Tal­bot County Coun­cil needs to clean house

Sunday Star - - OPINION - By CHRIS­TINE DOLAN Sec­ond of two parts. Star Demo­crat Demo­crat’s The Star The Star Demo­crat The Star Demo­crat Demo­crat The The Star Demo­crat’s Demo­crat The The Star Star Demo­crat’s The Star Chris­tine Dolan is an in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist and the for­mer po

The stark con­trast of Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush’s de­cency and gra­cious­ness and his prin­ci­ples for a thou­sand points of light il­lu­mi­nat­ing the time­less val­ues of duty, sac­ri­fice and com­mit­ment in pub­lic ser­vice as com­pared to the toxic drama by Tal­bot County Coun­cil, Tal­bot Repub­li­can Cen­tral Com­mit­tee and their “aka” min­ions could not be more dif­fer­ent.

Why would Tal­bot Repub­li­cans go to such great lengths to cre­ate two fake Face­book pages: Matt Al­bers (aka Sears Wheeler) and Jen­nifer Wil­liams (aka Toby Tyler)? Why would David Reel write a piece with Ni­cholas Panuzio’s name on it for Tal­bot Spy with­out Panuzio even read­ing it? Why get do­na­tions from the state Real­tors PAC in An­napo­lis to Wil­liams, Cal­la­han and Pack on Oct. 12, then move those monies days later to the Com­mon Sense Tal­bot PAC run by Wil­liams’ hus­band and Cal­la­han’s girl­friend? Why would th­ese peo­ple lie, de­flect, deny the knowl­edge of the fic­tional Sears Wheeler col­lec­tively to The Star

Demo­crat, have dis­crep­an­cies in their re­quired fi­nal cam­paign fi­nan­cial state­ments, and still be­lieve they are suit­able to lead the Tal­bot County Coun­cil when Wil­liams, Cal­la­han and Pack re­fused to lis­ten to the ou­traged elec­torate on noise lev­els?

If neigh­bor­hoods concerned with noise tell county coun­cil mem­bers that their sit­u­a­tion is in­suf­fer­able, sane and de­cent lead­ers would never vote for in­creased deci­bels. What cit­i­zens asked for was en­force­ment. Not more noise.

Shame on the county coun­cil for putting Allen Bryan Jr., who is con­nected with the Land­ing MX mo­tocross track out­side Eas­ton, on the noise task force with vot­ing rights. Both Br yan and coun­cil mem­bers he sup­ported fi­nan­cially voted for in­creased deci­bels. The track’s neigh­bors com­plained as far back as 2013 to Gov. O’Mal­ley. Shame on Jeanne Bryan for what she is do­ing out­side of her $20 mil­lion law­suit against the county, claim­ing a fic­ti­tious Sears Wheeler lived on her prop­erty.

It is shame­ful 100 cit­i­zens in Rio Vista and Bent­ley Hay signed a noise pe­ti­tion, and the coun­cil voted against them. It is shame­ful the coun­cil voted to write a let­ter to a judge re­quest­ing to lift a court-or­dered deed re­stric­tion as a re­sult of a court or­der decades ago on Til­gh­man Is­land on what is now the Wylder prop­erty that in­creases noise. It is shame­ful that greed su­per­sedes this county’s ru­ral tran­quil­ity and the aka Sears Wheeler and aka Toby Tyler ca­bals lied to and Tal­bot Spy.

Peo­ple of con­science must take truth-seek­ing steps to thwart po­lit­i­cal de­cep­tion that is al­ways a co­op­er­a­tive act. Cit­i­zens should not be­come am­biva­lent to covert po­lit­i­cal de­cep­tion and con­flicts of in­ter­est. In po­lit­i­cal jour­nal­ism, we al­ways fol­low the money. WIL­LIAMS

On Aug. 27, Greg Gan­non do­nated $200 to Jen­nifer Wil­liams’ cam­paign. On Oct. 1, Si­grid Hay­ward — oth­er­wise known as Susie Hay­ward of the Mid-Shore Board of Real­tors — do­nated $60. On Oct. 3, Matt Al­bers, “aka Sears Wheeler,” do­nated $60, Corey Pack per­son­ally do­nated $40, Con­nie Sheer of the Repub­li­can Cen­tral Com­mit­tee do­nated $50, Al Sil­ver­stein, Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent and Town of Eas­ton Coun­cil mem­ber, do­nated $100, and David Reel of the Repub­li­can Cen­tral Com­mit­tee do­nated $35. On Oct. 12, the state Real­tors PAC gave a $1,500 check to the Wil­liams cam­paign.

