Frederick's "black book," the voluminous collection of records seized by police from a prostitution ring four years ago, now has a sequel. And it has stirred an already-combative Democratic primary race for mayor.
In a two-minute speech Wednesday evening at the county Democratic Party's annual picnic, Mayor Jennifer P. Dougherty said that not everyone had "come clean" about their role in the controversy.
Pressed afterward if she was referring to her opponent in the Sept. 13 primary, former mayor Ronald Young, Dougherty replied: "Ask him."
Young's name does not appear in the documents made public, but he was mentioned briefly in a videotaped police interview with an alleged prostitute in 2000, he acknowledged yesterday. The name of his son, Blaine Young, then a city alderman, appeared on an index card kept by the madam, Angelika Potter. Both father and son say they had no involvement with the prostitution ring.
Ronald Young accused Dougherty of a "low blow."
"She's desperate, and her personality is coming out," Young said. "You can't disagree with her. She attacks and gets nasty."
Dougherty said she was merely defending herself against Young's accusation that she has been too quick to use taxpayer money to litigate issues in court. "He wants to talk about lawsuits. He doesn't want to talk about the cases," she said. "I think our leaders should be of high moral character."
She told the crowd of about 100 party members that "the biggest boondoggle" involved $125,000 the city spent on a lawsuit filed by the Frederick News-Post, the Associated Press and a resident who were seeking to make the contents of the black book public. A court eventually ruled that the city had to turn over the documents, and for several weeks, City Hall became a titillating reading room.
In her speech, Dougherty noted that she had been mentioned in its contents solely because Potter had eaten in her restaurant. Then she said others who were named in the documents needed to "come clean," and she questioned the media for not identifying every prominent person named in the records.
Dougherty, who became mayor four years ago, had made the black book the centerpiece of her campaign against then-Mayor James S. Grimes. She depicted Grimes as part of a good-old-boy network trying to cover up public officials' involvement with prostitutes.
Young served four terms as mayor but was voted out of office in 1989. His name -- along with those of Grimes and Chris Rolle, brother of Frederick County State's Attorney Scott L. Rolle -- came up toward the end of an hour-long police interview with Sherry Lynn Nolan, an alleged prostitute. In the interview, Nolan provided no firsthand evidence of their involvement but described how Potter had boasted that she would identify them if she were ever raided.
Nolan, who said during the interview that she was a drug addict and whose lengthy criminal record includes a 1994 prostitution charge and convictions for writing bad checks, was not charged during the investigation of the prostitution ring. Potter pleaded guilty to running a "bawdy house." Maryland's state prosecutor reported finding no evidence of blackmail or a coverup in the case.