Maryland's Dominant Cable Provider Has Strong Connections

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Kendel S. Ehrlich , executive producer, 2004-present.

Wife of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) was hired in 2004 to produce and host an on-demand series called "Live Right: Straight Talk on Substance Abuse." She had previously worked as a lawyer and education liaison for Comcast, starting when her husband was in Congress. Her husband's financial disclosure form does not say how much she is paid.

At issue: Comcast does business with an array of state agencies and departments, according to the governor's ethics filings. Although it has not done so in Maryland, Comcast has asked regulators and lawmakers in other states to block efforts by Verizon to encroach on the cable television market.

David H. Nevins , president Comcast SportsNet, 2001-04.

Now chairman of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, Nevins had a public relations contract with Comcast before joining the university board in 1999. He went to the sports network in 2001. The cable provider remains a client of his public relations firm.

Leronia A. Josey , regional director of government and community relations 2000-02.

Josey was hired by Comcast a year after she was named to the Board of Regents. She remains a consultant to the company but is no longer a regent.

At issue: In 2000, Comcast was awarded a 10-year contract to provide cable service to U-Md. student residences. The company also agreed to pay $20 million for naming rights to the school's basketball arena and $5 million for advertising rights to the floor.

Eric M. Bromwell, acquisitions project manager, 2000-present.

Son of then-Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell, Eric Bromwell was hired at Comcast in late 2000, a few weeks before his brother Thomas Jr. joined the payroll. Thomas Bromwell worked at Comcast for 18 months; Eric, who was elected a state delegate in 2002, remains with the company.

At issue: Senator Bromwell wrote a bill in 2000 that guaranteed cable providers, of which Comcast was the state's largest, millions in future revenue.

Wayne K. Curry , consultant, 2003-present.

The former county executive of Prince George's was first retained by Comcast in February 2003, three months after he left his government job.

At issue: Comcast risked losing its monopoly in 2001 when rival Starpower Communications was seeking a franchise in the county. Curry's administration negotiated an agreement with Starpower, and the County Council approved it. Starpower dropped its bid after Curry's administration belatedly insisted the company pay an additional $400,000.

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