To avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, Mayor Martin O'Malley said, he has returned a $2,000 campaign contribution made by an owner of a strip club seeking to lease a city-owned building.
Rosalie Jackson, an owner and the mother of El Dorado Lounge manager Kenneth A. Jackson, gave $2,000 to O'Malley's mayoral campaign in August 1999.
O'Malley said he didn't know about the contribution until January, when an article in the City Journal, a New York-based magazine on urban affairs, reported it. O'Malley returned the $2,000 to Rosalie Jackson on Jan. 22, according to a copy of the refund check.
The Sun reported Thursday that O'Malley's campaign had received the money from Rosalie Jackson. The mayor's decision to return the contribution will not be listed in public campaign finance reports until November.
The city is evicting the Jacksons' club from 322 W. Baltimore St. to make room for a redevelopment project on the west side of downtown. City officials are negotiating with the Jacksons about possibly moving the club to a city-owned building at 19-21 S. Gay St.
"I gave it back because I knew he [Kenneth Jackson] had a very difficult business to relocate and I didn't want even the appearance of impropriety. I didn't want even the appearance of any favoritism," said O'Malley.
In August 1999, O'Malley returned a $1,000 check from the wife of landlord Stanley Rochkind before a community group could hold a protest at O'Malley's campaign headquarters to complain about Rochkind's properties.
In October 1999, O'Malley said he had returned about $30,000 raised by Little Italy community activist Gia Blattermann, who had political ties to former Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke.
In 1997, city Housing Commissioner Daniel P. Henson approved a $250,000 loan to a development company formed by Blattermann's mother. The deal raised questions because Blattermann's husband worked for Henson.