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Businessman featured in radio ad for Szeliga comes forward

In an Oct. 3, 2016 photo, Maryland Del. Kathy Szeliga, a Republican running for U.S. Senate, works in a garden at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreational Center in Baltimore. Szeliga, who has criticized the Donald Trump publicly, questions why her opponent, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, hasn’t been as quick to speak out against Hillary Clinton’s missteps. (AP Photo/
In an Oct. 3, 2016 photo, Maryland Del. Kathy Szeliga, a Republican running for U.S. Senate, works in a garden at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreational Center in Baltimore. Szeliga, who has criticized the Donald Trump publicly, questions why her opponent, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, hasn’t been as quick to speak out against Hillary Clinton’s missteps. (AP Photo/ (Brian Witte / AP)

A businessman featured in a radio ad for GOP Senate candidate Kathy Szeliga who previously declined to be identified has come forward to argue the public should get involved to help community centers in Baltimore.

Baltimore concrete magnate Daniel Schuster was recorded in a radio ad noting Szeliga's involvement in the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center in West Baltimore. The ad was paid for by a super PAC called Move Maryland Forward, which a company owned by Schuster has helped to fund.

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At the time the ad ran, a spokesman for Move Maryland Forward said the narrator of the ad wished to remain anonymous.

Other Republicans, including Gov. Larry Hogan, have taken an interest in the community center. Szeliga has said she got involved after the city, which owns the property, threatened to shut it down because the operator lacked insurance.

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Szeliga said she called a friend in the construction business to help fix the place up, but said the business owner did not want to be identified.

Schuster sent a letter to The Baltimore Sun this week ending the mystery -- and making a case for Szeliga and public involvement.

"I have supported Kathy Szeliga because she connected me with people in our city who are doing good work and need help," the letter read. "I have tried numerous times to encourage elected officials to promote cooperation between lower income and higher income citizens.

"There are hundreds of very small community centers in Baltimore City. They are staffed with people who know the problems and for the most part know the solutions," he wrote.

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"The men and women who are involved in these care giving centers need help. Supporting these centers is the best way for the general public to be a positive force in this effort."

Schuster, who has given to both Democratic and Republican candidates, was a major financial backer of Republican Rep. Andy Harris of Baltimore County in his successful 2010 campaign.

Federal Election Commission records show an Owings Mills company called Heist Property LLC made a $100,000 contribution to Move Maryland Forward in early October. Schuster told The Baltimore Sun he owns that company. Another $100,000 came from Mary T. Gould, wife of the former ambassador and businessman Kingdon Gould.

"I'm a Maryland voter," Schuster says in the radio ad. "Kathy came to me and asked if my company could assist an organization in Baltimore City... Kathy seems to understand that leadership is more important than politics."

Szeliga is running against Rep. Chris Van Hollen for the seat that will be left open by retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski.

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