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O’Malley hits delayed reaction to deal
ANNAPOLIS — Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley yesterday criticized one his party’s top officials for questioning a state land deal after voting in favor of it.
The public squabbling is the most recent episode regarding the deal, which continues to nag the administration.
The first questions about whether Mr. Griffin was improperly involved in the deal were raised last week.
Sen. Andrew P. Harris, Baltimore County Republican, asked state Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, a Democrat, to investigate whether Mr. Griffin appraised land while working for the U.S. Land Alliance and before he joined Natural Resources, which approved the sale for the state.
“Senator Harris is free to request whatever investigation he likes,” Mr. O'Malley said Monday. “He’s free to request whatever investigation he likes. Do I believe anything was not done properly in the purchase of this open space? No, I do not.”
“I had nothing at all to do with anything dealing with the valuation of the property from any vantage point,” he said Monday.
Mr. Griffin also said he did not tell Mr. O'Malley about the consulting work because he was advised by the State Ethics Commission in mid-January that his work with Buchart-Horn and with the state was not a conflict of interest.
U.S. Land Alliance made a 55 percent profit on the deal, and the state bought the land for about $1 million more than one appraisal, which has prompted Mr. Franchot to ask why Natural Resources approved the higher price and “what, if any, professional relationship” Mr. Griffin had with U.S. Land Alliance President David Sutherland, who also served on Mr. O'Malley’s transition team.
The Board of Public Works is composed of the governor, the state comptroller and state Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp.
By Tom Fitton
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