Annapolis Ignores Law, Wastes $250,000

This is going to be a good post.

So, we now know (click here/here) that plans for a Sailing Hall of Fame will go forward downtown, to be erected at the end of Dock St. near Phillip’s and the Natural Resources Police:

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The leader of the effort is Dick Franyo, who is the President of the HOF’s board of directors, and the owner of Boatyard Bar and Grill in Eastport. Oddly, the responsibility for assessing the feasibility of such a proposal rests with the Maryland Stadium Authority, which highlights cause for optimism:

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The feasibility study released yesterday by the Maryland Stadium Authority says
the Hall of Fame would create 95 jobs and bring more than $320,000 annually in
new tax dollars to the area.

And Mr. Franyo seems enthused:

It’s probably the most unique property of its kind in the country.

We have what we think will reaffirm Annapolis’ position of sailing capital
of the nation, and really, (of) the world.

How, you might be asking yourself, could the city of Annapolis possibly mess up such a dandy scheme? Answer: by wasting a quarter of a million dollars.

Stay with me. The HOF is going to be an expensive proposition–they hope to raise $15-$20 million for the project, which would allow for adequate construction and even free admission to the site. How are they going to get such money? By pilfering it from rich sailors:

The group wants to build a $20 million museum at the site, which is
currently used by the state Department of Natural Resources Police, though the
agency is already planning to relocate. Hall of Fame President Dick Franyo said
he hopes to begin fundraising for the museum soon, with groundbreaking possible
by next year.

Franyo said the Hall of Fame could be built without public tax

“Fortunately there are people who have a passion for the sport who do have
means,” he joked.

It sounds like they have plenty of money. Heck, Walter Kronkite (wealthy) and Ted Turner (mogul-grade wealth) are on the board, and they even had enough money to buy out a portion of Phillip’s waterfront property. BUT,

Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised for the hall, including a
$260,000 grant from the city, Mr. Franyo said.

Unbelievable!!! Let’s summarize. Several rich people want to build a sailing hall of fame with sailors’ money. If that’s not enough, they can chip in the rest personally. They proclaim publicly that they do not need public money. THE CITY OF ANNAPOLIS GIVES THEM PUBLIC MONEY.


But that’s not all. The Capital reported the grant from the city to be $260,000; however, the city only budgeted for $250,000! This may not seem like a big deal, but it’s actually breaking the law.

Here’s how it works. The capital budget includes a “project” for non-profit grants. Once a year, dozens of non-profit agencies come to a city council meeting and beg the city to give them money, a process that I* have cleverly dubbed the ‘beg-a-thon’. The approved amounts are recorded, and such becomes law, as the budget has to be passed in the form of a resolution by the city council.

(*with the help of my cronies)

The approved funding for the HOF looks like this:

prior years: $25,000
2008: $75,000
2009: $50,000
2010: $50,000
2011: $50,000

TOTAL: $250,000

The $10,000 difference is not a lot of money relatively speaking–just enough to prove that the city can use the written law as a “guideline” and can bend or break certain laws as they please.

This is total poppycock, first that the city would spend money when the non-profit declares they don’t even need it, and second that it ignores its own law by giving a non-approved amount of money. In light of this information, the city council should immediately pass a budget revision pulling funding for this project.

(Crossposted on Annapolis Politics)

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