The acronym for the evaluation report Prince George’s County uses to track federal HOME block grants—the taxpayer money part of the FBI’s investigation into county executive Jack Johnson—is called… CAPER.
However, here’s some not so funny stuff.
Monday, the Washington Post reported that several developers received federal HOME grant money from Prince George’s County. All the legislation required to reprogram the county’s action plan to spend federal HOME funds was introduced by Johnson and passed unanimously by the Prince George's County Council.
One project, Rainier Manor, is run by Annapolis developer Stephen Stavrou. According to a 2008 Washington Post story, Stavrou’s name is mentioned in documents the FBI retrieved from raids on the homes and offices of former county council member Thomas Hendershot, politically connected developer Patrick Ricker, and county fire department official Karl Granzow Jr. The document is listed as:
JT VENTURE AG - STAVROU, COLTON, RICKER DEVE GRP, LLC; DRAFT LTR FROM JACK JOHNSON RE: GB SENIOR HOUSING
“Colton” is Daniel Colton a developer connected to the troubled Greenbelt Station project. Ricker is well known in county politics and also connected to the Greenbelt Station project.
According to federal and state campaign finance databases, Ricker has contributed large sums to both Democrats and Republicans, although his contributions to Democrats are more than double the amount he gave to Republicans. Ricker has given to money to Governor Martin O’Malley, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, the Democratic National Committee, and state senator Ulysses Currie, who is currently under federal indictment.
In 2004, Ricker, among other developers, gave the disgraced community advocacy group ACORN $15,000 for it’s unsuccessful bid to add two-at large seats on the county council. Most saw this as a move by Ricker to keep his close friend Hendershot—a proponent of the Greenbelt project—on the council. Hendershot was term-limited from running again.
While it’s hard not to joke about this stuff, it’s a symptom of one-party rule in Maryland, and that is no laughing matter.