Frederick County Commissioner David Gray is under scrutiny from other commissioners over ties to a county land-use nonprofit that has filed numerous lawsuits against the county.

Commissioners President Blaine Young sent Gray and other county officials an email Wednesday morning stating that Gray Enterprises was the documented tax preparer that handled the 2011 tax filings for Friends of Frederick County, a land-use and cultural preservation nonprofit that has been in near-constant litigation with the county over land-use issues in recent years.

When reached by phone Wednesday night, Gray said his wife, Sharon, owns the business, and that she prepares Friends of Frederick County’s tax documents without pay.

“I don’t get involved in that. I separate myself from those things,” Gray said. “My wife is free to volunteer for them. As far as I know, she’s never received any compensation.”

According to documents in the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation’s database of business entity filings, Sharon Gray signed a renewal application for a trade name filing for Gray Enterprises in 2011 and identified herself as the business owner. David Gray signed a similar form in 2007.

Sharon Gray said she’s filed taxes for Friends of Frederick County for several years and has never charged them, noting that she does pro bono work for nonprofits.

“I don’t discuss county business with them,” she said. “People are free to do what they want. (Preparing taxes for Friends of Frederick County) has nothing to do with who they sue.”

Young said that if Gray Enterprises prepared tax documents for Friends of Frederick County, David Gray could be violating the county’s ethics ordinance.

“He’s not the sole interpreter of that,” said Gray, regarding Young’s claim of a conflict of interest.

In Frederick County’s Code of Ordinances regarding ethics, under “employment and financial interest restrictions,” the ordinance states that a county official may not “hold any other employment relationship that would impair the impartiality or independence of judgment of the official or employee” unless permitted by the commission when the interest is disclosed and the employment does not create an appearance of conflict.

John Mathias, a county attorney, said he learned of the connection Wednesday after receiving Young’s email. Mathias declined to comment on whether it is a conflict of interest.

“Other than knowing David has done some tax work in the past, I know nothing about the ins and outs of his tax business,” he said. “Right now, these are just questions. Maybe it is his company, but I am not in a position to comment on that right now.”

Janice Wiles, executive director of Friends of Frederick County, confirmed that the nonprofit used Gray Enterprises for tax preparation but said the commissioner himself was not involved in financial talks.

“David Gray doesn’t have anything to do with the finances of Friends of Frederick County,” Wiles said. “Several people work for Gray Enterprises. I never talked to him about anything with finances. We work with the company but don’t deal with him individually.”

Young said Gray should abstain from participating in any county commission operations involving the land-use nonprofit.

“I saw the 2011 filings of that organization, and I was just blown away,” Young said. “This is an organization that’s stalling Frederick County. They’re appealing everything we do. They’ve cost us tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.”

Commissioner Billy Shreve said county commissioners should make county issues their priority and not be affiliated with organizations that are in litigation with the county.

“How do you allow someone who is potentially being paid by this group to represent the best interests of the citizens of this county?” Shreve said. “If he came to me for advice on this, I’d tell him to go out and get a good lawyer.”

Follow Daniel J. Gross on Twitter: @danieljgross.

(80) comments


“They’re appealing everything we do. They’ve cost us tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.”

Somewhere between 10's and 100's. I wonder if that's how the incinerator cost is read.


Moe Young implying that someone else may be of questionable ethics is like a whoremonger claiming his prostitutes are dancers.


Shhhhh, you don't see the proposed incinerator, health concerns and COST!!....Nothing to see here. Running for Governor...did that distract you. Look at David Gray....Walking walking....


Is it a conflict of interest for the wife of Commissioner David Gray to do tax preparation work for Friends of Frederick County?

No 81.8%


Blaine's state filing has the following list of contributors that donated more than$4,000 a piece. As well as who is behind each LLC. Maybe Blaine should be recusing himself from all development talks.

B.C. Partners Inc., of Clarksburg: Resident agent is William pheasants Jr. The address is the same as Pleasants Construction started by W Pheasants Sr.

Baltimore Industrial Partners Inc., of Baltimore commercial real estate

Beckley’s Enterprises Inc., of Thurmont RV center

C&D Recovery LLC, of Clarksburg: recycling center, affiliate of Pleasants Construction .

