Baltimore City Paper

Wandering Eye: Neverdon loses bid to get back on ballot, fear of the Black Guerrilla Family, pop-ups in the BBJ, and more

Baltimore State’s Attorney candidate Russell Neverdon suffered another setback yesterday when a judge ruled that he had not collected enough signatures to get on the November ballot. As The Sun reports, Circuit Court Judge Martin P. Welch found that the city Board of Elections had used an “appropriate standard” in throwing out more than 1,300 of the signatures Neverdon’s people collected because of missing dates and other technical errors, such as signing the name differently than it appears in the original voter registration. Neverdon has pledged to appeal the ruling and run as a write-in candidate. (Edward Ericson Jr.)

The massive federal racketeering indictment against the Black Guerrilla Family (BGF) prison gang in Maryland is scheduled for a two-month trial beginning Nov. 17—should, that is, any of the remaining defendants still protest their innocence at the point—and prosecutor Robert Harding is gearing up to bring evidence before a jury. Seating one, though, is going to be challenge, due to media coverage tainting the impartiality of many potential jurors. U.S. District Court judge Ellen Hollander has raised the prospect of an expanded juror questionnaire, to help weed out those so tainted, but Harding disagrees.

The BGF "has made itself notorious outside the prisons of Maryland by committing numerous and varied violent crimes," Harding argues in a recent filing, and "potential jurors may well be fearful of service in such a case," so expanded questionnaires may "heighten such fears" when jurors "rightly assume that the information they provide in answering the questionnaires may become public." He adds that "the government has had considerable experience with the fear of the BGF in the general public," recalling that a judge "took the unusual step of excusing two grand jurors from service in the grand jury investigating the present case because of their fear" of the gang. Harding suggests calling a very large pool of potential jurors who have filled out the standard questionnaire and probing in open court whether any "have been influenced by pretrial publicity." (Van Smith)


Friday is the last day that Dylan's Oyster Cellar, Mount Vernon's subterranean purveyor of bivalves, is open. It's hoping to re-open in Hampden sometime this winter. But this isn't some disastrous closing—it was in its business plan all along. Dylan's operated in the Hatch, an "incubator" operated by Phil Han, the owner of Dooby's, around the corner. Back in 2013, when he opened the Hatch, Han told City Paper, "What's cool about Baltimore more than the other cities is that we don't have that bougie-ness that D.C. does. We're more supportive of each other. We're unpretentious. And we're more accepting of crazy ideas. Not enough crazy ideas are getting out into the marketplace because its so frickin' expensive and time-consuming to do it."

Last week, erstwhile CP staff editor Jenn Ladd wrote a super-long story about such pop-ups in the Baltimore Business Journal, where she sneaked the CP-ish word "erstwhile" into her first paragraph. But Ladd goes beyond the Hatch and  looks at the economics of all sorts of pop-ups from the Dinner Lab to Make Tribe—"a workshop-centric pop-up series" that teaches you to cut up dead animals into nice edible chunks or curdle their milk into delicious solid substances. Jessica D'Argenio Waller, who runs Make Tribe, calls it "an exceptional experience."


We're obviously a bit biased and hope to see Ladd do well, but this story is a nice change of pace for the BBJ, pushing them toward relevance outside of the city's boardrooms. (Baynard Woods)

Remember Alan Fabian? Surely, top dogs in the national and Maryland GOP do, since he was a major fundraiser in the 2000s, when he served as finance chair of Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele's 2006 U.S. Senate bid and as Mitt Romney's national finance co-chair in his 2008 run for U.S. president. Now Fabian is finishing out a federal prison term after his 2008 guilty plea on fraud charges, due for release two days before the 2016 presidential election. In the meantime, he's fighting his conviction, saying that prosecutors themselves committed fraud by telling the court that the banks backing Fabian's fraud scheme were federally insured at the time of the crime, when in fact they weren't­—which, if true, would mean no federal crime had been committed, he says.

Fabian was a huge embarrassment to the Republican power structure when he was convicted, but whether he ends up embarrassing the Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office in Maryland remains to be seen. Yesterday, the prosecutor on the case, Martin Clarke, asked for an extension to his Sept. 15 deadline to respond to Fabian's claims. (Van Smith)