Observing from beyond the solar system, a cultural outsider looks in.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Statement on purchase of 446 Rosebank Ave.

UPDATE 6/27/2013: Since City Paper recently published an inaccurate statement that I own 446 Rosebank, I need to set the record straight. I do not own, nor did I ever own, this property. If you've ever dealt with foreclosure auctions, you know there is a period of time between the bid and the actual completion of the purchase. Baltimore City prevented me from completing this purchase, when they confirmed that they would not respect the rights of the property owner, when it came to their development project next door at The Senator Theatre. I lost a significant sum of money on this attempted purchase, and I'm considering a lawsuit against Baltimore City.

To whom it may concern,

On Friday, February 19th, I purchased the home and property located at 446 Rosebank Ave. at a foreclosure auction, which had been widely publicized within our community and beyond. The auction sale triggered speculation regarding my motives and my plans for the property, which is contiguous with The Senator Theatre property in the rear of the site.

I am one of the core volunteers with the Friends of The Senator Theatre group, and I share the group’s rising concerns over the flawed Senator RFP process that the Baltimore Development Corporation is conducting. I was also the sole Friends of The Senator representative on the BDC's RFP advisory panel.

Despite serious past concerns over the manner in which Baltimore City acquired ownership of The Senator, I resolved to approach with optimism the city’s RFP evaluation process and I extended the BDC leadership the benefit of the doubt. I hoped for a thorough process that would give unbiased objective evaluation to the proposals. I quickly became alarmed, however, over the inappropriate secrecy of the RFP process and the BDC’s repeated flat refusals to allow bona fide historic theatre redevelopment and film industry professionals to consult with the RFP panel. From my perspective, the BDC’s insular and uninformed stance puts both The Senator’s future and over a million dollars in scarce city taxpayer funds at great risk.

It's a scandalous situation, and in response, I pointedly resigned in protest from the RFP panel. My resignation came shortly after the BDC leaders stated that the 446 Rosebank Ave property, which Tom Kiefaber acquired 15 years ago because he believes it is critical to The Senator's future, has no real significance to the two Senator RFPs under consideration. As a Senator RFP panel member, I knew this was false information.

That inaccurate assertion, like many previous BDC pronouncements, was clearly intended to mislead the citizens of Baltimore by using the media and our city council representatives to spread disinformation. Combined with the BDC’s refusal to consult with qualified experts in evaluating the RFPs, it was the last straw.

I’ve now personally inhabited a back room at the BDC and experienced first hand how this quasi-public agency effectively fosters incorrect beliefs among a jaded public, by trading in false and misleading information. A recent Pew Center for Excellence in Journalism study of key news stories in Baltimore, including the auction of The Senator Theatre, noted that the downsizing Baltimore media rarely fulfills its fourth estate mandate to verify the accuracy of the government's statements.

I am relatively new here in Baltimore, and I still cling to our nation's diminishing democratic ideals, the constitution, and the private property rights of each and every citizen. I blog as "Astrogirl,” and I spent much of the past year investigating how a few powerful individuals in city government and at the BDC have repeatedly abused Tom Kiefaber and violated his civil rights, while misrepresenting the situation to the media in ways intended to defame and undermine his professional reputation. The inaccuracy of the BDC’s past attacks on Mr. Kiefaber was shockingly easy to discover, and it chilled me to the bone to learn how Baltimore's embedded culture of corruption and manipulation operates with seeming impunity.

The research has opened my eyes, and once I saw Baltimore’s “shadow government” in action, it was apparent that enough is enough. Someone from our community other than Tom Kiefaber has to step up, as he has done over the years despite threats of retribution, and take an overt, public stand against the abuse of governmental power in Baltimore City by the BDC and the city government. Where I come from, local government and their related institutions don’t assume they can indulge in this level of corrupt manipulation, because the citizens will ultimately stand up to be counted and do something about it.

I acted on my convictions last Friday and bought the 446 Rosebank Ave. property at auction, as the only private bidder. A BDC representative was present to observe the auction of the property they deemed inconsequential. As the successful bidder, I plan to assert my rights as the adjacent residential property owner to The Senator and occupy a legitimate seat at the table as the Senator RFP situation unfolds.

I stepped up for good reason, because The Senator’s passionate past protector and steward has been neutralized and sidelined, and the theatre’s future is at stake and endangered by the politically tainted Senator RFP selection process.

I do not agree in the slightest with the BDC’s public and private assertion that 446 Rosebank Ave. is inconsequential to the RFP process, and the pointed inquiries I’ve received in the past few days validate my firm belief that Mr. Kiefaber was right all along. The 446 property is logistically, geographically, and strategically linked to The Senator Theatre and its future. That will undoubtedly become more apparent to all as things evolve.

Increasing my vested ownership stake in the community at this time should indicate that I am determined to help ensure that the future of The Senator Theatre will ultimately be decided through an open and transparent historic theatre redevelopment process, and not the shrouded RFP sham currently being perpetrated by the Baltimore Development Corporation.


Sincerely,

Laura Perkins
Purchaser of 446 Rosebank Ave.

UPDATE 6/27/2013: Since City Paper recently published an inaccurate statement that I own 446 Rosebank, I need to set the record straight. I do not own, nor did I ever own, this property. If you've ever dealt with foreclosure auctions, you know there is a period of time between the bid and the actual completion of the purchase. Baltimore City prevented me from completing this purchase, when they confirmed that they would not respect the rights of the property owner, when it came to their development project next door at The Senator Theatre. I lost a significant sum of money on this attempted purchase, and I'm considering a lawsuit against Baltimore City.

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2 Comments:

Blogger PiperAfloat said...

I admire you even more than ever.

Want to hire a bodyguard? I might be able to hook you up.

Love you.

February 26, 2010

 
Blogger Laura Serena said...

Thanks, sweetie. I figure if nobody has offed Tom K yet, the thugs we're dealing with aren't the kind that actually have people killed, but thanks!

February 28, 2010

 

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