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Quirk: Whalen PUD Decision Above Board

Councilman Tom Quirk says the public record will vindicate decisions made on the Southwest Physicians Pavilion one day after developer Steve Whalen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations.

When it's all said and done, Councilman Tom Quirk says the public will understand that decisions made regarding the proposed Southwest Physicians Pavilion project were all above board.

Quirk offered the brief comments, his first after Catonsville developer Steve Whalen pleaded guilty to five counts of violating state campaign finance law, during a Friday interview. All of the violations stem from made to Quirk through three people including Whalen's personal trainer, a friend and an employee of Whalen Properties.

Whalen is the developer of the proposed Southwest Physicians Pavilion.

Parts of emails read Jan. 3 in Baltimore County Circuit Court highlighted conversations between Whalen and Quirk in 2011. At that time, the councilman was reviewing the developer's request to build the project under county Planned Unit Development laws.

In those emails, Quirk and Whalen talk about fundraising intermixed with discussions about Whalen's development projects, including the physicians pavilion project.

The emails raised some eyebrows because of the appearance of an improper- relationship between the councilman and developer. Political rival Paul Dongarra, who reported Whalen's campaign finance activity to the state prosecutor, said it was indicative of a "pay to play" culture in the county.

Even Whalen's own attorney in court Thursday said observers could wrongly infer an improper relationship between Quirk and Whalen.

Quirk declined to discuss the Whalen case during the phone interview Friday and referred a reporter to a statement he issued Thursday afternoon.

But the councilman added that all the decisions made about the project will be validated once an administrative law judge approves the plan.

"I am very confident that project's use of the PUD was done extremely well," Quirk said. "The public record will show that."

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Kelly Blue January 05, 2013 at 06:55 PM
How many people posting about this live in College Hills or Hidden Bluffs, really bad projects right? Was the Catonsville Professional Center, Rolling Crossroads or how about Charlestown a bad idea. OMG they took an old seminary with rolling fields and woods and turned into the best retirement community in the area that thousands have enjoyed. My oh my these dam developers. Dongarra and their ilk are not FOR Catonsville they're for themselves. Catonsville would be a much better place without them. And to all of the Hategarras out there, don't shop at the Giant at Wilkens that property used to be ball fields. So don't compromise your principles. You need to go to the A&P in downtown C'ville and get your prescriptions filled at Moss Drugs and when you want to see a movie make sure it's only the Alpha theatre.
Paul Dongarra January 05, 2013 at 10:10 PM
My home address is my home office. I rent a commercial kitchen in Columbia where I am regularly inspected by the health department. The only time food comes home is when we have left overs that are donated the next day to our area homeless shelter or to share with my neighbors. If that is a problem, I will just have to start throwing it away. I also have a garden and use some of the veggies I grow. Feel free to stop by next summer, I'd be glad to give you some. It's true some of our vendors donated. We are a good clients, easy to work with, and we pay our bills on time. I don't see anything wrong with that, just like there was nothing wrong with the Jolles of Jolles Insurance making a donation to then candidate Quirk. I am sure his financial planning business refers business to them. Gift in kind donations from vendors and/or friends for copy writing, photography, and graphic design were all reported in Rebecca's reports. Perhaps when you bring up vendors and glass houses you should realize that Councilperson's finance records show him taking cash from companies like: Spindler Refuse, Ruppert Sanitation, Hartey's Trash Management, and Parks Refuse, Pollard Towing, two individuals associated with ACS (the Speed Camera Company), and one from the President of the firm that built Hillcrest Elem's addition. Do any of these people do business with the County? Enough of this foolishness, however, I have to vacuum my house...lol!
Kelly Blue January 06, 2013 at 12:04 AM
" The only time food comes home is when we have left overs that are donated the next day to our area homeless shelter or to share with my neighbors... I also have a garden and use some of the veggies I grow." So the great zoning expert has a commercial business and commercial garden (you are selling product grown on your property) in a residential neighborhood, I thought you were the zoning guru. Additionally you are looked at as a kind and generous person for giving away food that other people paid for. You are a wonderful human being. Perhaps it's time for you to review the zoning laws vs ranting against law abiding citizens. Reply Leave a comment
Paul Dongarra January 06, 2013 at 12:23 AM
My wife and I are not anti-development, we are opposed to poorly planned unnecessary development driven by greed that causes our current commercial corridors to erode. If Whalen Properties had proposed to redevelop Wilkins Plaza or Security Square Mall, I would applaud him. There are many great and exciting adaptive use and Transit Oriented Development (TOD) projects around the state: Union Mill, http://theunionmill.com/about/ The Oella Mill http://www.oellamill.com/,Camden Yards, and what is happening in North Bethesda, http://www.montgomeryplanning.org/community/whiteflint/ . The PUD on Kenwood Ave claims to be a TOD. It is not. Why are we upzoning land and issuing PUD's on land that hasn't been built on when there are many existing brown fields in need of redevelopment? Could it be that developers make more money when these parcels are purchased and then upzoned and/or a PUD issued? Because when this happens, it's almost like spinning straw into gold. Could it be that developers and their attorney's give and/or raise lots of money for our council to continue this alchemy of land use decisions?
Buck Harmon January 07, 2013 at 01:53 PM
The real name posters seem to be on top of this issue..

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