Md. Comptroller Berates Wico. Executive, Claims 'Economic Sabot - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Md. Comptroller Berates Wicomico Co. Executive, Claims 'Economic Sabotage' of National Folk Festival

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Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver (Photo: WBOC) Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver (Photo: WBOC)

SALISBURY, Md.- The Maryland Comptroller's Office is claiming Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver attempted "economic sabotage" to the National Folk Festival a mere two weeks before it was to take place.

It began with an Aug. 27 letter that Culver, a Republican, sent to Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller. In the letter, Culver said his appointed local Board of License Commissioners were not consulted at all about beer and wine licenses for the folk festival, and claimed what the comptroller of Maryland did was illegal. 

But in a five-page letter to Culver dated Sept. 13, Len Foxwell, a Democrat and the Maryland comptroller's chief of staff, said the comptroller's office was not made aware of Culver's "surreptitious" letter to Miller. Foxwell said the idea of those licenses being illegal is simply not true.

"If you will indulge my personal observation, I would suggest that, rather than engaging in mock outrage that the comptroller acted without the blessing of your political cronies, you should be personally embarrassed that we needed to be called in the first place," Foxwell wrote Culver.

Foxwell added, "At no point have I seen a chief executive of a local government conduct official business in such an unprofessional manner."

Foxwell also made note of the letter's timing, shortly before 150,000 people came to Salisbury for the National Folk Festival, which was held Sept. 6-8.

"To send a letter of this nature less than two weeks before the festival, with the willingness and intent to severely disrupt what so many people had worked so hard to build, is nothing less than a gesture of economic sabotage against those very people who have trusted in your leadership," Foxwell wrote. 

However, Culver said this was not about the National Folk Festival. He said that instead, it was about being fair to all alcohol licenses.

"What's to stop any other place from letting people walk around outside with alcohol?" Culver told WBOC. "What Peter Franchot did was issue a festival license for what are supposed to be nonprofit Maryland beer and wine festivals. This was not that."

Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Bill Chambers was copied on Foxwell's letter. Chambers said actions like this tend to bring negative attention to a growing Salisbury economy. In a statement to WBOC, Chambers said, "We need to move forward as a community when it comes to the growth of business in Salisbury, not stifle it."

Culver told WBOC he will speak publicly on Monday about this conflict, adding there is much more to his story. 

Editor's note: The first letter below is Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver's letter to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller. The second letter is Maryland Comptroller's Office Chief of Staff's Len Foxwell's letter to Culver.

 

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