A merchants' association is calling on Councilwoman Vicki Almond to explain her relationship with the developer of the proposed Foundry Row project before Tuesday or recuse herself from voting on rezoning the Solo Cup property in Owings Mills.
The Garrison Forest—Reisterstown Road Corridor Merchants' Coalition released the statement Sunday through Otis Rolley, an adviser to the group and former candidate for Baltimore mayor.
In the statement, Rolley cited concerns about Almond's relationship with developer Greenberg Gibbons and former County Executive Jim Smith, who represents the 400,000 mixed use project proposed for Owings Mills.
The group has previously opposed the Foundry Row project.
Rolley repeated allegations made last week by Shirely Supik and the Say No to Solo Coalition that Almond and her staff attended a retail convention this spring registered as employees of Greenberg Gibbons.
“If the allegations are false, we cannot imagine why Councilwoman Almond did not immediately stand up and say so, and immediately release the requested documents," said Rolley in the merchants' statement. "In our experience, that is the typical response we have seen from politicians who have done nothing wrong. Given the uncertainty, the only appropriate action from Councilwoman Almond on Tuesday is for her to publicly recuse herself from the vote.”
Supik, in an interview last week, backing up her claims but declined to release it. Instead, she said the proof of her allegations would be found in the response to a filed for emails, text messages, calendars and other documents.
The group has also regarding the source of its own funding.
Almond, whose district includes the Solo Cup site, is expected to vote on the new zoning for the property as part of the council's Comprehensive Zoning Map Process that concludes Tuesday night.
“Several members of the County Council who have indicated they are likely to support the Solo Cup rezoning request say that their primary reason for doing so is because Councilwoman Almond supports the request," said Rolley in the statement. "They say that they respect her right – as the Councilwoman who represents the area – to make zoning decisions, as a matter of so-called Councilmanic Courtesy. If Councilwoman Almond’s support for the project is ethically tainted, then that taint would spillover to the support of any members of the County Council who vote with her under the notion councilmanic Courtesy.”