Angelos, Rawlings reopen talks on role of minorities

August 26, 1994|By Mark Hyman | Mark Hyman,Sun Staff Writer

The most improbable dinner companions in Baltimore on Wednesday night might have been Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos and Del. Howard P. Rawlings.

They ate broiled fish and talked about the strike of major-league baseball players, but Rawlings said the two men did not resolve their long-running differences over efforts by the baseball team to reach out to the black community.

"This was not a negotiating session. This was a meeting of two men who love Baltimore, who have a history in Baltimore," Rawlings said yesterday.

Rawlings has been sharply critical of Angelos, whom he said was ignoring an agreement that previous owners of the team entered into with the African American Task Force on Professional Sports. Rawlings is chairman of the organization, whose members include local politicians and church leaders.

Angelos, in turn, had vowed not to speak to Rawlings until he apologized publicly for some of his statements.

The impasse was broken when Rawlings invited Angelos to dinner, with a nudge from Gov. William Donald Schaefer.

During a meeting with Rawlings two weeks ago, the governor encouraged him to take the first step with Angelos, Rawlings said.

"He was very forthcoming," Rawlings said of the governor.

"He knows Peter, and has known him over several decades. He had talked to Peter on several occasions about Pete Rawlings and the task force."

Rawlings termed the meeting with Angelos "an opportunity to get off the track we were on and to move in a direction that addresses concerns we both have."

Angelos indicated the meeting had helped clear the air between them.

"As far as what has transpired in the past between us," Angelos said, "that has been resolved. It's over."

In May, Rawlings accused Angelos of breaking many promises made by Orioles officials last year, including a pledge to meet with task force members three times each year -- before the season, midseason and after the last game -- to discuss progress made by the team in hiring blacks and doing business with black-owned companies.

Angelos responded by saying he was ready to meet with members of the task force, but wouldn't allow club actions to be monitored by them.

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