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O’Malley Blames Ehrlich for Millions in Losses at Baltimore Hilton Hotel Boondoggle

Governor Martin O’Malley is blaming his predecessor, Bob Ehrlich, for losses at the Hilton Baltimore, a city owned luxury hotel.

In 2005, then Mayor Martin O’Malley pushed the project through the Baltimore City Council, which committed $300 million in city taxpayer dollars to build the hotel.  Now, O’Malley is blaming Ehrlich for not committing state money to the project.

“You may recall, at the time, that we asked we were told no by the then governor,” O’Malley told WBAL TV News.

The hotel has lost $54 million since it opened in 2008.  In 2011, the hotel—owned by the Baltimore Hotel Corporation, and operated by Hilton—used $4 million of its $9 million reserve fund to make a semi-annual bond payment.  This year the hotel used $1.5 million from occupancy tax revenue to make debt payments.  The hotel generates enough business to cover operating expenses but not enough to meet its large debt payments.  Those payments increase to $4 million in 2018 and rises to $28 billion after 2022.

Baltimore City taxpayers could be on the hook for future debt payments as city officials stated future debt payments might come from the city’s general fund.

Current Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, walked sideways from the issue When WBAL asked if the city was open to selling the property,  “as I said, the hotel board will make recommendations. I wouldn’t make any decisions until I was fully informed about all the options.”  Rawlings-Blake, a close political ally of O’Malley, voted for the project when she was a member of the city council

O’Malley sated he was open to the state helping the city.  Translation—a state taxpayer bailout.

It appears the only people to profit off the Hilton Baltimore are the corrupt developers, like Ronald Lipscomb, who filled O’Malley’s campaign coffers, along with other prominent Democrats.

O’Malley has a history of blaming his failures on his predecessor.  In fact, it’s a hallmark of his political career.  Duck responsibility for failure, blame Ehrlich, stick taxpayers with the bill.

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Mark Newgent

Mark Newgent is a contributing editor to Red Maryland, the premiere blog of conservative politics in the Free State, voted one of the best state political blogs by the Washington Post two years in a row. His writing has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Washington Examiner, National Review Online, and more. Twitter: @MarkNewgent

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Categories: Bond Bills, Budget and Finance, Cronyism, Must Read, Politics, Waste, Fraud and Abuse
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