- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 11, 2005

FREDERICK, Md. — The Black Book is back.

Four years ago, Democrat Jennifer P. Dougherty leveraged a sex scandal into a victory over Mayor James S. Grimes, a Republican, after his administration was accused of covering up evidence that public officials were clients of a disbanded prostitution ring.

Now Mrs. Dougherty says her opponent in tomorrow’s Democratic primary, Ronald N. Young, should explain why one of the madam’s employees mentioned his name during a videotaped police interview that was among the materials the city released last year after a court fight with the press.

Mr. Young, who was mayor from 1974 to 1990, denies any wrongdoing and says Mrs. Dougherty, the city’s first female mayor, is playing the same kind of political hardball he witnessed while helping her beat Mr. Grimes in 2001.

“My feeling is, she thinks she won the last election by using the Black Book and she’s feeling very desperate right now, and so reviving the Black Book could win re-election for her,” said Mr. Young, who now works as the town manager of Indian Head and as a real estate agent in Frederick.

By tossing the Black Book into the fray during a Sept. 1 speech to fellow Democrats, Mrs. Dougherty amplified the bitterness of a race that already was bordering on name-calling.

Mr. Young, 64, said it strengthened his support among residents who are weary of wisecracks about their city of 59,000. “It’s a lousy thing for Frederick. It’s lousy that she would even reintroduce this,” he said.

Mr. Young’s name, as well as that of Chris Rolle, brother of Frederick County State’s Attorney Scott Rolle, surfaced during a rambling, hourlong police interview in January 2000 with Sherry Nolan, an acknowledged employee of the Corporate Affair Escort Service run by convicted madam Angelika Potter.

Miss Nolan implied to her interrogators that Miss Potter had thought her political connections would protect her from prosecution.

“She just bragged about it,” Miss Nolan said.

“She bragged about — ?”

“That if she went down, that Chris Rolle and the mayor — but he doesn’t, he’s not a mayor anymore — Ron Young.”

“Used to be the mayor?”

“Yeah.”

Mr. Young has denied having patronized Miss Potter’s prostitution business, although he says he knows her. Scott Rolle has said Mr. Young was not a suspect in the case.

Mr. Young’s son, Blaine, a city alderman at the time of Miss Potter’s arrest, was identified in other Potter documents as a customer. He has said he hired some of her employees to dance at parties.

Mrs. Dougherty, 44, said she mentioned the case to counter what she called Mr. Young’s “continuous bomb-dropping” about legal costs paid by the city.

Mr. Young contends that Mrs. Dougherty’s combative nature is to blame for $2.3 million in city legal expenses during her term.

“My approach is totally different from hers,” Mr. Young said. “I’m mobilized on working with people; I think her approach is, ‘My way or the highway.’ ”

Mrs. Dougherty, a restaurant and gift-shop owner who had not held public office before running for mayor, has heard such criticism throughout her term.

Yet her tough style has yielded results: The Golden Mile, a retail district along U.S. 40, has regained some of its tarnished appeal thanks to tax breaks she advocated.

Retail, office and residential development is surging along downtown Carroll Creek, more than 20 years after Mr. Young initiated the flood-control project that tamed the waterway.

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