- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A document included with a letter received anonymously by the Maryland Independent last week was sent to Charles County Commissioner Ken Robinson (D) soon after it first was circulated.
Robinson said he first saw the document, which listed “points” for opponents of a rural land preservation plan to raise, when a reporter sent him a copy Monday.
But Commissioner Bobby Rucci (D) provided proof that he sent it to Robinson at 11:10 a.m. March 21, the day after he himself received it from Commissioner Reuben B. Collins II (D). He showed a reporter his computer and the original emails from his business account, showing that he had sent the document to Robinson’s campaign account. Rucci said on Friday that he had forwarded it to no one else.
“To me it wasn’t a big deal. It was another piece of information,” Rucci said.
On Monday, Robinson said that he had not seen the message because Rucci sent it to his campaign account. In any event, it probably doesn’t matter who sent the document, accompanied by a one-paragraph letter criticizing three commissioners who opposed the Priority Preservation Area plan, to the press, he said.
“What I would say is since no one is questioning the document’s authenticity, I’m not sure what the problem is. The commissioners often receive emails from citizens on issues of importance to them and I see this as being similar,” he said.
Rucci declined to comment further on the matter on Monday.
The three-page attachment suggested talking points for commissioners opposing the plan and challenged the Charles County commissioners’ legal authority to consider the PPA at all.
It was written by La Plata attorney Louis P. Jenkins Jr., a member of the Balanced Growth Initiative, which seeks to defeat the PPA. He sent it March 20 to fellow attorney and BGI member Steve Scott, who sent it to Collins the same day. Its authenticity has been confirmed by all three men.
The document also suggested ways that Collins could insert himself into discussion and votes about the PPA despite a settlement he had reached with the Charles County Ethics Commission. In the agreement, Collins pledged to abstain from votes concerning Scott on conflict-of-interest grounds, because Collins has a relationship with Scott’s La Plata law firm. Scott has clients who oppose the PPA.
The suggestions made Collins “uncomfortable,” he said last week, and he abstained from all related votes after a March 20 public hearing on the PPA.