Asti given job as authority director


September 23, 2004|By Ed Waldman and Mike Klingaman | Ed Waldman and Mike Klingaman,SUN STAFF

The Maryland Stadium Authority ended its search for an executive director yesterday, choosing one of its own.

Alison Asti, the staff's general counsel for 14 years, was named to run the organization, replacing Richard Slosson, who resigned under fire in March. Asti became acting head of the MSA with the departure of Slosson, who'd been cited by state auditors for having accepted gifts from a firm doing business with the authority.

"Alison has impeccable professional ethics," said Carl A.J. Wright, Stadium Authority chairman. "She is the right person at the right time for the job."

Asti won the board's approval by a 6-1 vote. She had been his top choice from the start, said Wright, adding: "Alison was my short list. We had put her in that position [as acting chief] to watch her work."

Asti's first challenge was to clean up the MSA's image in the wake of the audit report critical of the authority's business deals.

"Talk about a baptism under fire," Wright said. "She took that report, with its 18 audit points, and cleared every one."

Asti said yesterday that she believed the authority had regained public trust.

"We have satisfied the auditors' concerns and made sure all of our bid processes are fair and competitive," she said. "I'm hopeful that all of that is behind us."

Asti, 50 and a resident of Pasadena, got a four-year contract for $225,000 a year. She will continue as general counsel and director of development for the MSA.

She has an accord with both the state legislature and the Board of Public Works.

"She's the best person for the job," said Comptroller William Donald Schaefer. "One of the problems was whether she is tough enough to turn people out [fire them]. I think she is."

Asti is confident of her rapport with the city's pro sports teams, saying: "I have a good relationship with the Ravens and the Orioles. It's interesting that the presidents of both teams are lawyers. We understand how things work. My goal is to keep their stadiums as models in the industry, in terms of appearance, maintenance and capital improvements."

Moreover, she said, "I am intimately familiar with all of the business deals that the MSA has engaged in."

The Stadium Authority was created in 1986. A year later, Asti came on board as a private lawyer. She joined the MSA full time in 1990.

A native of Anne Arundel County, she graduated from Severna Park High and attended Duke University, where, in four years, she earned both a bachelor's degree in economics and political science and a master's degree in public finance.

Asti graduated with honors from the University of Maryland School of Law and is past president of the Baltimore City Bar Association.

Sun staff writer David Nitkin contributed to this article.

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