… Baker must go!
What happened to common decency?
There is no advisory saga here. Rather it is an old story retold. If you put politicians in close proximity to a fairly substantial pool of rather unaccountable money then you have no right to play Captain Renault when the money is used for personal gain and political aggrandizement. You have less right to be surprised when the politicians involved come from the budding kleptocracy in Prince George’s County. Much more follows below the fold. This is just the tip of the ice-berg.
When the agreement was inked to allow the now more than $3 million in non-profit grants, there was very little opposition to the money. Likewise, when County Executive Jack Johnson inked to allow development of National Harbor back in 2004 one of the sweeteners was a $350,000 annual kickback, or slushfund, or whatever disguised as the “National Harbor Community Outreach Program” and administered by a seven person committee. Three members appointed by County Executive Jack Johnson (Warning, Will Robinson! Warning!), three members appointed by the County Council, and one member appointed by the developer (Warning, developer! Warning!).
And the rules for using the money were pretty loose:
There are no restrictions of the use by Prince George’s County organizations or individuals who apply for grants other than the funds are used for community enrichment within Prince George’s County. There are no limits on the size of the grants awarded. The number to dish out cash to friends and families of Mr. Rushern Baker, started with a $2 million no questions asked of the grant. It has since gone up to more than $3 million and the number keeps rising like the sun.
There were early warning signs. During Johnson’s reelection campaign the National Harbor Community Outreach Santa Claus paid suprise visits to people who could lend a hand in returning Johnson to power: The same applies in the current situation with Mr. Rushern Baker III. Since that time, Ms. Shauna Garlington Battle mentioned in the article last paragraph has since been promoted in a suspicious manner to become the chief legal counsel for Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS).
The Washington Post reported in April 2007 that more than $181,000 was given to organizations with ties to committee members or to County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D). Also, during his reelection campaign last summer, Johnson personally delivered at least $10,000 in grants to politically influential churches that had not applied for the funds. There is not much difference this year and last. Mr. Rushern Baker has a lot of cash to throw at various organizations.
Back in the day, to ensure the fox was firmly in charge of the henhouse, County Executive Jack Johnson’s wife joined the board of the organization which failed to provide discrernable oversight to this “grant” program, the Prince George’s Community Foundation. The same applies this year only it’s bigger with $3 million awarded already by Mr. Rushern Baker. Any body who needs money? wow! The public bar spigot is open.
[Foundation spokeswoman Lucenia] Dunn said then, that the foundation had also clarified the involvement of Leslie Johnson, the county executive’s wife, who joined the foundation in January 2007. She said board policy required those with a personal or professional involvement to recuse themselves from voting “whenever it’s appropriate.” However, in the current scenario, the Executive Review Panel will fully evaluate all complete application submissions and present final award recommendations to the Office of the County Executive for final approval and funds disbursement.
Wow. Strong policy that.
There may be a glimmer of hope here. The committee that in the past has flung around unsolicited grant money to the politically connected suddenly caught a case of the conscience and resigned claiming that some grants were made without their knowledge. Maryland State Prosecutor Scott Rohrbaugh issued subpoenas and with the bitterness now being directed towards Johnson by the now-resigned committee members we suspect he’ll have had no shortage of cooperative witnesses. Under Rushern Baker, Questions concerning CPG grant applications should be directed to the Office of Management and Budget at 301-952-3300. The office is staffed by close friends. Maryland State Prosecutor might not issue subpoenas this time around because of the obvious conflicts of interests this time and the fat wallets involved. However, we will be keeping an eye.
In retrospect, there is a lesson to be learned here. Just as Jack Johnson was not allowed to get control of Dimensions Healthcare, Mr. Rushern Baker must not be allowed to get control of Dimensions Healthcare and turn it into a piggy bank for his supporters the way he has abused the use of this fund.
Here are worthy projects which desperately needs funding if Mr. Baker has an indiscriminate urge to spurge. >>>Read more
Dr. Kevin Maxwell got a hefty $90,000 golden hand shake on the way out from Anne Arundel County Public Schools and $1 million sign up with guess whose pot cash bonuses? – PGCPS. What does this guy promise to do for us? Is this performance based appointment? Even wall street sets performance goals. The last time we checked with our school performances, we cannot surely in this economy blow cash on these willy nilly appointments for sure. Dr. Maxwell was indirectly a subject of the Maryland legislature in the last session for the $90,000 he took with him. (Read more)
Ms. Monica Goldson Public Enemy Number 1 – Chief Operating Officer for Prince George’s County controls millions of dollars on behalf of other conspirators. She is the Architect of mismanagement involving public funds currently underway in Prince George’s county Public schools which is facilitated by ASASP Union (the union) fueling the fire.
Dr. Segun Eubanks (Courtesy of the National Education Association)…is brother – in -Law to Mr. Rushern Baker. Talent usually runs in families but this one takes the cake. If this is a sample of Top Executive team that Mr. Baker has assembled for Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS), then GOD HELP US. Only a miracle can rescue us from this mess. Dr. Segun is identified with weak financial controls within Prince George’s county school District and has been smiling all the way to the Bank for the last nine (9) months. (Read more)
Where are the citizens of Prince George’s County! We need to stand up for our rights and demand to have a say on how our hard earned cash is spent. Let Mr. Rushern Baker use his own money to party like there is “NO” 1999. Enough is enough. What does it take for the honorable citizens of this county to rise and demand an end to this rot.
In general there is a saying ” people get the governance they deserve”. Surely we do not want this – at least that’s what we hope we all stand for.
Read more – >>Major scandal Developing in Upper Marlboro.