Bruchey ally meets with city officials on purchase of property

July 02, 1997


Staff Writer

Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II's campaign treasurer met with Bruchey and City Council members behind closed doors on Tuesday night to discuss buying three city-owned buildings, officials said.

John P. McElroy, who works for J. & J. Financial Enterprises, said he wanted to talk to city officials on behalf of clients who are interested in opening businesses in the city.

McElroy and Bruchey said they didn't think the request was a conflict of interest.

"I have no vote," Bruckey said. "It doesn't matter. It's not up to me."

McElroy agreed.

"It's not a decision that Bob Bruchey is going to make. We haven't asked Bob for any help or influence," McElroy said.


Whether the businesses come to Hagerstown does not hinge on the clients getting the city-owned buildings, McElroy said. If council members aren't interested, he will look at privately-owned buildings, he said.

The buildings McElroy said he was interested in were the Baldwin House and Grand Piano warehouse in the first block of West Washington Street and the old Tristate Electrical Supply Co. Inc. building at 38 S. Potomac St.

McElroy would not specify what types of businesses he was representing in the matter. J. & J. Financial handles a range of financial services for nonprofit groups as well as commercial interests, he said.

Neither Bruchey or McElroy brought up their election relationship during the closed session, said council members William M. Breichner and Lewis C. Metzner after the meeting.

Bruchey didn't participate in the discussion of McElroy's proposal, they said.

Under state code, the meeting legally could be held behind closed doors because it concerned a proposal for a business or industrial organization to locate, expand or remain in the state.

Metzner said he didn't see a conflict of interest and said McElroy's political relationship with Bruchey wouldn't prevent him from doing business with the city.

Breichner said McElroy will have to be treated like any other entrepreneur who wants to acquire city buildings for development.

City officials might have to advertise for development proposals for the Tristate building so everyone has a shot at it, Breichner said.

A group of local business people are interested in renovating the Baldwin House for a project that also could include the Grand Piano warehouse, he said.

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