Cedar Ridge FFB LLC, of Damascus: see

Core Development Group Inc., of Clarksburg : Developer

Courtland Farms Loudoun LLC, of Reston, Va.

Cronridge Investors LLC, of Baltimore: Resident agent: Edward A St John, Chairman St John property

Damascus Hills FFB LLC, of Damascus see

James Dameron, of Eastsound, Wash. a Gaithersburg lawyer

Forest Landing Communities LLC, of Gaithersburg Developer, Resident agent Tom Natelli

Henry Forster, of Clarksburg VP of Core development above

Frey Agricultural Properties Inc., of Mount Airy developer

Holly Frey, of Mount Airy same developer as right above as well as Holly land partnership below.

Highland Manor FFB LLC, of Gaithersburg see

Next three have same address / same resident agent
Keyser-Harbor 2 LLC, of Cockeysville
Keyser Harbor LLC, of Cockeysville
Keyser Harbor WTC LLC, of Cockeysville

Lasalle Limited Partnership, of Baltimore Real Estate Developer

Laytonsville Communities LLC, of Gaithersburg Delevoper, Resident agent Tom Natelli

Loudoun Kline LLC, of Bethesda Real Estate Development

Loveton Investors LLC, of Baltimore Developer

Magrock Entertainment LLC, of Gaithersburg Not found in Md state dept of taxation registry

Owings MIll III LLC, of Baltimore: Resident agent LAWRENCE F. MAYKRANTZ President St John’s Property, Real estate Develpoment

Red Mill Pond Holdings LLC, of Gaithersburg: Delevoper, Resident agent Tom Natelli

Reline America Inc., of Clarksburg: Resident agent is William pheasants Jr. the address is the same as Pleasants construction started by w Pheasants sr

Richard F. Kline Inc., of Frederick: THE ENTITY HAS BEEN FORFEITED BY THE COMPTROLLER ON 10-01-2012

Ritchie Land Reclamation LLC, of Clarksburg: Resident agent is Eric Newquist who is VP at Pleasants

Riverbend Waterfowl LLC, of McLean, Va. Not found in Md state dept of taxation registry

Riverside Technology Park LLC, of Baltimore: Resident agent Is David Severn a
Frederick land use lawyer

Seneca Springs FFB LLC, of Gaithersburg: see
Seneca Springs II FFB LLC, of Damascus: see

Silo Land Company LLC, of Frederick; Not found in Md state dept of taxation registry

Ann Smith, of Oakton, Va.

Douglas Smith, of Oakton, Va.: Douglas and Gordon Smith are part of Miller and Smith a development co from Va that built The orchard in New Market.
Gordon Smith, of Potomac

Stanley Grain & Fertilizer LLC, of Damascus: see

Kathy Stanley, of Damascus

The Holly Land Partnership, of Mount Airy Frall developers

Universal LLP, of Baltimore Not found in Md state dept of taxation registry

Willard Automotive Management LLC, of Frederick: Same address as Willard

Delmarva agri service and Willard chemical

D.J. Willard Jr., of Frederick: President of Willard's Delmarva Agri Service, Inc

Woodfield Knolls FFB LLC, of Damascus: see

Yankee Hill Associates, of Frederick: Resident agent is Joseph Welty a Frederick lawyer from Miles and Stockbridge.


So since Blaine considers what David did unethical and I am still not sure EXACTLY how David acted unethically, then Blaine must KNOW that contributing to Hayden Duke's campaign fund is UNETHICAL....and the fact the Hayden accepted the money is unethical as well.

So I wonder how much money did Blaine contribute to Hayden Duke's campaign fund?



Hayden Dukes is running for Frederick City Alderman. Why is a donation to his campaign a conflict of interest for a Frederick County Commission?


Yes you are correct Watson. Hayden WAS on the Ethics Commission the ethics commission that was hand picked by the BoCC, Hayden never ever once found that the BoCC had acted unethical, the BoCC, well some of them did profit from Hayden's decisions, like Kirby. The BoCC should not be giving money to Hayden Duke's campaign and if they have Hayden should not accept it because the BoCC profited from his decisions. Kirby can bid for city work as well and make money so if Hayden is elected to Alderman will he be more likely to make decisions that will profit Kirby and Blaine's business's?