Wil­liams, Hay­ward, Al­bers, Sheer, Sil­ver­stein and Reel were all copied on an Oct. 12 email with at­tach­ments con­tain­ing a piece that Al­bers au­thored. Wil­liams asked if a “sur­ro­gate” was needed for sig­na­ture. That spe­cific hit piece was to el­e­vate Frank Divilio by di­min­ish­ing Price.

On Nov. 1, Al Sil­ver­stein told this jour­nal­ist that “five or six” meet­ings were held at the cham­ber of­fices and “maybe one on Til­gh­man Is­land.”

Be­tween Oct. 22, when

in­ves­ti­gated Sears Wheeler’s iden­tity and Jeanne Bryan lied to about fic­ti­tious Sears Wheeler liv­ing on her prop­erty, and

Oct. 24 ed­i­to­rial about Sears Wheeler, un­til Nov. 1 when

pub­lished its “anal­y­sis” of this toxic mess, one can only imag­ine this ca­bal’s height­ened palaver.

Wil­liams’ cam­paign fi­nan­cials demon­strate wag­ons were cir­cling. And it is up to Wil­liams’ donors to ask them­selves what they were told as they wrote ad­di­tional checks.

On Oct. 23, Matt Al­bers, aka Sears Wheeler, do­nated $85 to Wil­liams’ cam­paign. That same day, Com­mon Sense Tal­bot PAC, whose chair­man is Wil­liams’ hus­band and trea­surer is Cal­la­han’s girl­friend, do­nated $989.82 to Wil­liams’ cam­paign, ac­cord­ing to Wil­liams’ cam­paign fi­nance re­port. On Oct. 25, the day af­ter

Sears Wheeler ed­i­to­rial ran, the Wil­liams’ cam­paign sent a $989.82 check back to Com­mon Sense Tal­bot PAC.

But there are no en­tries in the fi­nal Com­mon Sense Tal­bot PAC’s fi­nan­cials do­nat­ing $989.82 to Wil­liams’ cam­paign nor of Com­mon Sense Tal­bot PAC re­ceiv­ing a

$989.82 check from the Wil­liams’ cam­paign. Th­ese two check en­tries are listed only in Wil­liams’ cam­paign fil­ings.

How­ever, the cam­paign fi­nance re­port from the state Real­tors PAC does show a $989.82 do­na­tion to the Wil­liams cam­paign on Oct. 12. (Wil­liams’ cam­paign re­port shows

$1,500 from the Real­tors PAC on that date, while the PAC’s re­port shows the $1,500 as be­ing con­trib­uted on Aug. 31.)

(The cam­paign com­mit­tees for Chuck Cal­la­han and Corey Pack each re­ceived $989.81 from the Real­tors PAC on Oct. 12. Those three do­na­tions to the in­cum­bent Tal­bot County Coun­cil mem­bers — Wil­liams, Pack and Cal­la­han — ap­pear to be the only do­na­tions from the Real­tors PAC that were not for an even dol­lar amount. Within a week or so of those do­na­tions from the Real­tors PAC, Cal­la­han and Pack’s cam­paigns sent an iden­ti­cal or nearly iden­ti­cal amount to the Com­mon Sense Tal­bot PAC. Com­mon Sense Tal­bot recorded a $989.81 check from Cal­la­han’s cam­paign on Oct.

18 and a $990 check from Pack’s cam­paign on Oct. 20.)

Dur­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion from ap­prox­i­mately Oct. 22 un­til Nov. 1 when

pub­lished its ex­pose on Sears Wheeler, an ad­di­tional 31 do­na­tions were sent to Wil­liams’ cam­paign. Af­ter Nov. 1, only five more checks rolled into Wil­liams’ cam­paign.

Three Wil­liams’ do­na­tion en­tries stand out when cross-ref­er­enced with Noise Task Force mem­bers: Phillip E. Coun­cell for $200 on Nov. 5; Glenn Hig­gins for $250 on Oct. 22; and John Pet­tit for $50. All sup­ported deci­bel in­creases. CAL­LA­HAN

Jeanne Bryan’s do­na­tion of $500 to Cal­la­han’s cam­paign is not only poor op­tics, it be­comes worse be­cause Corey Pack is telling folks he be­lieves Cal­la­han will re­turn it. That has not yet hap­pened, ac­cord­ing to the cam­paign fi­nance re­ports. More im­por­tantly, ev­ery­one needs to note that Bryan’s at­tor­neys filed a mo­tion to get ac­cess to the county coun­cil’s closed-door ses­sions. The court de­nied this mo­tion based upon leg­isla­tive priv­i­lege. Ac­cord­ing to Tal­bot County Coun­cil records, Cal­la­han at­tended ev­ery coun­cil brief­ing on the Bryan law­suit since 2015, ex­cept for one.

