4 who got Angelos campaign donations pushed legislation that may help him

April 01, 1995|By Peter Brush | Peter Brush,Capital News Service

Four legislative leaders who championed an emergency bill that may help Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos in the wake of the baseball strike received thousands in campaign donations from Angelos-controlled interests, records show.

Sens. John A. Pica Jr., Norman R. Stone Jr. and Thomas L. Bromwell and Del. Gerald J. Curran -- all Baltimore-area Democrats -- were instrumental in passing the bill, which bars replacement teams from Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

The measure was signed into law Monday by Gov. Parris N. Glendening and took effect immediately.

Saying they would have supported the legislation anyway, all four lawmakers rejected suggestions that the donations, many made after the 1994 elections, create a conflict of interest.

"It's a good bill," Mr. Bromwell said. "I didn't do this for Peter Angelos, and I didn't do it for Cal Ripken. I did it for Baltimore and Maryland because enough is enough."

Mr. Pica, Mr. Stone and Mr. Curran echoed the sentiment, noting that Baltimore lost millions during the strike and would stand to lose much more should the dispute stretch into the 1995 season.

But the new law also means protection for Mr. Angelos in a potential legal battle with other baseball owners. He is the only owner refusing to field replacements.

Deborah Povich of the watchdog group Common Cause called the donations "clear attempts to curry favor from legislators."

Mr. Pica was the main sponsor of the replacement players ban. Mr. Stone and Mr. Bromwell, the Finance Committee chairman, were co-sponsors.

Mr. Curran, chairman of the Commerce and Government Matters Committee, sponsored the bill on the House side. The legislation had to clear Mr. Bromwell's and Mr. Curran's committees before reaching the Senate and House floors.

All four sponsors said they had no conversation with Mr. Angelos about the bill.

Gus Lenglet, comptroller for the Angelos law firm, said Mr. Angelos has final say over donations from the firm and "probably the final word" on Orioles donations. Mr. Angelos did not return telephone calls.

Campaign finance records show that on Dec. 30, 1994 -- more than a month after the general election -- the Orioles contributed $2,000 to Mr. Pica. This was in addition to a $2,500 donation in September from the Angelos law firm.

"It's not even close to being an issue," Mr. Pica said of the $H donations. He said that as chair of the Baltimore delegation he was obligated to introduce the bill because Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke had requested it.

Records show that Mr. Stone received a total of $4,500 from the law firm in 1994 -- $3,500 in October and $1,000 in November. Mr. Stone said it was " a little insulting" to be asked questions about a possible conflict since the donations came before the bill was written.

Mr. Curran received $1,000 from the law firm on Dec. 30 -- an early response to a fund-raiser he held in January, he said. Mr. Bromwell received $1,000 from the firm Nov. 7, the day before the general election.

A review of campaign finance records showed that six other state legislators received money from Mr. Angelos or his interests during the last election cycle. They included these Baltimore Democrats: Sen. Clarence W. Blount, $2,000; Sen. Perry Sfikas, $1,000; Sen. George W. Della Jr., $1,000; and Del. Maggie McIntosh, $200.

Del. James M. Kelly, a Baltimore County Republican, received $1,000 and Del. Betty Workman, an Allegany County Democrat, $350.

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