Cecil County Exec: Moore Reaps PAC, Developer Campaign $; Howard Backed by Mom, Small Donors

November 1, 2012

Republican Tari Moore has raked in campaign money from out of county interests tied to real estate development, including the Clark Turner organization that bet heavily on a different horse in the county executive race during the April primary election—Democrat Robert McKnight, the mayor of North East, who was soundly defeated in his party primary by Pam Howard.

And new campaign finance filings with the state show that McKnight got even more Turner-related campaign donations than previously disclosed in reports before the April primary election. But with the loss of McKnight to Howard in the Democratic primary, some of his donors now show up on Moore’s new finance report.

However, Moore also raised a majority of her $26,800 in total contributions so far to her campaign from fundraiser tickets and smaller donations. Moore had to wage a costly primary campaign against six other candidates before emerging the victor in the GOP primary.

Moore, who is in the second year of her first term as a County Commissioner for District 2, is facing Howard, the former three-term County Treasurer, in the November general election for Cecil County’s first-ever County Executive under charter government.

While Howard got a late start on fundraising, she has held several events and received many smaller donations that boosted her campaign coffers to be competitive with Moore. Howard has raised a total of $22,114, most of it for her general election campaign. She ran a shoe-string operation in the primary in which she defeated McKnight despite his nearly $18,000 warchest. Howard has not received any PAC donations and her largest individual check came from her mother.

The most recent pre-general election campaign finance report filed with the state Board of Elections, covering the period from 3/19/12 through 10/21/12, shows Moore raised $19,910 in that period, including contributions and fundraiser tickets amounting to $16,710; $1,200 from the Republican Club of Cecil County; and $2,000 from the Realtors Political Action Committee of Maryland. Moore also received an earlier $1,000 donation from the Realtors PAC in 2011, for a total of $3,000 from that PAC in this campaign finance cycle.

In addition, Moore’s latest finance report fails to list another PAC donation in the section reserved for PAC reporting. Instead, her report lists under regular contributions a $2,500 check, received 3/29/12, from the Cecil County Homebuilders PAC which is based in Baltimore. All told, Moore’s donations so far from real estate-related PACs total $5,500. [UPDATE: Moore told Cecil Times that the state online reporting system would not let her list the homebuilders group under the PAC category so she had no alternative but to list that donation under regular contributions.]

She also received a $2,000 donation on 3/29/12 from CT Charlestown Crossing, LLC, of Belcamp, Md., the Clark Turner entity that is building a large scale mixed-use housing development along Route 40 near North East. And a senior executive of the Harford County-based Clark Turner organization, Dan Whitehurst, of Havre de Grace– who often appears before the Cecil County Commissioners to represent Clark Turner interests– donated $500 to Moore on 3/29/12.

All told, donations from real estate-related PACS and Turner development interests total about 30 percent of all contributions to Moore’s campaign. (That does not include many smaller donations from Cecil County residents who happen to work in real estate or construction.)

[UPDATE: Moore told Cecil Times that she decided not to burden local residents with asking individuals for donations in these “really difficult economic times” and said that she was previously a local Realtor and “they know me” so she felt more comfortable seeking support from the real estate community.]

In addition, Moore received a substantial $3,000 donation on 10/10/12 from Ralph Hall of Galena, an owner of several Sassafras River-based businesses– including the Georgetown Yacht Basin and the Kitty Knight House Inn and restaurant on the Kent County side of the river, and the Granary restaurant, on the Cecil County side of the river, that has held a county liquor license. (When Hall sought Kent County approval for a large special events tent on his site, a nearby Georgetown resident–the father of fellow Cecil County Commissioner Robert Hodge, R-5– testified in its favor, according to meeting minutes.)

Moore also received donations and fundraiser ticket purchases from Hodge’s mother, Elizabeth, amounting to $600, according to individual listings on the finance reports. (However, Moore’s report listed an “aggregate” total for all her donations to the current Moore campaign of $1,000 although a search of the state elections database only showed a $600 total for the current political campaign cycle.)

