Glendening election funds draw inquiry Md. prosecutor sought data on $10,000 gift from N.Y. residents

Some donors linked to state

Their firm owns space leased by government

contract is up in April

August 31, 1996|By William F. Zorzi Jr. | William F. Zorzi Jr.,SUN STAFF

The Maryland state prosecutor is making inquiries about $10,000 in campaign donations given Gov. Parris N. Glendening by New York contributors -- including principals in a company whose $1.5 million-a-year lease with the state for office space expires in April.

Principals of Sachs Investing Co. Inc. -- a New York company whose subsidiary, Stanbalt Realty, owns 501 St. Paul Place, the old Standard Oil Building -- family members and a business associate each gave the Glendening campaign $2,000 on the same date in October 1994.

The state's lease on the building -- which houses the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation and the Maryland Insurance Administration -- is up in April, a spokesman for the Department of General Services said yesterday.

Deborah Povich, executive director of Common Cause/Maryland, confirmed yesterday that she received a call Tuesday from the prosecutor's office, asking for dates of contributions made by David Sachs, Celia Sachs, Marvin Sachs, Jerome Sachs and Michael Palin, all of New York.

"We assisted the state prosecutors office in researching dates of campaign contributions, at their request," Povich said yesterday.

Common Cause/Maryland, the government watchdog group that lobbies for public campaign financing, maintains a computerized database of campaign contributions from the 1994 governor's race. State Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli, whose office investigates violations of election laws, refused to confirm or deny an investigation.

The request by Montanarelli's office apparently stemmed from an article in the Washington Post last month on contributions by the Sachs family and Palin.

The newspaper quoted Jerome Sachs as saying he did not recall any contributions to Glendening, and Michael Palin's son, Dean Palin, saying he was unaware of contributions.

The state prosecutor's inquiry comes in the wake of his charging Joseph A. De Francis, the principal owner of Pimlico and Laurel racetracks, with making contributions in a false name by funneling $12,000 through relatives in New York.

De Francis pleaded no contest to the charges, was fined $1,000 and put on a year's probation.

Efforts to reach the Sachses and Palin, at home and at the office, were unsuccessful yesterday. The property manager at the Stanbalt office at 501 St. Paul Place was unavailable yesterday.

In making contributions to Glendening, three of the Sachses and Palin used the same address on East 55th Street in New York. That is where the Sachs company and other subsidiaries and partnerships are based, including Sachs and Palin Management Company Inc., according to New York state corporation records.

The 15-story Stanbalt Building, completed in 1922 for Standard Oil Corp., is one of the only Baltimore office buildings without central air conditioning and whose elevators are operated manually. The state pays about $1.5 million annually for the two agencies to rent the 165,000-square-foot building.

The state's current lease was originally signed in 1982 and renewed since -- most recently in December 1994, until April. The state now is taking bids for office space to house the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, a spokesman said.

The Maryland Insurance Administration has decided to relocate by May to a two-story building up the block, at 521-545 St. Paul Place.

Meanwhile, the company whose chairman flew Glendening to and from New York aboard a company jet for a $1,000-a-person fund-raiser at his Manhattan apartment has lost a bid for a multimillion-dollar health services contract.

Merit Behavioral Care Inc., whose president held the fund-raiser for Glendening during the bidding process, was a distant fourth in a ranking of eight bidders on the contract to provide mental health services to state employees, state officials said yesterday.

The Department of Budget and Management next week will recommend to the Board of Public Works -- the three-person board that includes the governor -- that the $16.2 million, two-year contract be awarded to Green Spring Health Services Inc. of Columbia.

Also yesterday, a spokeswoman for Merit said no money from Waxman, his family, the company or the other business people who attended the fund-raiser would be sent to the Glendening campaign.

"Nothing's been sent, and it's my understanding that it will not be," said Elaine Cinelli, Merit's vice president for corporate communications.

Glendening's campaign treasurer, Robin O. Oegerle, said that the campaign will not accept any money -- potentially $60,000 -- raised at the July 23 event in New York, including that from people with no link to Merit.

"We decided a few days ago that we would refuse any money from that particular fund-raiser," Oegerle said.

That assertion takes a step further the governor's statement that his campaign would not accept money from Merit's chairman, Albert S. Waxman, his family or his company's employees, but that he would accept contributions from other business people who attended the event.

As for the cost of Glendening's corporate jet ride, "It is my understanding that he will be billed for that cost," Cinelli said.

Oegerle said, "I haven't seen it yet, but I will pay it as soon as the bill hits my desk."

Pub Date: 8/31/96

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