Builder offers $15,000 to help cut U.S. deficit

June 18, 1993|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,Staff Writer

Frank J. Scott concedes that some of his friends and business colleagues might think he lost his head when they hear he plans to send $15,000 to the White House.

But he hopes they'll follow his example.

Think of your children and their children, he urges them. Think of the national debt.

The Anne Arundel County homebuilder says he's doing his part to help cut the $360 billion deficit by contributing $50 from the sale of each luxury condo at the 300-unit Village of Crystal Springs at Cromwell Fountain in Glen Burnie.

Buy a condo, save America?

"This is not an advertising gimmick," the 56-year-old insists. "Nor $15,000 going to wipe out the deficit. It's sort of a cry for help."

Mr. Scott sounds a bit like Ross Perot on the stump when he attacks Washington gridlock.

The founder of Scott Family Homes, who has five children and five grandchildren, speaks of reviving the American Dream. A ninth-grade dropout, he worked his way from stake driver on a construction crew to president of a company whose communities dot the county.

The federal government's drowning in red ink. And no one in Washington's minding the store. "But we can whip this thing," he says. "Be part of the solution, not part of the problem."

If other builders and business owners would just follow his lead, he says; if citizens without the means would just pressure their representatives for deficit-reduction measures such as an energy tax; if everybody would just band together, stop talking and start doing, there'd be no end to the possibilities.

Is he onto something? Will he inspire his colleagues to follow?

"They'll either say, 'Frank's crazy, throwing his money down the drain,' or it will stimulate thinking," he says. "It may cause them to say, 'Gee, if Frank is doing this, maybe it's something we should think about."

"This is the biggest plague we have," he says of the deficit. "It's robbing us of so much in so many ways. We're mortgaging our children's and grandchildren's future; there's no question about it. If we all sit and complain and don't do anything about it, we deserve what we get."

For starters, with this weekend's opening of the third section of ,, Cromwell Fountain -- eventually a 996-unit community of one- and two-bedroom condos -- Mr. Scott has drawn a check for $5,000. It represents his first 100 sales. Fourteen prospective buyers already have signed contracts.

And backing up his belief that government should govern and the private sector should furnish services, Mr. Scott also has pledged $25 per condo, with an initial $2,500 donation, to Arundel Community Development Services Inc. The private agency raises money for housing for low- and moderate-income residents.

Mr. Scott gave the housing agency its check yesterday. And he says he'll send the other one along as soon as someone from the White House can tell him to whom he should make it out and where, exactly, he should send it.

The White House press secretary, Dee Dee Myers, has assured a member of Mr. Scott's staff she'll get back to them.

Mr. Scott says he never expects to learn for sure whether his money gets earmarked for the deficit. "It's a leap of faith," he says. "What has this nation been built on?"

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