Another mother opened her purse for Pam Howard, whose largest individual check came from her own mother, Virginia Howard of Perryville, who gave $1,000. Pam Howard had no donations from PACs or large construction or real estate interests.

Howard’s other large donor was Brian Shivery, a Rising Sun accountant, with a total of $1,255 that included a $500 donation, $130 in fundraiser event tickets and the balance purchases from auctions. Howard said she and Shivery worked together many years ago and remained friends, and Shivery “got into a bidding war” over an antique quilt auctioned at one of her fundraisers. (According to the state campaign finance database, Shivery’s past campaign donations have been to Republicans, including contributions to the gubernatorial effort of Robert Ehrlich and the Cecil County Republican Central Committee.)

Leading Democrats were also on Howard’s donor list, including his-and-her donations from Vivian ($1,010) and Wyatt ($141) Wallace. Wyatt Wallace heads the county’s Democrat Club and serves on the Planning Commission.

The Sutton for Sheriff campaign account, which supports the candidacy of Democrat Chris Sutton, bought fundraiser tickets totaling $324. Sutton, who lost two previous bids for county sheriff, is expected to run again in 2014 and has already held several fundraising events of his own.

Howard also received support from local Democratic groups: $1,000 from the county’s Democratic Central Committee and $100 from the Women’s Democratic Club.

Apart from the usual expenditures on printing of yard signs and flyers, billboards, newspaper ads and such, Howard detailed fundraising expenses and also listed “in kind” donations, such as food and items donated to silent auctions—including two coconut cakes valued at $10 each.

On her pre-primary campaign report, Moore listed income from a seafood buffet at Woodies but did not list any expenses of the event. When asked about it by Cecil Times, Moore said she would amend her report to show the value of food and beverages had been donated by the restaurant and would be listed as an “in-kind” donation. However, the state database does not show an amended report with the in-kind value of those services listed. [UPDATE: Moore told Cecil Times Thursday that in the midst of the campaign she “forgot” to update that report and said she would do so soon.]

In her latest campaign report, Moore listed expenses of nearly $8,200 for a direct mail flyer, paid for in late March. Her next report, post-election, will likely show additional mailing costs for the general election campaign, such as a mailer received by some Democratic women in the county.

Other Moore donors included $1,200 from John Burkley, a longtime Elkton insurance firm owner; and multiple small donations and ticket purchases from individual members of the Cecil County Patriots, the local “tea party” organization.

Meanwhile, the latest campaign filings show that McKnight, who remains the mayor of the town of North East, got even more Clark Turner-related money than previously indicated for his losing Democratic primary bid for county executive, including two newly reported 4/4/12 donations of $2,000 from CT Charlestown Crossing and $2,000 from North East Commons LLC. (North East Commons is a Turner-related large-scale housing development that has been proposed for a site formerly occupied by a religious retreat camp.)

Out of the $17,945 total McKnight raised for his campaign since last year, he obtained at least $10,000 from Turner-affiliated entities and individuals, according to the finance reports. But after McKnight’s primary election loss to Howard, he listed “expenditures,” dated 4/10/12, of $2,000 to Clark Turner individually and $1,000 to Whitehurst. If it was McKnight’s intent to return some of their earlier contributions, it should have been reported separately as a “refund of contribution” on the report.

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27 Responses to Cecil County Exec: Moore Reaps PAC, Developer Campaign $; Howard Backed by Mom, Small Donors

  1. Michael Burns on November 2, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Thank you for this prompt and informative report.

    • Elena Bodin on November 2, 2012 at 11:20 am

      Yes, thank you, and thank you MB!

  2. MikeR on November 2, 2012 at 11:21 am

    I have a real problem with the “creative type” of campaign filings from Tari Moore. She is running for County Executive but she cannot even complete a factual campaign filing of a small sum of money. What in the world will she do as county executive? More creative accounting favoring the real estate developers? Not good!

    • Broomless 2014 on November 2, 2012 at 6:26 pm

      As County Executive she will rely on the accountants to fill in the boxes. The money was reported. “Creative accounting” implies deceit.

