After a Gaithersburg resident filed a complaint with the Montgomery County Board of Elections, claiming that Independent County Executive candidate Nancy Floreen violated campaign-finance laws, the candidate is returning some of her donations.
Floreen’s attorney, Timothy F. Maloney, wrote in a letter to the Maryland State Board of Elections that Floreen will be returning $18,000 in campaign contributions.
Maloney said, after attorneys reviewed the campaign donations from developer Park Potomac Entities, that the company may have donated more than the maximum amount, $6,000, through an aggregate of various related organizations.
Floreen’s campaign manager, Richard Parsons, said the State Board of Elections has yet to notify the campaign of any violations, saying Floreen decided to return donations just to be on the safe side.
“We reviewed all the contributions that were mentioned in the complaint, and most were found to be within all applicable limits,” Parson said in a statement. “In four cases, the ownership structure of the companies involved was found to be highly complex, and the status of those contributions was not clear. So, we went ahead and refunded those contributions, on September 19, to avoid even the appearance of any issues.”
The refunded contributions come after allegations made by Gaithersburg resident Ken Meyers, who filed a complaint with the Montgomery County Board of Elections in September.
In his complaint, Meyer, a supporter of one of Floreen’s opponents, Marc Elrich, claimed that Floreen received $57,000 in illegal campaign contributions, citing separate donors who had the same addresses and similar names.
“This is a clear violation and a clear example of the fact that this campaign is being run in an undemocratic fashion,” Meyers said.
In his complaint, Meyers lists several organization that exceeded the maximum campaign limit of $6,000.
For instance, in his complaint Meyers states that both Guardian Realty Investment, LLLP, and Guardian Fund II-A Operating, LLC, were listed as donating the maximum amount to Floreen’s campaign. Both organizations are listed as having the same address and office number — 60000 Executive Blvd., Suite 400, in North Bethesda.
In addition, Meyers listed:
- Three $3,000 donations from Montgomery 1936 Land Company, LLC, LDG, Inc., and Acorn, LLC, all located at 8601 Georgia Avenue, Suite 200, in Silver Spring. Two $6,000 donations from The Donahue Companies, Inc., and OB 48000 Montgomery, LLC, both located on 7101 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 700 in Bethesda.
- Four $6,000 donations from Park Potomac Condominium (Venture) 1 LLC, SSMC IV, LP, Silver Spring Metro Center, LLLP, and SSMC III Limited Partnership and a $3,000 check from Park Potomac Condominium (Venture) 2 LLC. All contributors listed their address as 12435 Park Potomac Ave., Suite 200, in Potomac.
But after Floreen’s attorneys reviewed all the donations listed in Meyers’s complaint, only one, Park Potomac, could be in potential violation of Maryland’s campaign-finance laws, according to Maloney, who cited the contributions from the other organization as not “80 percent” overlapping – and thus in line with Maryland law.
“We have been advised that these entities have complex ownership structures and that there may be potential issues which implicate §13–226 (e) of Election Law Article,” Maloney wrote. “Accordingly, any aggregated contributions potentially in excess of individual contribution limits have been refunded.”