'Tammany Hall' Then and Now

Councilman David Marks accepts fundraising help from development attorneys he once criticized for trying to stack the political deck.

Three years ago Councilman David Marks was highly critical of the fundraising efforts of development attorney David Gildea on behalf of several Baltimore County Council candidates.

Marks now seems more comfortable with what he once called "a Tammany Hall-style political machine." Enough so that Gildea is helping raise up to $4,000 per person for the Perry Hall Republican at a November event in Carney.

Not that Marks is willing to talk about it.

Gildea and Michael Paul Smith, son of former County Executive Jim Smith, were involved in raising tens of thousands of dollars for Democrats Cathy Bevins, Gordon Harden and Tom Quirk. The pair raised the money through house parties where attendees were charged $1,000 per person—at the time an unprecedented amount for a council race, much less for candidates who had never run for office before.

At the time, Marks and other community leaders said they worried that Gildea and Smith were attempting to elect councilmembers who might be friendly to their client's development proposals. Land use and zoning are primarily controlled by individual councilmembers.

In a 2009 story I wrote for the Baltimore Sun, Marks was highly critical of the involvement of the attorneys—specifically Gildea.

"The image of a Tammany Hall-style political machine, selecting candidates to run in open council districts is troubling," said Marks, who was president of the Perry Hall Improvement Association at the time.

Gildea is now part of a host committee that sent out invitations to a fundraiser for Marks that will be held in November at the .

The Towson development attorney in May was responsible for (Marks' words) that benefited clients of Gildea and his law firm. Marks was the lead sponsor of the bill.

I emailed Marks the 2009 statement and asked him to reconcile the 2009 statement with the upcoming fundraiser.

Here is his response in full:

"The people who selected me were the voters of the 5th District from all political persuasions," Marks replied. "I ran with community support and have proven to be an independent member of this County Council, limiting development on more than 400 acres of land and authoring numerous bills that make government more open to the public."

Marks declined Monday to answer questions about whether or not the event in any way conflicted with his statement made months before he announced his candidacy for the County Council.

A day later, Marks avoided the press and at one point left a council work session through a public entrance in order to access a backdoor into the council office suite, rather than use an exit that leads directly to the offices because it meant walking past a reporter.

Marks, through an aide, declined requests to be interviewed Tuesday.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Steve williams September 17, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Oh thank the lord the savior of all Baltimore county will get to the bottom of all of this.Puleese don't do us any favors. Remember you were part of the robo bob regime so get off the holier than thou soapbox.While your at it why not review the $7 million mistake at Milford Mill that was on your watch. You have zero credibility.
Stark September 17, 2012 at 03:08 AM
The same David Marks you attack is the Councilman who blocked a convenience store (a High's or 7-11 I was told) from being built near the snowball stand on Joppa Road. And you know who he went against? David Gildea. So I think the Councilman is owed some thanks for that one, and the other good decisions he made in Carney. This guy is no pushover.
Buck Harmon September 17, 2012 at 12:04 PM
David Marks usually comments on threads that pertain to him....wonder why he is avoiding this one like the plague?
Buzz Beeler September 17, 2012 at 12:16 PM
One big happy family, and a wealthy one at that.
Bryan P. Sears September 17, 2012 at 07:37 PM
From today: http://towson.patch.com/blog_posts/marks-campaign-responds-to-tammany-hall-blog


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