The candidates have to make 2013 Campaign Finance Reports.

1st Report Due by noon on Monday, August 12, 2013
...................All transactions from opening of account or last report through August 8, 2013

2nd Report Due by noon on Monday, October 7, 2013
...................All transactions from August 9, 2013 through October 3, 2013

3rd Report Due by noon on Tuesday, October 29, 2013
...................All transactions from October 4, 2013 through October 25, 2013

4th Report Due by close of business on Thursday, December 5,2013
...................All transactions from October 26, 2013 through December 1, 2013



Sec. 21-4. - Conflicts of interest.


View the City of Frederick Charter and Code


Thank you Mr. Sherlock..I Love you, don't know you but I love you...LOL

I really do appreciate all of your research you do for the various topics I see you posting on... again many thanks. Trust me I keep my "eye" on things.

I figured they did, wasn't sure about Aldermen. I will be watching for those campaign finance reports...should be very interesting.


Scary that the only way Blaine can build himself up is to try and tear someone else down...reference : Anyone remember the teenage basketball referee ???...Doing the same thing over again is the sign of insanity...Me


Is anyone actually stupid enough to believe FREE tax preparation by a family member compares to any of the questionable activity seen by other BoCC members that leads directly to personal PROFIT?


Nope not me...Hayden Duke's decisions did lead to personal profits for SOME members of the BoCC and those profits when directly into Hayden's campaign doubt. You know Blaine and since WE know Blaine you know he did exactly that.[whistling]


Girlpollok - get used to gray, he's about to be the County's first county executive.


Is Gray resigning soon , gee we hope so.He is the rotten apple.


If he is a rotten apple then by now the whole barrel is rotten.


I once voted for David Gray when he ran for the first time about a million years ago. That was the first and last time. I only realized my mistake after he reached the board.

I realize my mistake every day now.


"Commissioner Billy Shreve said county commissioners should make county issues their priority and not be affiliated with organizations that are in litigation with the county." Well, now that is funny. Brunswick, Thurmont, Middletown, Frederick City, and the Crum LLC all sued the county and cost the county thousands in fees, yet the BOCC continues to do business with them. In addition, Kirby himself sued the Town of Thurmont, if I remember correctly. This is an example of "do as I say, not as I do". Seems like people aren't falling for it.


Since there is reasonable certainty that Blaine has been at his desk all day hitting the "refresh" button to read these posts, let me take the opportunity to say:

Please, please, please, please, please, PUH-LEEZE, do not run for governor of Maryland. Please do not be so arrogant as to think the past won't matter and that the stories run by the Baltimore Sun, New York Times and other outlets won't matter. PLEASE consider a lesson my Grandma taught me: "What we have chosen to do in the past is the largest determinant of what we get to do in the future."

You must know you will be eaten alive, and we, the citizens of Frederick, will suffer for it. And if by some miracle you should win, I will have the leave the state where I was born and raised and I'm just not up for it.

Thank you.


Young never intended to run for Governor, his publicizing a run for Governor was nothing more than a cover up for his real intention and that is to run for County Executive. He couldn't very well advertise that he was interested in the Executive position because first he had to hand pick a committee to write the new charter and then he had to wait until it was approved. Now that there will, in fact, be a County Executive he can announce his candidacy whenever he likes. Of course while all of this was going on he was making more and more enemies among the voters so now I suspect he's playing a waiting game to see if he should even attempt to run. He knows he has absolutely NO chance to win the Gubernatorial race, and hopefully he's beginning to see he has absolutely NO chance of winning the County Executive position either.


Or for County Executive; or for anything else. You've done enough damage to this County.


Here's the smoking gun: "...Gray Enterprises was the documented tax preparer that handled the 2011 tax filings for Friends of Frederick County..." The 2011 tax filings were for the business year 2010. During 2010 the Friends of Frederick County filed one case in Frederick County Circuit Court, Case No. 10C10002294, against defendants Frederick City, Crum Farm Land Development LLC, Crum Farm Commercial Development LLC, and COPT Frederick LLC. So even if we could stretch the ethical duty to Mr. Gray's wife to avoid conflicts of interests, the Friends of Frederick County filed no cases against Frederick County in 2010.