  3. Hillary on November 2, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Well, here we go again. It’s time these commissioners start being transparent. Isn’t that what we heard from them when they ran for commissioner? How can Tari Moore be objective with all the monies she has received from the real estate developers? It boggles my mind.

    Do the politicians really think that all the Cecil Countians still live in the “good old boy days” and find this kind of charade acceptable? Do they really think we are so ignorant? Please don’t give me the line that she and Hodge have been the most reasonable and have done a good job, because from my perspective, they may not have voted along with the three buffoons but they have their own personal agendas as seen clearly from this report.

    Pam Howard’s my choice for County Executive.

    • Broomless 2014 on November 2, 2012 at 6:37 pm

      Hillary sounds like Broomell: “growth bad, me good”. Moore’s “personal agenda” is putting infrastructure in the growth corridor, following the comprehensive plan, and being pro-business. Moore has done nothing to give developers an advantage. Moore is the clear choice.

  4. Too Much Government on November 2, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Thank you Cecil Times for following these filings as closely as you do. Your astute reporting certainly puts things into perspective.

    Mrs. Moore has been known to flip flop all over the place. I’ve been on the fence as to whom I will vote for, for County Executive but this has helped me make up my mind.

    • Broomless 2014 on November 2, 2012 at 8:42 pm

      I see Moore and Hodge making decisions based on developed data rather than “spin” proffered by others. Can you provide evidence of “flip flop all over the place”?

      • Penny Wise on November 3, 2012 at 8:51 am

        I can think of a few Moore flips or at least chickening out when she has to make a hard decision. Take the McCoy farm when she abstained from the vote to give a landowner over a million dollars of taxpayer money. Commissioner Hodge voted no and the Amigoes voted yes on the giveaway! Her reason for not taking a stand? She said she was “concerned” that the landowner might not have read the contract on the sale of development rights. What? Did she even ask him?

        The Patriots opposed this give-away of taxpayer money to a big landowner for a farm that was never going to be developed anyway. Isn’t it funny that the Patriots (well, most of them) have so conveniently forgotten Moore’s flip flop? She was trying to play both sides on this and came up with a convenient excuse to avoid a hard decision.

        Then there was the earlier Carson farm so called preservation money deal. It was Hodge that asked a lot of questions about the numbers from the Cecil Land Trust and made them get appraisals, put details in writing and ended up getting the costs cut way down. I didn’t hear a peep out of Moore.

        She smiles a lot and tells people what they want to hear so people like her. Hodge is not afraid to be a meanie and tell it like it is. There is a big difference between the two, even if a lot of people are too blind to see it.

        • Broomless 2014 on November 3, 2012 at 10:23 am

          The full story on the McCoy Farm is that Cecil County was not a party to the contract BUT was fronting over $1 M. Cecil Land Trust via Bill Kilby (Broomell’s buddy SPECIAL INTERESTS) was responsible for no $. The 3 Amigos had not read the agreement, just as they had not read the Animal Control Ordinance). The Carsin Farm already had the # Amigo vote. The Carsin Farm $ was coming from money already designated for that purpose. There is a difference in personality but they have the same work ethic. Both deserve your vote.

  5. tina sharp on November 2, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    What is tari Moores agenda? So ur saying a business shouldnt make a donation/ that’s an odd way of thinking. Ur not a small business r u

  6. Donna on November 3, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Having been involved in local politics for the past couple years, I am supporting Tari Moore. Tari is however guilty of a few things; yes she does smile a lot and is very pleasant and approachable, she listens to all sides, does her homework and is not quick to make decisions and jump to conclusions. She makes good decisions and is definitely a leader. She returns phone calls/responds to emails promptly. Tari is business friendly and also a big defender of all citizens property rights.

    When interviewing Pam Howard, I was dissapointed with her response when questioned about property rights. Pam was asked about the issue of downzoning. Her response was “well I had my property rights taken away”. When asked what she did about it, her response, “well, what are you going to do?”. People, this is a huge issue we are facing with Plan Maryland and the other State Legislation, like SB236. Commissioner Moore has proven that she will protect all people’s property rights.

