Money in motion

January 06, 1994|By Frank A. DeFilippo

THE CAMPAIGN finance records of City Comptroller Jacqueline McLean are a case study of money in motion. They reveal a familiar pattern of recycling funds among a tight little circle of family, friends and business contacts.

Although Ms. McLean's family was deeply involved in her campaign and its finances, contributions flowed in from many people who habitually help underwrite political campaigns.

Watch how the money flows:

A committee called Friends of Jackie McLean was headed by her husband, Jim, who regularly collected reimbursements from the campaign treasury. The McLeans' travel agency, Four Seas and Seven Winds, spent $3,672 for postage in Ms. McLean's campaign.

In addition, eight regular payments of $435 and two installments of $870 were made to their daughter, Michelle McLean, out of campaign funds, for a total of $5,020.

And in one of those ironic turns of the screw, two of Ms. McLean's financial supporters are presiding over her fate as Baltimore's top fiscal officer.

Ms. McLean's campaign reports, on file at the state Board of Elections in Annapolis, show at least seven loans and fund transfers -- totaling $6,850 -- between her 1991 campaign for comptroller and the Committee for Kurt Schmoke. The documents also show a $250 contribution from City Solicitor Neal M. Janey.

Mr. Schmoke, of course, is urging Ms. McLean to voluntarily resign her position in light of alleged improprieties and he has notified the City Council to begin preparing for impeachment proceedings. Mr. Janey is conducting one of three separate investigations into Ms. McLean's financial activities as comptroller. Ms. McLean is currently on an unpaid leave of absence from her job.

The controversy enveloping Ms. McLean involves a family-owned building that she almost succeeded in leasing to the city for $1 million and an alleged phantom employee who received regular pay checks mailed to a beauty salon owned by her sister and brother in-law.

The money paid to the alleged mystery employee, one Michelle McCloud, found its way into two accounts at Baltimore's Harbor Bank in the names of McCloud, Ms. McLean and lobbyist Carolyn Burridge. Ms. Burridge later told a grand jury that her name had been forged on the account records.

The McLean's Federal Hill building, formerly the headquarters of their now-defunct travel agency, was to have been purchased by real estate developer Otis Warren. Mr. Warren backed out of the deal when the city canceled its contract to lease the property.

But guess who contributed generously to Ms. McLean's campaign? The same Mr. Warren, who personally gave Ms. McLean $1,170 in three different installments. That's not all, either. The Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors, of which Mr. Warren once served as president, and its political action committee contributed another four contributions to the McLean campaign totaling $1,200.

Ms. McLean's sister's beauty parlor, Salon Me'Chelle, also put up $370 in three separate contributions for Ms. McLean's campaign.

There are more interconnections: Nathan Chapman, head of the Chapman Co. brokerage firm, made two contributions totaling $1,100 under his own name and another three contributions totaling $2,170 in the name of his company. Mr. Chapman was the broker who approached the city retirement board last year about arranging a $40 million, 25-year loan guarantee for Mr. Warren's Crescent City project on Howard Street. The city turned him down.

Also on the list of contributors to Ms. McLean's campaign was Daniel P. Henson, who later became city housing commissioner. He put up $600. Mr. Henson helped found the Development Credit Fund, which lent the McLeans $392,000 in an attempt to help bail out their foundering travel agency.

The list goes on. The hapless Ms. Burridge, who claims her signature was falsely appended to the bank account, contributed $100 to Ms. McLean's campaign. Joseph Haskins Jr., president of Harbor Bank of Maryland, which handled the campaign bank accounts as well as the accounts in dispute, contributed $250. Harbor Bank, in turn, was to underwrite Mr. Warren's $600,000 mortgage to purchase the McLean family building.

The bulk of Ms. McLean's campaign money was raised in both large and small contributions in the black community as well as from the usual list of white high-rollers who cover all bases in an election year.

For example, William "Little Willie" Adams and his wife Victorine contributed $500 each. Another $1,255 was channeled to Ms. McLean's campaign through Mr. Adams' construction company, A&R Development.

John Paterakis, the impresario of the hamburger bun, personally contributed $850 to Ms. McLean's campaign and gave another $850 in the name of his company, H&S Bakery.

There were also a number of moderate-to-large out-of-state contributions: Dewey Fitzpatrick, of Dallas, Texas, $1,000; Donald Ford, of Kansas City, $1,000; Alylar Inc., of New York, $400; Palace Laundry, Washington, D.C., $400; United Artists, Denver, Colo., $400; United Artists Cablevision, $500; Masterson Broadcasting, Louisville, $200.

In politics, as in life, what goes around comes around. The same can be said of money. And it's also true that nothing comes between good friends like good money.

Frank A. DeFilippo writes a column on Maryland politics.

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