The biggest problem we have here is that the Commissioners do not understand what constitutes a conflict of interest. On May 17, 2013, the Frederick County Ethics Commission issued its opinion in the case of of an unknowned county commissioner. Seriously the name of the commissioner isn't even given in the opinion. Read it for yourself. You have to cross reference the complaint to find out who the complaint was against.



In the Commission Opinion of May 17, 2012, it states:

The Commissioner has pointed to guidelines for conflict of interest interpretations that the Ethics Commission published in March 1987. In those guidelines, the Ethics Commission found that it was unrealistic for the Commission to follow an ultra-conservative approach to interpretation of the Ethics Ordinance’s conflict of interest provisions, recognizing that public officials will often have business ties with others in the community.

This seems to be the part of the code the commisioners seek to make hay with.
(E) Contents of statement.
(1) Interests in real property.
(2) Interests in corporations and partnerships.
(3) Interests in business entities doing business with the County.
(4) Gifts.
(5) Employment with or interests in entities doing business with the County.
(a) A statement filed under this section shall include a schedule of all offices, directorships, and salaried employment by the individual or member of the immediate family of the individual held at any time during the reporting period with entities doing business with the County.
(b) For each position reported under this paragraph, the schedule shall include:
(i) The name and address of the principal office of the business entity;
(ii) The title and nature of the office, directorship, or salaried employment held and the date it commenced; and
(iii) The name of each County division or agency with which the entity is involved.
(6) Indebtedness to entities doing business with the County.
(8) Sources of earned income.



(a) A statement filed under this section shall include a schedule of all offices, directorships, and salaried employment by the individual or member of the immediate family of the individual held at any time during the reporting period with entities doing business with the County. See above for citation.

Since Mrs. Gray held no office, no directorship, and received no salary I'm having trouble seeing where's the beef? Only Sleeping Beauty can spin hay into gold.


Sherlock... I am disappointed with this last comment you made. You always make the impression that you are a factoid and back up your statements with proof or links. You are slipping, Sleeping Beauty was not the young lady who spun hay into gold. It was the daughter of rumpelstiltskin. Let's get with the program Watson. [cool]


Watson made that mistake. I'll let Sherlock know.


Gary's wife is free to do business with whomever she chooses. This is a free country.

Grays wife is not an elected official. Her name is not on any filings as running for office.

FOF is free to hire anyone they want.

Blaine Young and whomever pointed this out to Blaine (Jill?) are FULL of theirselves.

End of story


Moe Young implying that someone else may be of questionable ethics is like a whoremonger claiming his prostitutes are dancers.


I've been acquainted with David Gray for more than two decades. He is one of the most ethical men I've ever known.

Meanwhile, Blaine Young is signing 30+ year secret sweetheart deals with developers that can't be undone by future elected officials LOOTING Frederick County taxpayers for generations to come.

Remember, Blaine Young signs County contracts for Kirby Delauter's business, while Paul Smith and Billy Shreve approve all of it.

It is the worst kind of disgusting hypocrisy for Blaine Young and his cronies to accuse a man of David Gray's integrity of doing anything wrong, other than try to stop Young from stealing from the taxpayers.


two pots calling the kettle black, how absurd is this


Wow. Such hypocrisy and such rush to judgement. I sure hope nothing happens to Blaine before he gets right with his Creator, or he's going to have some 'splaining to do. Things aren't always as they appear. Are they, Blaine? Because out of the same mouth you use to accuse Commissioner Gray publicly, you denied your own scandal -- and if memory serves, you were incredulous that anyone would have the audacity to believe that pack of lies. Remember? I do.

For what it's worth, Sharon Gray has done our business taxes for years and we have never (ever) had any indication whatsoever that her husband had anything at all do with any tax preparations. While this really proves nothing, at least we can say that we never felt that he was involved in the day to day business.

It would be really great if Blaine would learn some people skills and back off of this most arrogant of attitudes. It makes him quite unlikable.


If the tables were turned and the wife of Blaine Young had prepared the taxes for a real estate developer group, the same old people on here who bash Blaine every day would be standing with an ax on the steps at Winchester Hall. Isn't it funny how the table can turn? David's wife doing taxes for a group of idiots who are constantly suing David's employer Frederick County sounds unethical to me. What is really sad is the fact that David has his wife doing his dirty business.