    • Penny Wise on November 4, 2012 at 12:07 pm

      I have to politely disagree with you Donna that Tari Moore is a “big defender” of property rights. Didn’t you and many other Patriots speak out against the McCoy land deal as a step toward putting in place the UN’s Agenda 21 and a big infringement on our property rights? It was, and it still is, a dangerous step toward that and gives public money for the “rights” to that land but the public has no right of access or usage as we would with a park or recreation area.

      If Tari Moore is such a property rights supporter, she should have taken a firm public stand against this and voted no even if the Amigoes had the majority. The fact that the Amigoes would prevail should have made it even easier for her to speak up against them. But she did not. I do not think abstaining on this is leadership.

  7. Jackie on November 3, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Businesses donate to candidates who are perceived as or who have a record of being business friendly. Our economy is suffering and we need a county exec. who will eliminate the bureaucracy and red tape associated with businesses being able to grow in our county. Moore has a record of being fair, listening to all sides of an issue, and making a thoughtful, informed decision. She has not shown preference to one group or another in her decisions. When small businesses are thriving, the public at large benefits through higher levels of employment and local income.

    I have yet to see Moore’s opponent attend any meetings and speak out in defense of property rights. She has been silent on every issue the county has faced over the last two years, except as it pertained to campaigning (candidate forums, etc.)

    • Penny Wise on November 4, 2012 at 12:52 pm

      Jackie, I respect the things you write in the Patriots website and your statements at public meetings. But I have to disagree here and remind you of your own statements on this issue.

      You wrote about the McCoy land deal, “Why would our commissioners even consider partnering with the federal government to violate the Constitution and spend more taxpayer dollars irresponsibly?”

      You also said that the McCoy deal was “a bailout to benefit few at the expense of the majority” and ” conservative who believes in limited government and the free market cannot support a federal land grab at taxpayer’s expense as this is.”

      I don’t think your views have really changed very much from these positions since your comment did not give Tari Moore a ringing endorsement on property rights matters. But being pro-business should also involve a commitment to property rights and being willing to put your vote on the line instead of abstaining.

      • Broomless 2014 on November 4, 2012 at 4:28 pm

        The McCoy issue was that full information had not been provided. Cecil Land Trust (Bill Kilby) was not there to explain the agreement entered into between the property owners and Cecil Land Trust. Abstaining because information was not made available seems prudent. The county was asked to fund the giveaway.

      • Jackie on November 6, 2012 at 8:25 am

        Penny, Tari has proven herself to be pro-individual property rights on several occasions. My comment focused on responding to the content of this particular article regarding donations. Pam Howard has not taken a stand on any of the crucial issues facing our county, including property rights. There were several documents dealing with the McCoy land deal, and the commissioners, unfortunately, were only given partial information. When Commissioner Moore saw that she had not received the all of the documents associated with the easement, she questioned it (rightfully so) and asked for more time. She was denied additional time by Broomell, Mullin, and Dunn. Once learning that they had not received all the documents, those three commissioners should have deferred to a later date to allow them to exercise due diligence before voting, but they did not. A desire to review all the information before making a decision is a positive leadership quality. If new information about an issue becomes available, I have an expectation that that information will be considered by our officials before a decision is rendered.

  8. Diane on November 4, 2012 at 5:45 am

    As one county commissioner so succinctly put it, “Some people just don’t get it!”

    Pam Howard astutely explained why she didn’t pursue her down zoning: the perception of conflict of interest! Voila, government is about more than just the self-serving; it’s about the entire community.

    Where does the government get its funding? Last time I looked it was from the taxpayers. Do I want to know where every stitch of my money is being spent and do I want a full accounting of my tax dollars that are going into government – you bet I do! If a candidate can’t even account for their own money, how in heaven’s name is she going to account for mine!

    My dollars and cents along with my vote went to Pam Howard for County Executive.

    • Broomless 2014 on November 4, 2012 at 9:30 pm

      The voters got it. That’s why they voted for Tari Moore over Dianna Broomell 2-1 in the primary election for County Executive.I’m sure that Pam Howard did a good job of counting your money. The voters, however, decided that a new Treasurer could do a better job and voted her out. Campaign finance reports prepared by a campaign treasurer don’t indicate a candidate’s expertise for a job that requires different skills, such as County Executive. My dollars and “sense” will go to Tari Moore for County Executive.

