Hooray for the City Paper’s scathing article, “Tax Dodger’s Report”
Published: June 26, 2013
Hooray for the City Paper’s scathing article, “Tax Dodger’s Report” (Mobtown Beat, June 19), which provided concrete numbers and details of the City of Baltimore’s unending gifts to big developers. The number of Tax Increment Financings (TIFs) and Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTs) the city has racked up is astonishing and appalling.
As if the continual drain on the city taxes by our leadership were not insulting and irresponsible enough, the additional designation of Harbor Point as an Enterprise Zone by the inclusion of the Perkins Homes is ludicrous. Rather than benefiting from the Harbor Point development, fewer poor people will end up in this convenient area of East Baltimore between the harbor and Fells Point: They will be priced out by expensive condos, commercial development, parking garages for the expanded Whole Foods, and other costly projects.
A company the size of Exelon should not need or require tax breaks from a city that cannot afford to keep its recreation centers open or operate its public library branches eight hours a day. Ditto for Streuver Brothers and H&S Properties, which appear a combined total of seven times on the lists provided by the City Paper.
In Michael Yockel’s recent inaccurate screed regarding the state’s seizure of Tom Kiefaber’s property (Mobtown Beat, June 12), Yockel alleged that I own the house behind the Senator Theatre. I do not. Yockel could have found this out in about 30 seconds had he checked the Maryland property-records database. Baltimore City made it impossible for me to complete that transaction when they confirmed that they would not respect the rights of the owner of that property when it came to their development project at The Senator.
I emailed editor Evan Serpick privately last week, via City Paper’s website, asking him to print a correction. I also noted the problem in a comment on the online version of the article. Since I don’t see a correction, I’m writing you a letter for publication.
In any case, the damage is done. Even if City Paper prints this letter, hundreds, if not thousands of people now think that I own a property that is vacant and fallen into disrepair.
This is the problem when the media does not check its facts. As they say, “a lie can run around the world before the truth can get its boots on.” This has been the issue with local reporting on the Senator all along.
Editor’s Note : The story in question states “Laura Perkins . . . purchased the place at auction for $106,000 in February 2010. It appears to be vacant.” According to public records and Perkins’ own published account, the story is accurate: In a letter published in the Baltimore Examiner on Feb. 24, 2010, Perkins wrote, “On Friday, February 19th, I purchased the home and property located at 446 Rosebank Ave. at a foreclosure auction.” The City Paper story did not say Perkins currently owns the property. For the sake of clarity, the story should have mentioned that she does not. City Paper regrets the omission.