Don’t miss Trey Mancini and Joey Rickard guest bartend at the first Brews & O’s event June 10th. Get your tickets today!

Hogan faces choice on real estate business

There is a $2 billion question floating around Larry Hogan's new role as governor-elect.

What will he do with his business?

The newly elected governor is the founder and CEO of The Hogan Cos. in Annapolis, a real-estate company that has engaged in $2 billion real estate transactions since its inception in 1985.

The company buys, sells and develops land — like the aptly-named Governor's Reserve in Davidsonville. The Hogan Cos. sold the project to Koch Homes, which is building houses on 1- to 6-acre lots.

Hogan said the development wasn't named for his campaign bid, but at least it didn't jinx his victory. He calls his company a small-business, even with its big successes, as it only has about dozen or so employees.

"We mostly do brokerage and projects ... we are a real-estate services company, we help a lot of different companies do different things," Hogan said while campaigning in Bowie before the election. "Gary Koch ... he actually came up with the name because it is on Governor's Bridge Road I guess, and it is a small enclave."

While Hogan was campaigning his way to an upset win over Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, his brother Tim Hogan has been running the company. The company's largest current project is a 51-townhouse development planned at 7836 Telegraph Road.

But now that Hogan has been elected, the state's ethics laws kick in and the governor-elect could be faced with a decision to remove himself from business.

Although the law is complicated it boils down to this: an elected official must not participate in business or have financial interests that do business with that official's office.

As a real estate developer, Hogan's company would most often deal with local government agencies such as planning and zoning offices. But it also could deal with state agencies that do everything from issue business licenses or wetland permits, which means his business would interact with state offices and officials appointed by Hogan.

Since the election, neither Hogan nor his transition team have responded to requests for comment on his plans.

The governor-elect said during the first of his Thank-You tour stops Tuesday in St. Mary's County he would not talk about policy until after he is inaugurated next year.

"I'm going to be governor on Jan. 21, and we'll start talking about policy then," Hogan told The Baltimore Sun. "In the meantime, we're going to put our transition team together."

It's also not clear what limited liability companies are owned by The Hogan Cos. The campaign declined to release a list of names the firm does business under.

Setting up these corporations limits the financial risk involved in a project and is a common practice in real estate development.

Former Maryland Secretary of State John Willis, now the executive in residence at the University of Baltimore's School of Public and International Affairs, said it isn't unusual for a newly elected governor to put off announcements on financial or business interests. The ethics law lays out the rules and the transition team determines the best course of action.

"It is the kind of choice you have to make when you run for public office," Willis said. "That is one reason why you have a transition because it takes a couple of months to figure those things out."

Michael Lord, executive director of the Maryland State Ethics Commission, said his office won't disclose whether Hogan has asked for guidance. But he said as a public figure moves up the political ladder, the more likely it is his or her financial interests interact with that office.

"We have to look at these on a case by case basis," Lord said.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
70°