No idea where Baker is, ex-secretary says

March 25, 1995|By Jim Haner | Jim Haner,Sun Staff Writer

The former secretary to Donald A. Baker, the Baltimore businessman who vanished March 12 from his HarborView Towers condominium, said yesterday that she has not seen or heard from Mr. Baker in months and has no idea where he might be.

The 44-year-old woman, who is being sought by police for questioning in Mr. Baker's disappearance, agreed to be interviewed by The Sun on the condition that she not be identified by name. "I'm not hiding because I have nothing to hide," said the woman, who was Mr. Baker's personal secretary for years at the Chesapeake Randall food marketing firm before she quit in December to pursue a new job.

"If I knew anything at all about his disappearance, I would, of course, call the police immediately. But I don't know a thing. If they ever get around to talking to me, that's what I'll tell them. I don't have a clue," said the woman.

Police, however, say that such a long-term employee might be able to offer helpful details about Mr. Baker's habits and haunts. The woman's departure from the firm is among a series of events that police began investigating when Mr. Baker, 52, disappeared from his condominium after telling his wife that he was going out to take his customary evening stroll.

Police have found no evidence that he was the victim of a random mugging, and hope is fading that the case will be resolved soon.

"We continue to give it all the manpower we can, but this isn't the only case we have to look into," said Sgt. Edward Dunlap of the missing persons unit.

Police continue to focus on whether Mr. Baker had the means and motive to vanish deliberately or whether someone had anything to gain by his disappearance.

Family members have said he made no unusual withdrawals from bank accounts or purchases on his personal credit card. And a business partner said through his attorney that a multimillion-dollar lawsuit that Mr. Baker filed against him shortly before he disappeared had been resolved.

In that suit, filed in Baltimore Circuit Court in January, Mr. Baker charged his partner, James H. Glenn, with trying to cut him out of a $4.2 million merger between Chesapeake Randall and REM Enterprises of Ellicott City.

Mr. Baker voluntarily withdrew the suit a month later, reserving the right to reopen it if settlement negotiations failed. Those negotiations were under way when Mr. Baker disappeared, but lawyers involved in the case said the two men had all but sealed an accord at the time.

Police also are continuing to investigate a $225,000 loan that was taken out on behalf of Chesapeake Randall by Mr. Glenn in 1992 before merger talks began with REM Enterprises. Public records show that Mr. Glenn posted corporate assets as security for the loan, and borrowed the money for an unstated purpose.

Internal corporate documents released this week show that Mr. Baker personally approved the loan as president of Chesapeake Randall.

"The loan was strictly for corporate purposes, fully approved by Mr. Baker and signed off by him in the loan documents," said Stephen Nolan, who represents Mr. Glenn. "There was nothing improper about it whatsoever."

As for Mr. Baker's former secretary, she says she remains mystified about Mr. Baker's absence.

"In all the time I knew him, he certainly never indicated to me that he planned to disappear," she said. "And I don't know of any reason for him to. To be perfectly honest, I don't see the need to contact the police because I don't know anything."

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