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Remember that aborted land deal, the one where Gov. Bob Ehrlich's administration tried to sell state parkland in St. Mary's County to a well-connected contractor? Or how about the failed attempt to see a patch of University of Maryland land on the Eastern Shore turned into a golf course and senior community?

Democratic lawmakers haven't forgotten. And this afternoon, when they reviewed yet another proposed sale of university land, they raised questions anew.

The matter at hand was the proposed sale by the University System of Maryland of a Georgian-style mansion it owns on 20 acres in Cecil County overlooking the Susquehanna River.

Del. Peter Franchot (D-Montgomery) said he was unnerved to hear an attorney representing the family that donated the Donaldson Brown estate testify that University Regent Richard Hug was involved in the deal. Hug oversees fundraising for Ehrlich's reelection.

In the past, Hug has been a vocal advocate of the university's efforts to sell its property, including the failed attempt to line up the sale of Horn Point, 840 acres of university-owned land on the Eastern Shore.

"Any time public land gets sold to private developers, for some reason Dick Hug is at the bottom of it," Franchot said. "You wonder why Dick Hug is on the board of regents. Is it to help the state universities or to do land deals?"

Hug said yesterday that Franchot's comments "aren't worth a response."

Matt Mosk

By Phyllis Jordan  |  February 1, 2006; 6:31 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly  
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