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Holton to speak on restoring trust in City Hall

 

Councilwoman Helen L. Holton, who pleaded no contest to a campaign finance violation two weeks ago, will speak tonight at a panel discussion at Loyola University on "Restoring Public Trust in City Hall."

Holton, who traveled to Palm Springs, Fla. last week for a conference at the city's expense, will join Councilmen William H. Cole IV and James B. Kraft for the fifth annual "Law and the City" discussion.

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Andrea Giampetro-Meyer, chair of Loyola's Law & Social Responsibility Department and the event's organizer, said Holton would bring a "unique perspective" to the discussion.

"Holton's recent experiences will allow her to offer insights about what it is like to have your behavior questioned from an ethical perspective," Giampetro-Meyer said.

The West Baltimore councilwoman will bring "unique insights about legal and ethical guidelines" for city elected officials, she said.

Earlier this month, Holton pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor stemming from a deal she struck with developer Ronald Lipscomb and bread magnate and developer John Paterakis Sr.

Holton asked them to pay $12,500 for a poll during her 2007 re-election campaign, circumventing campaign finance regulations and exceeding the $4,000 cap on donations from individuals during an election cycle.

A related and more serious bribery charge, which was dismissed on the grounds that elected officeholders' official acts cannot be used as evidence against them and appealed by prosecutors to the state's highest court, remains before the Maryland Court of Appeals.

Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young stripped Holton of her role at the helm of the council's taxation and finance committee following her plea.

Last week, Holton traveled to Palm Springs for the National Association of Counties conference. The city spending board approved $1,100 for Holton's travel and expenses two days after her plea.

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The panel discussion starts at 6:30 in the Andrew White Student Center on Loyola's North Charles Street campus.

When asked yesterday whether she expected challenging questions from the audience, Holton said, "Come tomorrow and find out."

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