A Name Besmirched


I write on my own behalf, that of my business colleagues, and for my real-estate brokerage company, O'Conor, Piper & Flynn, to express indignation at the use of our name in the editorial cartoon of Sunday, April 2.

Governor Glendening is shown as a robot seated at a table, apparently offering cardboard boxes as housing under text that states that $1 a day for housing results from his proposed cuts to the Disability Assistance and Loan Program. The table has a bunting making play on the name of O'Conor, Piper & Flynn. the name used in Sunday's cartoon cannot be interpreted as any entity other than the real-estate firm of O'Conor, Piper & Flynn.

The gratuitous association of our company name with the cartoonist's political feelings is irresponsible, both professionally and morally. O'Conor, Piper & Flynn is not party to the budget process; we do not lobby, and we have not taken a public stance on Governor Glendening's construct of the state's budget.

The public, however, is led to believe we are party to what your cartoonist perceives will be the result of the political process and that we benefit from the proposed budget cuts to which your cartoonist objects. The political statement of the cartoon is not furthered by besmirching our company name and associating it with the perceived suffering by a needy segment of our society.

My business colleagues and I have spent our working lives as Realtors, real-estate brokers and salesmen. Our business reputations are what leads the public to use our services. It is wrong morally for your cartoonist to express his individual beliefs at our expense; it is wrong professionally to give the public misleading impressions. The license that newspaper writers, artists and editors enjoy was abused on this occasion.

The irony of the situation is that O'Conor, Piper & Flynn is and has been in the forefront of efforts to address racial problems in housing, housing for the homeless and affordable housing for our society. Our company has been awarded numerous citations for its continuing and long-standing efforts to achieve equal and affordable housing for all Americans.

Currently, as a major sponsor, we are working diligently on the House With A Heart campaign, which provides funds for the homeless. Much that O'Conor, Piper & Flynn does is not done for public recognition, yet our names are used in play, and to our embarrassment and detriment, to further your cartoonist's political statement.

My company and my colleagues are owed an apology.

James P. O'Conor is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of O'Conor, Piper & Flynn.

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