Rawlings-Blake reports receiving $1,600 in gifts in 2015

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Developers, business owners and others gave Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake more than $1,600 in gifts last year. All but one were flowers, plants or edible items.

Tom Cochran, director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, gave Rawlings-Blake a $350 watch — by far the most expensive present she reported receiving in 2015 — when she took over as president of the organization.


Rawlings-Blake detailed 26 gifts she said she received from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2015 on her annual financial disclosure form, filed April 29.

Frank Remesch, general manager of Royal Farms Arena, gave the mayor a cake worth $75 to celebrate her birthday on St. Patrick's Day.


Rawlings-Blake received other gifts for her birthday: a basket with an assortment of plants worth more than $45 from a local contractor and two cakes and fruit skewers worth $60 from the owners of Miss Shirley's Cafe.

She also received a $20 "Great Cookie" and $45 of chocolate-dripped fruit from Edible Arrangements.

Holidays were another time the mayor collected goodies. At Easter, she received a centerpiece floral arrangement from the Paterakis family. Developer John Paterakis Sr. is one of the city's biggest political donors.

Orchids were a popular choice among the gift-givers. Rawlings-Blake received a planter with orchids worth $90 last May and another one worth $75 in July.

The first was from the owners of Miss Shirley's Cafe and the second was from the pastor of New Life Evangelical Baptist Church.

Rawlings-Blake also reported receiving a $40 floral arrangement from Wes Moore, the best-selling author, educator and Army combat veteran.

Other gifts included a $50 box of pears from executive Kevin F. Kelly, a $50 tea set from financier J.P. Grant and whiskey samples from a local distiller (no price was included).

Spokesman Anthony McCarthy said Rawlings-Blake has spoken out against proposals in the past that would have benefited people who have given her gifts — all of which were disclosed on her ethics filings.


"Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has not, does not, and would not ever let any gift, no matter how small or large, affect her decision making," McCarthy said.


City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young reported about $1,300 in gifts on his 12-page report.

He received two tickets worth $1,000 to a Baltimore Symphony Orchestra gala, a $150 gift basket from H&S Bakery and a $65 "Peace Lily" plant from Dunbar High School.

He also reported two tickets worth $120 to an annual breakfast event.

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Most council members include little or no details on their reports.


Councilman James Kraft noted that he — like other members — was invited to and received tickets to various events, as well as cookies, cakes, candy, flowers and other gifts around the holidays. He did not provide a breakdown.

Online records showed no 2015 filings for retiring Councilman Robert Curran and Councilwoman Helen Holton.

City Comptroller Joan M. Pratt reported a $25 gift basket on her 2015 disclosure form.

Note: An earlier version of this story gave the wrong timeframe for a gift for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake from Frank Remesch, the owner of Royal Farms Arena. The gift was made in 2015, a year before the council considered tax breaks for the arena, which Rawlings-Blake opposed.