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Solo Cup development foes seek records from councilwoman

A group opposed to rezoning a former industrial site in Owings Mills has filed a Maryland Public Information Act request seeking financial records and personal emails and text messages from Baltimore County Council Chairwoman Vicki Almond.

Efforts by developer Greenberg Gibbons to rezone the former Solo Cup property to make way for a Wegmans-anchored shopping center at Reisterstown and Painter’s Mill roads have spawned a raft of opposition and controversy since the redevelopment project was unveiled earlier this year.

The County Council has is scheduled to vote on the zoning request on Aug. 28.

In the letter sent Tuesday to Almond, the Baltimore County Office of Information Technology and Don Mohler, chief of staff for County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Shirley Supik, a member of the Say No To Solo Coalition, requested copies of all written and electronic communication between Almond and her staff related to the 2012 International Council of Shopping Centers conference, held in May in Las Vegas.

“Our request includes all communications by Councilwoman Almond and her staff regarding her registration for the event as either an associate or employee for the Greenberg Gibbons development firm, as well as financial records for her council office regarding payments to register for the conference and/or discounted registration costs related to being classified as an associate or employee of that development firm,” the letter states.

Copies of the letter were also sent to the six other members of the Baltimore County Council.

The request also seeks all correspondence between Almond and her staff and members of the Greenberg Gibbons development firm and any of the firm’s “agents, lobbyists or legal counsel.” One of the firm’s lawyers is former Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith.

The letter acknowledges that under state law, the officials have 30 days to respond. But it also said that if the information were released before next week’s vote on the Solo Cup rezoning issue, it “will demonstrate an appreciation of the public integrity issues critical to the zoning decisions made by Councilmember Almond.”

Almond said Tuesday she had received the public information request and declined comment except to say, “I’m taking it under advisement.”

Asked about the questions in the letter relating to the possibility that she may have registered at the ICSC conference as a Greenberg Gibbons employee, she scoffed, saying: “Totally ridiculous.”