By cross-ref­er­enc­ing Cal­la­han’s cam­paign fi­nan­cials with the Com­mon Sense Tal­bot PAC’s fi­nan­cials, the PAC’s fi­nan­cials show Cal­la­han’s cam­paign do­nat­ing $989.81 to Com­mon Sense Tal­bot on Oct. 18. There is no re­quired en­try of that $989.81 do­na­tion in the ex­pen­di­ture sec­tion of Cal­la­han’s cam­paign fil­ings.

Other do­na­tions to the Cal­la­han cam­paign in­clude $500 from Del­Mar-Va Paving, whose mail­ing ad­dress, as with the Land­ing MX, is the home of Allen Bryan Jr. Del­Mar-Va Paving also gave $2,500 to Com­mon Sense Tal­bot.


On Aug. 31, Greg J. Gan­non do­nated $200 to Pack’s cam­paign. On Sept. 17, the Real­tors PAC do­nated $1,500. Pack’s cam­paign fi­nance re­port lists the ad­dress for that do­na­tion as the ad­dress for the Mid-Shore Board of Real­tors in Eas­ton. But the Mid-Shore Board does not have a PAC, ac­cord­ing to the Mary­land Cam­paign Re­port­ing In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem. The cam­paign fi­nance re­port from the state Real­tors PAC shows it do­nated $1,500 to Pack’s cam­paign on Aug. 31. On Oct. 12, the state Real­tors PAC do­nated $989.81 to Pack. In Pack’s cam­paign fi­nance re­port, in the me­dia ex­pen­di­ture sec­tion, is an Oct. 19 en­try of $990 to the Real­tors PAC in An­napo­lis for me­dia buys. On Oct. 26, Con­nie Sheer gave Pack’s cam­paign a

$50 check.

When Pack’s cam­paign fi­nan­cials are cross-ref­er­enced with Com­mon Sense Tal­bot PAC’s fi­nan­cials, the Com­mon Sense Tal­bot PAC fi­nan­cials show a $990 check from the Pack cam­paign on Oct. 20. Pack’s cam­paign fi­nan­cials do not have an en­try of a check go­ing to Com­mon Sense Tal­bot PAC.

What ex­actly was told to the Real­tors Po­lit­i­cal Ac­tion Com­mit­tee in An­napo­lis to re­ceive the Oct. 12 cam­paign do­na­tions to Pack and Cal­la­han’s cam­paign, which ul­ti­mately ended up in the Com­mon Sense Tal­bot PAC cof­fers? Why not de­posit di­rectly to Com­mon Sense Tal­bot PAC, whose pa­pers were filed with the State of Mary­land on Oct. 10 by Wil­liams’ hus­band and Cal­la­han’s girl­friend and Matt Al­bers aka Sears Wheeler, who con­tracted with JaKa Me­dia So­lu­tions on Oct. 5?


On Aug. 31, the Mid-Shore Board of Real­tors do­nated $500 to Divilio’s cam­paign, ac­cord­ing to his cam­paign fi­nance re­port. How­ever, the state Real­tors PAC shows it do­nated $500 to Divilio’s cam­paign on that date. On Sept. 4, Greg Gan­non do­nated $200. On Oct. 30, Con­nie Sheer do­nated


Divilio sits on the Bryan Foun­da­tion Board. Dur­ing the cam­paign, Divilio said he did not want to serve un­less Wil­liams was re­elected, so does this mean Wil­liams won’t go away even though the vot­ers ousted her?


Once it was dis­cov­ered that Greg Gan­non at­tended at least one meet­ing at the Cham­ber’s of­fices with those in­volved with the Com­mon Sense Tal­bot PAC, Laura Price re­turned Gan­non’s do­na­tion. That is re­flected in her cam­paign fi­nan­cials on Nov. 8.

This roadmap demon­strates who has ethics, and her name is Laura Price. Those who signed th­ese fi­nan­cials should be held ac­count­able. The Ethics Com­mis­sion and Mary­land Board of Elec­tions need for­mal com­plaints.

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