Ethics issue turns 1st District race into family feud

September 10, 1991|By Ginger Thompson

The mud has started to fly in East Baltimore's 1st District.

An advertisement in the East Baltimore Guide, a weekly community newspaper, bashed incumbent Nicholas J. D'Adamo, implying that he has acted unethically by employing his father as an administrative aide and by maintaining a district office in his family hardware store in Highlandtown.

"In my opinion, Mr. D'Adamo would rather hear the cash register

ring than his phone," said the ad, written in the form of an "open letter to the voters of the First District."

Mr. D'Adamo isn't the only 1st District council incumbent who has a member of the family on his council staff. Councilman John A. Schaefer has employed his daughter for the past four years as an aide to help him with constituent work. But the ad doesn't mention Mr. Schaefer.

Why the omission?

The ad taking Mr. D'Adamo to task was paid for by a recently established political action committee named Citizens for Good Government and signed by its treasurer, Louis J. Cavaliere. As it happens, Mr. Cavaliere is working for Mr. D'Adamo's rivals on the Proven Team ticket: Joseph R. Ratajczak, Dominic "Mimi" DiPietro -- and John A. Schaefer.

"It was definitely dirty politics," said Mr. D'Adamo.

"When you attack family, that's about as low as you can go.

"And I don't think they're in the position to throw stones."

Mr. Schaefer denied any involvement with the ad, but boasted about the work his daughter does for him -- for which she draws a city salary.

"Yes my daughter works for me, but she earns her money," Mr. Schaefer said. "She goes out to community meetings for me. Nick's father just sits in the store and answers the telephone."

There is no law prohibiting a council member from employing a relative as long as the relative and the council member do not live in the same household.

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