Man's conviction bars visits to mother's home

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.

"He calls me every other day, but I do miss him," Brown says. Spencer is living with his sister in Arnold while awaiting sentencing.

"All he would do is come to my house; he wouldn't hang around," Brown says. "I really hope they'll let him come."

Police and housing officials 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.

Housing authority procedures state: "Nonresidents who are found to be detrimental to the overall quality of life for public housing residents may be banned."

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.

"And it is the housing authority's responsibility to keep people involved in criminal activity off the property."

The rule has kept Brown from seeing Spencer since a family reunion at the National Guard Armory in July. Wanda Somerville, 43, who lives with and takes care of Brown, says her fleeting visits with Spencer, her brother, have been in grocery stores and restaurants.

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

Pub Date: 10/15/98

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