Curry said he’s continuing what he started as county executive: trying to improve the image of a county that was most recently shamed last fall when then-County Executive Jack B. Johnson and his wife were arrested in an alleged corruption scheme.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity to elevate Prince George’s County, just like we did with the [Redskins stadium] and National Harbor,” Curry said.
But some are quietly grumbling about whether Curry’s relationship with Baker contributed to his equity interest in a deal that is expected to bring millions of square feet of office and retail space and thousands of homes to 39 acres of
public property near the New Carrollton Metro station
. Others wonder whether his influence with the Baker administration will also line his pockets.
Baker’s administration has heard the questions.
“If Wayne Curry is a recipient or part of the project in any way, we congratulate him, but we had nothing to do with Wayne Curry being selected or any party being selected for the project,” Baker spokeswoman Angela Wright said in a recent interview.
When Curry left public office in 2002 after two terms as county executive, he returned to the private sector, joining William H. Murphy Jr. and Associates, a Baltimore-based law firm. He was on the outs with Johnson, who was not a political ally. Now several of his former aides are in key government jobs. Glenda Wilson, who was Curry’s chief of staff, holds the same job for Baker. Curry said that’s irrelevant.
“This wasn’t politics,” Curry said. “Nobody has more public-private experience than me.”
Curry entered politics after a long history as a businessman, land-use attorney and political aide. Before he entered office, he was part of a development team that built the subdivision where he now lives.
The decision by Curry to return to the company where he worked while attending the University of Maryland’s law school at night has taken few by surprise.
“Michael [Cos.] has always been a strong force in the county; adding Wayne can only increase that,” said Joel Rozner, a lobbyist in Annapolis and a former people’s zoning counsel for the county.
Curry said his discussions with the Michael Cos. and involvement in the New Carrollton project preceded his work with Baker’s transition team.
A source told The Washington Post last month that Metro and Maryland officials selected a team led by Forest City Washington and Urban Atlantic to develop the project. It was unknown at the time that Curry’s company, Scientia Enterprises, and the Michael Cos. were part of the team.