Man is denied access to his ailing mother Drug conviction bars son from Annapolis project

October 15, 1998|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

Elizabeth Brown is 71, diabetic and uses a wheelchair after a stroke in 1977 and three bypass operations. Because "Ma," as she is widely known, has trouble leaving her home in Annapolis' Robinwood project, she can't see her son.

Curtis Allan Spencer has been banned from the public housing property where Brown has lived for 29 years because of his recent conviction for selling crack. Police say Spencer is the leader of a drug ring that controlled Annapolis housing projects for most of those years.

Yesterday, a group of Brown's neighbors circulated a petition asking housing authority officials to grant an exception to mother and son. City police and housing authorities almost immediately rejected the idea.

Police and housing officials say they fear that an exception for Spencer, 48, would open the floodgates to other requests and undermine the no-exceptions policy Executive Director Patricia H. Croslan implemented when she took over the troubled agency this year.

Croslan, who says the petition will not sway her, says that "this is a person who has pleaded guilty to selling drugs. I understand the sympathy for his mother and can sympathize, but my responsibility overall has to be in the best interest of all people concerned."

The rule has kept Brown from seeing Spencer since a family reunion at the National Guard Armory in July.

Spencer made a name for himself by coaching neighborhood basketball leagues and criticizing the city Police Department through his political group, the Friends of Black Annapolitans.

Police say he was better known to them as the man behind a ring that made almost 80 percent of the cocaine sales in Annapolis. The ring moved about $20,000 worth of drugs a week until March, when city police and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration finished an eight-month investigation and began making arrests, police say.

In the case built against Spencer, police used a confidential informant. They recorded telephone conversations in which Spencer told the informant he was not involved in drugs but knew people who could sell him some, police say.

Spencer's conviction last month could earn him at least five years in prison.

Pub Date: 10/15/98

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