Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

The Real Ken

Posted by David Keelan on Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I find it interesting that Ken Ulman suggests that Chris Merdon is going to some how allow development on the Belmont Estate (now owned by the Howard County Community College Foundation).

The whole reason the Foundation purchased the land was because they were speculating on land development and would have gotten a piece of the pie if development was to be permitted.

Mr. Ulman suggests that because Mr. Merdon accepted campaign contributions from Chip Lundy.

… as part of its deal to purchase this land, the college promised developer Chip Lundy a chance to build houses on the historic, pastoral estate.

Ulman is suggesting that Merdon will some how permit such development to take place.  It won’t happen.  The whole deal (which I wrote about before) was a fiasco and full of poor planning.

Mr. Ulman perpetuates the theory that a candidate for elected office by accepting donations from developers means that are now obligated to the developer.  I assume that Mr. Ulman is putting himself in that same category.

I am not going to suggest that Mr. Ulman is in the pocket of the development community like Mr. Ulman is suggesting about Mr. Merdon.

Does it mean anything that Mr. Ulman accepted four separate donations in the amount of $4,000 each ($16,000 total)  from a group of companies and a principle in those companies.  Of the $16,000 he accepted $12,000 was accepted on the same day and $4,000 was accepted in the previous month.

The companies, residing at the same address 2330 W Joppa Rd, Lutherville-Timonium, are:

  • Preston Capital Management, LLC
  • Preston Partners, Inc.
  • Preston Land SCS, LLC
  • And the principle, David Scheffenacker, also reports the same address.

These entities own hundreds of thousands of square feet of developed property in Howard County and more in neighboring Anne Arundel County.

Preston Partners is the 11th largest commercial real estate firm in the area negotiating the sale and purchase of major pieces of developed property in Howard County.

Do I believe Ulman is in Preston’s pocket?  No I don’t.  Not anymore than I believe Ulman’s insinuation.  So what is the point?  Ulman should not be casting aspersions.

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3 Responses to “The Real Ken”

  1. jen said

    ummmm.. technically it will happen. Mr. Lundy still owns a portion of the land according to the agreement with the Foundation. Once the County commits to putting the road through to service the college, there is nothing stopping him from development of that acreage. He has all the legal – if not ethical- rights to do so. See the savebelmont.org for more information on the agreement.

  2. hocomd said

    Are you sure? I thought that they attempted a property swap in order to enable the development and the DNR said no. I have written about this before and been to http://www.savebelmont.org

  3. Cathy said

    Mr. Lundy has the option to purchase 20 acres from the foundation until the end of 2007 when that option expires. DNR continues to say no deal to the land swap. However, the college in the upcoming budget is trying to persuade politicians to buy the property for them-not for Rec and Parks. To all the county executive candidates’ credit, they have all said in one form or other that not one penny from their administration will go to the college to allow the college to purchase Belmont.

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