Glendening Picks Lobbyist to Raise Funds for Portraits

Article excerpt

Maryland's highest-paid lobbyist and a leading businessman will help raise money for a governor's mansion fund that will be used to pay for official portraits of Gov. Parris Glendening and his wife.

The Glendenings have chosen lobbyist Gerard Evans and Willard Hackerman, head of Whiting Turner Construction Co., to direct fund-raising efforts for a new Government House Trust.

Mr. Evans is probably best known as front man for Washington Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke in his effort to build a new stadium in Landover. Mr. Hackerman is a well-known businessman who owned a portion of the property that later became Camden Yards in Baltimore.

Critics attacked the appointments - particularly of Mr. Evans - saying it shows an overly cozy relationship between the governor and lobbyists.

In addition to shepherding the Redskins stadium through the balky General Assembly this session, Mr. Evans has taken on a number of high powered clients. Just in the past two years, Mr. Evans has represented major insurance companies, casino gambling interests, and the Redskins in their unsuccessful effort to build a stadium in Laurel.

"It's egregious," said House Minority Leader Robert Kittleman, an Ellicott City Republican. "I guess they feel they can get away with anything - there will be a public outcry, then it will die down."

"I'll paint [the official] portait for free," said Stan Fetter, Prince George's County Civic Federation president, and stadium opponent.

"I don't really have a problem with [Mr. Evans] doing this type of stuff," Mr. Fetter said, "but I think they should decide what he's going to be. If Gerard Evans is going to be Parris Glendening's fund-raiser, then he shouldn't be lobbying the governor" on other issues.

"It's political incest," he said.

Judi Scioli, spokeswoman for the governor, defended the trust.

"That's ridiculous," she said. "All [the Glendenings] are trying to do is to have a way to tap the private sector for these [projects] which are going to be beneficial to the people of Maryland. …