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October 6, 2010

After plea, Holton traveling to Fla. on city's dime

The Baltimore Sun's Julie Scharper reports:

Baltimore City Councilwoman Helen Holton, who pleaded no contest this week to a campaign finance violation, will attend a three-day conference in Palm Beach, Fla., next week at the city’s expense.

The city spending board voted Wednesday to approve the $1,100 trip for Holton, who will be attending the National Association of Counties conference in Palm Beach from October 13 to 15.

Holton pleaded no contest on Monday to a misdemeanor stemming from a deal she struck with developer Ronald Lipscomb and bread magnate and developer John Paterakis Sr.

Holton asked the two to pay $12,500 for a poll during her 2007 re-election campaign, circumventing campaign finance regulations and exceeding the $4,000 cap on donations from individuals during an election cycle.

A related and more serious bribery charge remains tied up in an appeal to the Court of Appeals.
Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young, who presides over the five-member Board of Estimates, abstained from the vote. His spokesman said Young normally abstains from votes involving the council members.

Spokesman Lester J. Davis said the trip was planned long before the plea deal was announced and that Young, who serves as leader of the council, “did not have a role in picking who went on this trip.”

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake voted in favor of the expenditure. Asked if Holton’s trip should be approved after her plea, Rawlings-Blake said “I don’t think the two are related.”

“She is a working councilwoman with a budget and the expenses are part of that budget,” Rawlings-Blake said.

Holton’s charges are to be paid from the “elected officials’ expense account.” The board approved an additional $36 per day for hotel costs and $40 per day for food in addition to the normal daily $164 subsistence rate for the location.

Posted by Matthew Hay Brown at 12:54 PM | | Comments (27)


National Association of Counties conference?
Holton lives, works, and plead no contest in a city.
NACo is the only national organization representing county government.

Seems our current elected city officials love to reward thoseother city officals who have a corrupt nature with trips, retirement money, etc. Where do I sign up for such rewards ?

what a corrupt city govt we have.. it must
be nice to screw the citizens of balto and
still get to go on trips and keep your jobs
any hiring for more slezzy people to be
politicans..thats a joke

After yet again raising fees/taxes to live here in Harm City how can the city of Baltimore send anybody to this conference.
What a total waste of money.
Besides, Holton should have lost her council seat for her guilty plea!

I wonder if the $240 is in addition to the $1100. Not bad work, if you can get it.

Once again a "city" employee in government is in violation of the city charter and is rewarded and does not face dismisal or other disciplinary action as other city employees do. Don't ask and don't tell?

Isn't Holton just the epitome of integrity and honesty to represent Charm City in Fla? I forgot she'll be in attendance with a host of other politicians and crooks, she'll fit right in! Ms. Mayor doesn't seem to think her approval of Holton's expenditure request is related, since it was only a misdemeanor that she plead no contest to. What about the current bribery charge that is being tied up in appeals court. One wonders if Rawlings- Blake will feel the same, if Holton is convicted of the more serious charge?

Just another day at the office. Who says crime does not pay. Hope she enjoys it she will not represent my district soon.

I think it is wonderful that such an updstanding representative of Baltimore get to participate in Luxurious Palm Springs' activities...she should take Sheila Dixon with her...after all, they ARE twins !! Remove her butt from office...without Retirement Benefits!!!!

Holten and this mayor who got into office by waiting out her crooked predecessor just don't get it! They're both part of the same crooked system.
They seem as out of touch as Shiela was. With cutbacks everywhere the explantion for sending this crooked councilwoman on a trip days after her conviction is "the expenses are part of that budget". What's the purpose of having a vote then? When is the next mayoral election? Thow them all out. They are all equally crooked and evil. Baltimore deserves better!

I'd like to know who is on this board who approved her to go. What a F'n joke.

If the low lifes living in this city would get they crack heads out of there you know what, maybe they would vote them out of office. But that would require them to get off the corners and stups and couches.

I really don't see what the big deal here is, it's only 55,000 bottles.

Look, there is a very simple solution: vote her out of office. If the good people of her district want a crook to represent them, they can continue to vote in lockstep to return her to office.

She's no worse than John Boehner, and he might become Speaker of the House. People vote party and identity instead of merit all the time, and as a result we get people like Ms. Holton in political office forever.

Do you really think it matters who runs this city, O'Malley, Dixon, Rawlings-Blake, THEY ARE ALL CORRUPT LYING THIEVING POLITICIANS!!!!!Why do you think I moved from Balto. and Maryland ? CORRUPTION.

Mm-mm-mm, Law Jeezus, how that girl still got a job?

I wonder if she will lose her CPA license over her crimnal activities. Hmmmm... Maybe I'll file a compliant

This trip is feebly disguised tax-payer subsidized vacation. The Mayor should put the kibosh on it. She's demonstrating clear failure in leadership in her failure to do so. Take a look at the NAC website. This organization has three meetings annually. The next one is in Washington, DC, just down the road. No free hotel. No free airfare. No trip to sunny Florida. Glancing at my city property tax bill keeps me from laughing these amatuerish buffoons.

What do you EXPECT from a NIGERO ????





Not much "Change" going on around here.

So, are the politicians wherever it is that you move to any better? I highly doubt it.

Criminal Nigero's
News memo to you-
corruption is available in all colors when it comes to politics..
Tommy Bromwell
Spiro Agnew
Marvin Mandel
Richard Nixon
and the list goes on.
Jim Crow is over get used to it you moron.

If she had not taken the plea deal would she have been able to leave Maryland at all? Are any reporters following her on this trip. As a taxpayer I'd like to know what my money pays for. What are the people of Baltimore getting for their money?

Today on WYPR the mayor said she has nothing to do with this as its a city council decision. Does she wonder why she voted if she has nothing to do with it? She cannot bring herself to denounce this criminal or the former mayor. Perhaps she lives in a glass house herself and won't throw any stones. Time will tell.

This seems like much ado over nothing. As the Mayor said Councilwoman Holton remains employed and thus should continue to perform her job, even if that entails travel to conferences in other states. The budget set aside for her travel, hotel, and food expenses is reasonable. What is objectionable here?

As to the charges, which Ms. Holton pleaded to--namely seeking political contributors to pay a whopping $12k for a campaign poll and thereby violating some campaign finance law--it seems to me that most politicians (city, state, and nat'l) probably are guilty of similar technical infractions. It's just a matter of whether you get caught--i.e., whether a zealous (some might say overzealous) prosecutor / A.G. decides to dig up the dirt.

Would Holton be making this stupid trip if it were in Parkersburg west virginia? LOL I think NOT. what a waste of time and taxpayers money. She is a typical thioeving politician.

The ironic side to this is that the Sun will not send a reporter to FL to follow-up, because they are cutting costs.

Disgusting. Helen Holton the Hypocrite.

Unfortunately, her constituents are too stupid to vote her out.


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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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