- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 8, 2001

FREDERICK, Md. Two news organizations, after a yearlong legal battle, gained access yesterday to an escort service's business records that contain the name of at least one local public official.
Frederick County Circuit Judge G. Edward Dwyer Jr. gave the Frederick News-Post and the Associated Press a key to a storage locker holding records from the Corporate Affair Referral Service, but he restricted the news organizations from publishing the names of private citizens included in the records.
One compact disc included the name of Frederick Alderman Blaine Young, who has previously said his name appeared in the records because he hired women from the escort service to dance at parties.
The Young entry was in a set of documents marked "address book." Beneath Mr. Young's name, the entry reads "mayors son." Mr. Young is the son of Ronald N. Young, a former Frederick mayor who is now the deputy secretary of the state Department of Planning.
Mr. Young decided not to seek re-election to the Board of Aldermen after it was reported earlier this year that he was listed in the records. He is a political ally of Republican Mayor James S. Grimes, who lost re-election Tuesday in a race spiced by the "black book" scandal.
"I do think it probably had some impact on voter turnout and voter discontent," said Jennifer Dougherty, the Democratic restaurateur and gift-shop owner who beat Mr. Grimes by a 3-2 margin.
"The desire to move ahead, to look forward rather than continue to be mired in scandal, was enough to get voters out and in our favor."
Mr. Grimes contended the News-Post's coverage of his administration, including the records dispute, was biased.
"I absolutely feel that the same thing that happened at the World Trade Center has hit me," he said yesterday. "I was terrorized by the Frederick News-Post."
Mr. Young said yesterday that he did not pay for sex and did not break any law.
"I have never been charged, and the media's having fun being my judge and jury," Mr. Young said.
The material had been held since March in the locker at a storage complex in Frederick while the two media organizations sought access in court. The documents had been seized by police during a July 1999 raid of the escort service.
Inside the locker was a cardboard box containing a manila envelope with four compact discs and a 3-inch floppy disc. The box also held three binders with black covers and a 2-inch stack of loose sheets of paper. Also in the storage area were nine white trash bags full of documents shredded by a lawyer for Corporate Affair before a judge stopped him and locked up the records.
The computer discs and binders were marked "Maryland State Police computer crimes unit."
The sheets appeared to contain a partial printout of information on the discs. The discs and the sheets contained names, telephone numbers, street addresses and e-mail addresses.
One group of papers consisted of hundreds of sheets, each titled "Personal Profile." On each sheet is a man's full name and a four-digit number, followed by at least one dated entry of a woman's first name. Some sheets have as many as 29 entries connected with one man.
Other sheets appeared to be ledgers of receipts and payments, including $450 for an abortion, as well as payments for utility bills, haircuts, eyeglasses and groceries.
The news organizations obtained the documents after Judge Dwyer signed an order yesterday allowing the media to publish only the names of "public officials and public figures." He did not define either term.
Henry Abrams, an attorney representing the newspaper and the wire service, objected to the restriction, saying it constituted prior restraint on the news organizations' right to publish, possibly violating the First Amendment.
Judge Dwyer said he included the restriction because Mr. Abrams, in an earlier hearing, had said the news organizations intended to publish only the names of public officials and public figures.
Judge Dwyer ruled Oct. 23 that the city erred in denying the news organizations' requests under Maryland's Public Information Act for copies of the documents.
The judge also faulted Mr. Grimes' decision to return the documents to the then-attorney of confessed madam Angelika Potter, the owner of Corporate Affair.
The lawyer, Richard Bricken, shredded some of them despite the news organizations' pending appeal.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide