November 18, 1992

County Council members hold closed meeting

Four members of the County Council met in a crowded Columbia restaurant yesterday to discuss personnel matters in a closed session.

The council members were seated at a small corner table near the front of the restaurant. They could be seen, but not heard. There were other tables nearby, but the maitre d' did not seat anyone there.

Council Chairman Paul R. Farragut, a 4th District Democrat, moved to close the meeting at 12:43 p.m. Shane Pendergrass, a 1st District Democrat, seconded the motion. It carried unanimously with C. Vernon Gray, a 3rd District Democrat, and Darrel Drown, a 2nd District Republican, also voting to bar the public from their deliberations.

Councilman Charles C. Feaga, a 5th District Republican, said he was not told of the meeting. Mr. Feaga, who is a farmer, missed part of a Zoning Board hearing earlier in the day to take part in the county's annual farmland tour.

He said he told council members he would listen to tapes of the Zoning Board hearing. Although he informed them of his absence, they did not tell him of their luncheon meeting, he said.

"It is a little bit shoddy" for the council to meet in closed session without telling him, Mr. Feaga said. "I should have been there. I think this is the first time in six years they have had a meeting on a personnel matter without telling me."

Ms. Pendergrass said she did not know why the council was meeting in a public restaurant to conduct an executive session. Mr. Farragut said the private meeting in a public place was necessary because of scheduling problems.

Mr. Gray left the table at 1:07 p.m. Mr. Farragut ended the executive session at 1:10 p.m. In accordance with the state's new open meetings law, Mr. Farragut reported that during the 27-minute executive session, council members reviewed a county employee's performance.

Charges are dropped against former Bullet

Battery charges against former Washington Bullets basketball player David Wingate were dropped yesterday by the Howard County state's attorney's office after the complaining witness failed to appear for the trial.

Mr. Wingate, 28, of Columbia was charged in July after a former girlfriend, Tyra Holland, filed a complaint against him in Howard County District Court.

In the complaint, Ms. Holland said she went to Mr. Wingate's house at 1 a.m. on July 7 to talk about their daughter and to pick up some belongings.

The woman alleged that Mr. Wingate became angry with her, then punched her in the face and kicked her, knocking her off the porch of his home in the 5700 block of April Journey.

In September, battery and false imprisonment charges brought by Ms. Holland against Mr. Wingate were also dropped because Ms. Holland did not show up at his trial.

This marks the fourth time in two years that criminal charges have been dropped against Mr. Wingate, a graduate of Dunbar High School and Georgetown University. Mr. Wingate currently isn't playing professional basketball.

Politicians raise money for charity

Local politicians and business leaders masquerading as waiters raised $22,198 in tips Friday for the Leukemia Society of America.

The fifth annual Celebrity Servers Luncheon at the Columbia Hilton raised the highest amount in the Maryland chapter's history, said Patricia Dodd, the local chapter's executive director.

County Executive Charles I. Ecker was the No. 1 celebrity waiter, raising $1,850.

The 19 celebrity waiters included Robert Schulze, president of Pizza Hut of Maryland; Donald Reuwer, president of American Properties; Marge Rappoport, the county Circuit Court clerk; state Sen. Christopher McCabe; and local developer James Moxley Jr.

Money raised from the luncheon will go to support local leukemia patients.

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