Klocko seeks oversight of nonstandard leases

Council would review contracts that differ from the norm

February 18, 1999|By Laura Sullivan | Laura Sullivan,SUN STAFF

County Councilman John J. Klocko III is preparing legislation that would ensure council oversight over leases of county property that vary from the norm, the councilman said yesterday.

The legislation, which he said he hopes to introduce in two weeks, would require that county bureaucrats use standardized leases for property rented to county agencies, charitable organizations, local organizations for recreational use and communications companies wishing to rent space on water tanks or other structures. Those leases would be exempt from council review.

The council would have to approve leases that differ from those standard contracts, he said.

"If this would remove any level of doubt from the public mind that leases are handled improperly, then I want to accomplish that," Klocko said.

Klocko said the legislation is a response to an article in The Sun recently that called county leases of water tanks into question.

The county rents space on top of 15 water tanks to communications companies. Two politically connected businessmen received a lease in 1996 requiring that they pay the county $4,000 a year plus 25 percent of revenues they make by subletting tower space. The county's 14 other leases require payments of $22,000 to $38,000 a year, and they forbid the subletting of space.

County officials drafted a standardized lease agreement, charging $22,000 a year for the space, three months before the businessmen, Jay Winer and Charles F. Delavan, signed their lease. Winer and Delavan are campaign contributors to Klocko and former County Executive John G. Gary, both Republicans, who appointed them to the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp. and signed the lease.

Pub Date: 2/18/99

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