Inaugural bash backed by big firms

Sponsors give $964,000 for Ehrlich-Steele event

January 14, 2003|By David Nitkin | David Nitkin,SUN STAFF

Maryland's largest corporations - including many regulated by state government or doing business with it - are helping pay for Gov.-elect Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s inaugural bash, according to documents released yesterday by the inaugural committee.

The list of sponsors paying to celebrate Maryland's first Republican governor in 36 years includes prominent Democratic donor and Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos, and two Democratic state lawmakers.

In all, 150 contributors agreed to pay between $1,000 and $20,000 to underwrite tomorrow's gala ball and other events, generating $964,000, documents show.

Twenty-two corporations and individuals gave the highest amount, $20,000, and will receive 20 tickets to a variety of events, including six to the ball at the Baltimore Convention Center.

In addition to Angelos - one of the top givers to national and state Democrats - high-level Star-Spangled Banner sponsors include banks and financial services companies (Bank of America, Chevy Chase Bank, MBNA); utilities (Constellation Energy Group, Pepco Holdings, Washington Gas); and telecommunications companies (Comcast, Verizon).

Ravens owner Arthur B. Modell gave $20,000, as did Whiting-Turner Construction Co. head Willard Hackerman. Giving $10,000 were Johns Hopkins Medicine and Maximus Inc., a company with a contract to collect child-support payments.

In a statement, Ehrlich said corporate donors helped keep the price of ball tickets low, at $100. No taxpayer funds are being used for the events.

"The governor has a lot of friends, and a lot of new best friends," said Carl Wright, a personnel company executive and chairman of the Ehrlich-Steele Inaugural Committee.

Wright said the committee had hoped to raise between $500,000 and $750,000. He said he was pleased with the large number of $1,000 donors. The list includes two Democratic lawmakers from Southern Maryland, Dels. Van T. Mitchell and John F. Woods Jr.

Mitchell and Woods said yesterday that they hoped Ehrlich would remember their support in making funding decisions for schools and roads.

In Annapolis

Today's highlights

10 a.m. Senate meets, Senate chamber

10 a.m. House of Delegates meets, House chamber

1 p.m. House Environmental Matters Committee, briefing on lead paint issues, Room 140, Lowe House Office Building.

1 p.m. Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, briefing on the status of drunken driving laws, 2 East Miller Senate Office Building.

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