  9. Donna on November 4, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    How is owning property and having property rights a conflict of interest for a treasurer? Interesting that you would choose to quote Diana Broomell in your opening statement, the primary force behind the extensive Tier 4 map that would have taken the property rights of so many people!

    • Rick O'Shea on November 5, 2012 at 7:15 am

      Pam Howard had no problem lobbying for a salary increase while she was in office. At a time when a lean budget was being prepared and county jobs were on the line, Howard thought that her financial needs were more important than employment for others. She certainly did not represent all the people.

  10. Diane on November 5, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Dear Broomless Bob,
    I like both candidates for County Executive; however, I feel that Pam Howard’s financial background and long history of quality service to the citizens of Cecil County better suit our needs during this time. Many of us know what it is like to lose an election, the loss often propels us into unknown advances that we never dreamed of. I wonder if Pam would have run for executive if she hadn’t lost the last election. Her loss is Cecil County’s gain because we now have the chance to vote her in to lead our county as our first County Executive.

    Dear Donna,
    It was actually one of my favorite commissioners, Commissioner Robert Hodge who stated that
    “Some people just don’t get it.”

    • Broomless 2014 on November 5, 2012 at 9:21 am

      Howard’s financial background well qualifies her for a financial accounting position. Executive position NOT. Her terms as Treasurer coincided with the free spending, tax raising, infrastucture neglecting prior Democrat administrations. Her claims to be a “lifelong Cecil County resident who knows our people, our issues” seems to be a plea for support from the “good ole boys”. Tari Moore has demonstrated that she has the work ethic and ability to succeed as County Executive.

  11. Diane on November 5, 2012 at 7:50 am

    Dear Donna,
    Owning property and having property rights is not a conflict of interest for a treasurer. When you hold an elected office, you are held to a higher standard. Making a large public display, showing fighting between a treasurer and county commissioners, driving business away from Cecil County (because of battling in the newspaper), anything that would hurt the people you represent could be conceived as a conflict of interest. I don’t expect you to understand; I’m only hoping that we can agree to disagree on this issue.

    • Broomless 2014 on November 5, 2012 at 8:53 am

      I agree that elected officials are held to a higher standard. The examples of poor behavior (conflict of interest) you cite all apply to Commissioner Broomell. Businesses are awaiting the end of the Broomell / SMIPKIN Era before locating or expnding in Cecil County.

  12. Roger on November 5, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    There are wild accusations going around here at election time again with the mis-information police surfacing on Facebook again…. These are desperate measures by desperate politicians.

    Seems it’s OK to build whatever you want in Cecil if you have the “right” friends in all-the-“right”-places–heck you don’t even need to post building or grading permits like at new Dollar Store going in Rising Sun. Oh that’s right, it’s not in Rising Sun it’s just outside town limits where Commissioner Hodge voted to change the zoning because there was a change in the neighborhood but he also said he relied on info he was provided that there was a change in the neighborhood.

    This county needs change alright and we should start by keeping Hodge and Moore out of office because they are but puppets for developers who do not offer to pay their way for casinos or subsidized housing. They say “we built it” but what they don’t say is it’s with taxpayer money!!!

    I would not expect Hodge or Moore would support an Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance to finance infrastructure here as Hodge could care less that Rising Sun Town Center plaza is almost half unoccupied and Moore is from Utah where any development is welcome and would Utah care about APFO to defer costs associated with development from taxpayers to the developers? Probably not.

    I plan to vote for candidates who have at least lived here most of their lives instead of carpetbaggers seeking to feather the plush nests of their wealthy out-of-state campaign contributors at expense of Cecil County’s existing hard-working taxpayers.

    • Broomless 2014 on November 6, 2012 at 7:00 am

      Wow Roger, you win the prize for the wildest accusations of all! Are you Captain of the Broomell-SMIPKIN “Screed Team”? Sounds like you want to return to the good days when the county was looted by the well connected good ole boys.

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