Money Behind Charm City Candidates: A Look At Some of Mayor Dixon’s Campaign Contributors

Last Reporter

Chet Dembeck

Cross posted on Last Reporter

If you take a look at interim Mayor Sheila Dixon’s latest campaign finance reports online at the Maryland Board of Elections, you can see why being an incumbent and past president of the Baltimore City Council has its advantages.

The money is pouring in and it’s pouring in from some of the most influential, powerful and well-connected people in and out of the city.

If Dixon’s chances to be elected mayor are based solely on the amount and number of the contributions she collected so far — then the race is already over!

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Although Dixon’s and other candidates’ latest campaign financing reports do not have to be filed until later this month, the interim Mayor has clearly taken a commanding lead in raising money.

As of Jan. 17, Dixon had $284,383 in her account, even after paying expenses.

A closer look at two contributors

One of the biggest contributors to Dixon’s campaign has been the French Company, a Baltimore developer that donated $4,000 to her campaign.

Jay French, the company’s president, served on Dixon’s transition team and his firm is one of the prime developers chosen by the city to bid on a portion of its controversial “superblock” project.

The company was also chosen to develop 31 affordable homes as part of the Sharp Leadenhall project on city-owned property located in the in the a South Baltimore neighborhood, which is in the middle of gentrification.

Another major business backer of Dixon is Metra Industries of Little Falls New Jersey.
The company contributed $1,000 to her campaign and a Robert Deponte, who is listed on a defunct company Web site as Metra’s vice president of construction, donated $1,500 as a business entity.

Metra is a huge company that builds and repairs water mains, sewers and drains throughout the country.

The company is also one of a small group of elite contractors that the city has granted the designation of being “prequalified.”

On the City’s Public Works Web site, it shows that Metra has a money limit of $40 million and that the company’s prequalified status is up for renewal Oct. 11, 2007.

Over the coming days, we will be posting more profiles on the money behind Charm City candidates.

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