.
David Taylor January 05, 2013 at 01:50 AM
"Jennifer" - "Sally" and "Kelly" - all accounts created over the course of the past few hours (5:10pm-7:45pm), all rabidly defending Quirk, and Sally tells us that "I so agree with Kelly and Jennifer." Hilarious... you thought that would go unnoticed? Anyone see anything fishy there? Three new "accounts" in the past three hours, all supporting each other's wild attacks/opinions... and defending corruption (go figure that, from these special newcomers to The Patch) Are these even real accounts/people? More Coincindences! http://towson.patch.com/users/kelly-blue/comments http://catonsville.patch.com/users/jennifer-84995707/comments http://catonsville.patch.com/users/sally-g-f01d09ff/comments
Paul January 05, 2013 at 03:47 AM
Paul/Open Eyes/Sally Doe/David Taylor = Paul Dongarra. Just three words: FTC.
RARE MARYLAND INDEPENDENT January 05, 2013 at 04:22 AM
This is difficult for us independents. This reminds me of a few Rodney Dangerfield movies. The first Caddyshack when he slipped the judge some money and told him "keep it fair, keep it fair." The second Back To School when he had everyone else doing his college word and was taken to the Dean's Office (Ned Beatty) and asked by his professor if in fact he did the work. Rodney responded by saying I can't lie, yes, it was my work. And the Dean (Dean Martin) of course agreed. What makes it difficult for us Independents is here we have Quirk who is an bizarre fellow to say the least with his policies and antics, but still a Democrat. Yet his arch enemy is not a Republican, yet another Democrat. This is like a Steelers-Bengals game. You can't stand either team. But you still watch.
David Taylor January 05, 2013 at 04:56 AM
Oh sweety... nice try, but they know me here :) Shall we add "Paul" as your newest shill account?
Sally Doe January 05, 2013 at 05:43 AM
Paul: Sally Doe is NOT Paul Dongarra nor is she his wife. She is happy to make her "true" identity known as soon as you do, but you will be disappointed as she is merely an educated member of a local church who cares about what happens in her community: very boring. What is painful to witness here is the the beating up of individuals vs. the the discussion of a pertinent issue of our community and, please remember, "small minds discuss people, intelligent minds discuss ideas". The real issue here is that politicians are being bought, as always, and we need to decide if it's okay for us to stand by and watch more open space and potential recreation areas be swallowed by greedy developers who shower politicians with money, or should we take the time out of our "busy" lives to discuss what is being planned under our very own noses at the Spring Grove Hospital?
Sanchez January 05, 2013 at 03:23 PM
Looks like Whalen has unleashed his employees on the Patch.
Paul January 05, 2013 at 05:01 PM
Sally - all the Dongarras do is attack Quirk and others personally. Your hero Paul shouldn't throw stones when he lives in a glass house. Maybe someone will do a silly you tube video on Team Obama and the PAC behind it which Paul is very involved with. This PAC makes Whalen look like an angel. Unfortunately for Paul and Rebecca we have people who will talk and lots of documents. Rmi - Dongarra isn't a real Democrat. They endorsed a radical fringe Republican after they lost the primary.
Kelly Blue January 05, 2013 at 06:46 PM
Lets see Mr. Paul Hategarra stand up to the heat when it starts, like running a catering business from your home Paul? It's a residential neighborhood do you think that's appropriate for your Catonsville neighbors? Hmmmm? Maybe someone needs to check on your zoning to see if that's allowed. And btw how many of your suppliers gave campaign money to your wife in her failed attempt to win an election? If she had won were there any FAVORS to be given to those suppliers such as perhaps exclusive rights to sell you their food supplies? Were there any discounts given to you by your suppliers that in turn you used for her campaign??? Questions need to be answered by you. Lets open the books Mr. Transparency. Put out there on your website for all to see. You see Mrt. Hategarra what goes around comes around.
Kelly Blue January 05, 2013 at 06:55 PM
How many people posting about this live in College Hills or Hidden Bluffs, really bad projects right? Was the Catonsville Professional Center, Rolling Crossroads or how about Charlestown a bad idea. OMG they took an old seminary with rolling fields and woods and turned into the best retirement community in the area that thousands have enjoyed. My oh my these dam developers. Dongarra and their ilk are not FOR Catonsville they're for themselves. Catonsville would be a much better place without them. And to all of the Hategarras out there, don't shop at the Giant at Wilkens that property used to be ball fields. So don't compromise your principles. You need to go to the A&P in downtown C'ville and get your prescriptions filled at Moss Drugs and when you want to see a movie make sure it's only the Alpha theatre.
Paul Dongarra January 05, 2013 at 10:10 PM
My home address is my home office. I rent a commercial kitchen in Columbia where I am regularly inspected by the health department. The only time food comes home is when we have left overs that are donated the next day to our area homeless shelter or to share with my neighbors. If that is a problem, I will just have to start throwing it away. I also have a garden and use some of the veggies I grow. Feel free to stop by next summer, I'd be glad to give you some. It's true some of our vendors donated. We are a good clients, easy to work with, and we pay our bills on time. I don't see anything wrong with that, just like there was nothing wrong with the Jolles of Jolles Insurance making a donation to then candidate Quirk. I am sure his financial planning business refers business to them. Gift in kind donations from vendors and/or friends for copy writing, photography, and graphic design were all reported in Rebecca's reports. Perhaps when you bring up vendors and glass houses you should realize that Councilperson's finance records show him taking cash from companies like: Spindler Refuse, Ruppert Sanitation, Hartey's Trash Management, and Parks Refuse, Pollard Towing, two individuals associated with ACS (the Speed Camera Company), and one from the President of the firm that built Hillcrest Elem's addition. Do any of these people do business with the County? Enough of this foolishness, however, I have to vacuum my house...lol!
Kelly Blue January 06, 2013 at 12:04 AM
" The only time food comes home is when we have left overs that are donated the next day to our area homeless shelter or to share with my neighbors... I also have a garden and use some of the veggies I grow." So the great zoning expert has a commercial business and commercial garden (you are selling product grown on your property) in a residential neighborhood, I thought you were the zoning guru. Additionally you are looked at as a kind and generous person for giving away food that other people paid for. You are a wonderful human being. Perhaps it's time for you to review the zoning laws vs ranting against law abiding citizens. Reply Leave a comment
Paul Dongarra January 06, 2013 at 12:23 AM
My wife and I are not anti-development, we are opposed to poorly planned unnecessary development driven by greed that causes our current commercial corridors to erode. If Whalen Properties had proposed to redevelop Wilkins Plaza or Security Square Mall, I would applaud him. There are many great and exciting adaptive use and Transit Oriented Development (TOD) projects around the state: Union Mill, http://theunionmill.com/about/ The Oella Mill http://www.oellamill.com/,Camden Yards, and what is happening in North Bethesda, http://www.montgomeryplanning.org/community/whiteflint/ . The PUD on Kenwood Ave claims to be a TOD. It is not. Why are we upzoning land and issuing PUD's on land that hasn't been built on when there are many existing brown fields in need of redevelopment? Could it be that developers make more money when these parcels are purchased and then upzoned and/or a PUD issued? Because when this happens, it's almost like spinning straw into gold. Could it be that developers and their attorney's give and/or raise lots of money for our council to continue this alchemy of land use decisions?
Buck Harmon January 07, 2013 at 01:53 PM
The real name posters seem to be on top of this issue..

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