Governor raises big cash at event

Spokesman says part of money will pay off 1998 campaign debt

June 04, 1999|By Michael Dresser and Thomas W. Waldron | Michael Dresser and Thomas W. Waldron,SUN STAFF

Gov. Parris N. Glendening, a veteran office-seeker without any obvious office to seek, raised an estimated $335,000 last night at Camden Yards.

Mike Morrill, the governor's communications director, said the figure was a conservative estimate. After Glendening's campaign debts are paid, the fund-raiser is expected to leave him a hefty sum to bankroll political ventures.

More than 200 people paid $1,000 to $4,000 for drinks and finger food at the posh Camden Club. They were willing -- though perhaps not eager -- contributors for a governor whose decisions will affect their interests for another 3 1/2 years.

John Paterakis Sr., the Baltimore hotel developer, baker and casino gambling enthusiast, was there, apparently making amends for his activities on behalf of Glendening's political foes in last year's election.

"In politics, a person wins, God bless him, you have to support him," said Paterakis. "He got elected, and the voters gave us a pretty good message."

Paterakis said he paid $1,000 but attended a private reception for about 20 $4,000 donors because he had helped sell a block of tickets. The $4,000 donors got to drink hard liquor at their event; $1,000 donors got wine and beer.

Glendening is the first lame-duck governor in memory to hold a major fund-raiser, and some Democratic elected officials worry that he will soak up contributions that could go to active candidates.

Glendening has said some of the money will cover entertainment and other expenses he expects to incur if he becomes chairman of the National Governors Association next year. He said other money would cover the cost of leading the Maryland delegation to next year's Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.

Kathleen S. Skullney, executive director of Common Cause/Maryland, which advocates stricter ethics laws, said Glendening was creating a political "slush fund" that violates the spirit of the state's campaign finance laws since he is not seeking office.

Daniel Clements of the Maryland Trial Lawyers Associationsaid he was there to help the governor retire a campaign debt estimated at $40,000. Clements, whose organization spent liberally on the governor's re-election and recently benefited from his veto of a bill the trial lawyers opposed, defended the governor's post-election fund-raising.

"If you want to participate in politics in this state, you have to have some money in the bank," he said.

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