Republicans go from famine to feast with 3 county...


November 11, 1990

Republicans go from famine to feast with 3 county executive 0) victories

Maryland's Republican Party has had to put up in past years with such humiliations as perennial pauper candidate Melvin Perkins as its official candidate for Congress in the 6th District. But the wallflower years may be coming to an end.

GOP candidates won the county executive spots in Baltimore County, where Roger B. Hayden ousted the heavily favored TTC incumbent, Dennis F. Rasmussen; Anne Arundel County, where Robert R. Neall's own exit polls showed him trailing Councilman Theodore J. Sophocleus, D-1st; and in Howard County, where Charles I. Ecker had to wait for absentee ballots to confirm a 450-vote victory over the incumbent, Elizabeth Bobo. (One Democrat who won was Eileen M. Rehrmann in Harford County, over former Bel Air Mayor Geoffrey R. Close.) And Republicans added nine state delegates, two state senators, gains in seven county councils and many other local offices. In a more expected GOP victory, Wayne T. Gilchrest beat Representative Roy P. Dyson, plagued for years by charges of scandal and misrepresentation, in the 1st Congressional District. Mr. Dyson was the only congressional incumbent to lose.

"It was finally to our advantage to be the outs," said Carol Hirschburg, a member of the Republican State Central Committee and a campaign worker for Mr. Hayden. She echoed the consensus of professional explainers who attributed the results to voter disgust with taxes and politics as usual. The disgust didn't extend to passing limits on property taxes, which were defeated in Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties, but it helped cut Gov. William Donald Schaefer's re-election margin to a hair's-breadth, for him, 59.6 percent over William S. Shepard, who carried 12 of the state's 24 subdivisions.

Mystery man turns philanthropist in death

Harry Weinberg was the mysterious self-made investor who frustrated city officials by refusing to sell or upgrade his many downtown properties. But Mr. Weinberg's death at 82 created excitement in places ranging from Baltimore development offices the St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center, which helps poor people find homes. Mr. Weinberg left nearly all his money -- estimated at $900 million to $1 billion -- to a foundation named for himself and his wife, Jeanette, who died in 1989, and specified that all the money go to help the poor. "This is the best news that I've heard come along even if St. Ambrose doesn't get a nickel out of it," said Vincent Quayle, St. Ambrose's director. "It gives people real hope." Lawrence Weisman, Mr. Weinberg's attorney of 40 years, said he thought the trustees would probably be readier than Mr. Weinberg was to work with the city. "They know enough to carry out his wishes, but they won't be as inflexible as he was, I don't think," Mr. Weisman said.

Another mover and shaker shaken out

Like Alan P. Hoblitzell Jr. at MNC Financial, Jack Moseley, chairman and chief executive of USF&G Corp., was the head of one of Baltimore's most prominent corporate citizens. Mr. Moseley and the firm made major contributions to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, made plans to buy the Orioles if necessary to save them, and tried to keep Robert Irsay from taking the Colts to that place in the middle of nowhere. But also like Mr. Hoblitzell, Mr. Moseley headed a firm that was part of a very troubled industry, and like Mr. Hoblitzell, ousted as head of MNC, he paid the price. USF&G announced that it was slashing its dividend and preparing for widespread layoffs and that Mr. Moseley, whose high-dividend policy had worried investors, was retiring. USF&G has not yet named his successor.

Gifts controversy leads to Frostburg threat

Frostburg State University's troubles over political gifts from its non-profit foundation mounted as a major contributor who is on its faculty said he might try to withdraw his endowed scholarship. J. B. Kerbow, a professor of French, and his wife, Dorothy, gave about $60,000 to Frostburg State University Foundation Inc. last year for creation of the scholarship fund. Expressing concern that Frostburg President Herb F. Reinhard Jr.'s use of part of the fund to make political contributions "could very well result in the loss of tax-exempt status for the foundation," Dr. Kerbow said in a letter to the foundation's executive director that he would investigate whether the money he contributed in the name of Leila Brady Suter should be removed. The Suter fund, which provides up to four scholarships a year for foreign language students, is one of the largest scholarships in the foundation.

Ya gotta play, state begs lottery bidders

A day after three of four companies dropped out of the bidding for a $75 million Maryland Lottery Agency computer contract, the state's budget chief tried to lure them back and "encourage maximum competition" by changing some of the state requirements. At Governor Schaefer's direction, Charles L. Benton, secretary of the Department of Budget and Fiscal Planning, announced he would postpone the deadline for bids from last Thursday until Dec. 10. Some potential bidders had protested that the original deadline was too soon to allow them to compete. "Even though this may be a ploy -- and we're not saying that it is -- we want to be fair," Mr. Benton said. The four potential bidders are represented by some of Annapolis' most influential lobbyists. And the competitors had protested that the state's requirements favored the current computer supplier, Control Data Corp., represented by Alan Rifkin, formerly Mr. Schaefer's legislative chief.

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