Mayor rejects new proposal on city property deals

July 11, 1996|By Robert Guy Matthews | Robert Guy Matthews,SUN STAFF

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke swatted down yesterday a proposal from the comptroller's office that would have required city agencies to provide more details on the purchase and sale of properties.

The proposal, drafted by real estate officer Anthony J. Ambridge, was defeated by a 3-2 vote of the Board of Estimates. Schmoke and two of his appointees, City Solicitor Neal M. Janey and Director of Public Works George G. Balog, voted against the measure. Comptroller Joan M. Pratt and City Council President Lawrence A. Bell III voted for it.

The proposal was the latest attempt by Pratt to increase oversight of city real estate transactions. She hired Ambridge last month to turn up the heat on Schmoke, who she says has not handled real estate transactions effectively.

Late last month, Schmoke and his board appointees thwarted her bid to delay a hurried real estate deal to renovate the fire-damaged former home of the Eubie Blake Cultural Center into retail and office space.

Her latest attempt to modify real estate transactions quickly was discounted by the mayor.

"It is a waste of paper," Schmoke said.

Ambridge said the proposal would have saved time in the long run. "I just think that ego is overstepping its rightful place in government," he said.

Ambridge said he wanted agency heads to explain their rationales behind real estate deals.

Pub Date: 7/11/96

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