The ends don't justify the means in State Center deal.

You are right that a redeveloped State Center can be a good thing for Baltimore ("State Center debacle," Jan. 27), but we disagree with the implication that the ends in this case justified the means.

Our institute's research shows that state government offered $127 million in taxpayer-financed assets to State Center's developers without any competitive bidding process. These assets included bond issuances, state-owned land, and above-market rental rates. The cost to taxpayers likely would have increased as these estimates were only based on the project's first phase.

Judge Althea M. Handy was right to hold the state accountable for putting taxpayers on the hook for such a costly deal without a fair and open bidding process. The state's conduct in this contract award only fed suspicion that the biggest winners in the development deal were the developers, not the taxpayer. If the state moves forward with a modified redevelopment plan, we urge them to use a fair and open bidding process.

Christopher B. Summers, Rockville

The writer is president of the Maryland Public Policy Institute.

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