Please explain how your statement is "a fact".


At least his wife has a job


This is a veiled attempt to restate the argument. Bait & Switch.

Developers getting paid $$s by new homeowners and to make more of our county into an urban metropolis. As this newbie's argument goes, the developers are paying a Commissioner's spouse to prepare complicate and multi-level tax forms. And again, as this argument pursues its point: won't the Commissioner be influenced by his spouse's income?

Lets get real here. Restating the argument is an old political dirty trick. Commissioner Gray's spouse prepared a simple tax form for a nonprofit whom represents existing homeowners. She did it for FREE.

Let me be the first to welcome you to Frederick County, tho. I hope you enjoy it here. Fresh air, low population, good schools. Three things that Blaime Young is doing his best to change...


Now how about we take a look at who donated for Young's campaign....


Another "tempus in a teapot". At least it gives both sides some fodder for their vitriol.


Don't you mean tempest in a teapot? Or is this a variation on a Jim Croce song?


You are correct my friend, thanks for the correction.[beam]


Witch hunt against Gray. Pure and simple.


Given Blaine's logic, one might think he shouldn't have been voting on the Fire Tax issue or talking about it on his show, while accepting Roscoe Bartlett's Volunteer Firemen advertising grant funding or in-kind services for privately run 'Gear up' on behalf of Frederick County. He also advertised for Roscoe's campaign on both the cabs and his self named radio show. Just sayin.....


I'm upset that Ba'Lane hired tobin for a pretend job. Paying $80k per year. Waste.

I'm upset that Ba'Lane mailed out rebate checks and spent around $100k in postage, checks, printer ink, paper, and administrative fees.


Me too!


I'm not sure; are we supposed to be upset that Gray's wife did the returns for free or that she might have collected a fee? I'm upset that Blaine said he has had the county pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to fight FOF, rather than apply smart growth principles.

Comment deleted.

What are you hiding, president? Answer the question. Has Blaine Young ever accepted a fare from Janice Wiles. Has anyone who has ever had dealings with the County Government patronized his business?


"Young said that....David Gray could be violating the county’s ethics ordinance." Yeah, right. Like Young knows anything about ethics.


Bravo dbjanda1! Truly no more than an attempt to tarnish David Gray in an effort to bolster Blaine's desire for County Executive. Shreve's comments don't even deserve mention as they are as ludicrous as he. How petty to go after a man because his wife volunteers services to a non-profit.

Maybe David Gray deserves a radio show as well so he can further his agenda. Then he can have moondog, flipper, and all the other characters call in for him. What a disgrace.


Is it just me, or does it seem to everyone else that this term of BoCC's has been dragging on and on and on and on and on? #cannotwaittillthefab4isgone




Giving free service to an anti Blaine (FRIENDS) are not real frends of Frederick .


Someone please get a comment from Kirby


Are you looking for a comment unparalleled in its chutzpah?


If you guys are saying we should keep the fab four in office just for their entertainment value,... No, I didn't need time to answer that.


Time to start looking at Yellow Cabs rider logs and the Real Estate Teams customer list.


What I want to know is Has the Yellow Cab ever given Janice Wiles a cab ride?


There are no rules preventing the commissioners spouses from conducting business as usual. Thus, whether or not FOF paid for what is irrelevant.

On the bottom of the tax return(s) is a line that requires the tax preparers signature. Who's signature does the at returns bear?

Ba'Lane Young. The master of finding loopholes. Too funny! He (young) still will never win the county executive seat. Gray could drop over dead tomorrow and young still hasn't a chance. Majority of voters furious with Young.


Blaine has committed political gaffes
and so many have given us laughs.
But none more so than this:
a slap on Gray's wrist
who does taxes for his better half.


armillary: I sit in awe of your genius. I see a Pulitzer Prize in your future, "Political Commentary, Limerick Format." Your body of work is simply magnificent.


Thank you!


Blaming the free market BoCC for attempting to make money is asinine.


Commissioner Gray should fully disclose.


Disclose what?


This snippet from the Gazette on Jan 24 2013 is far more troubling

"Young (R) defends his financial support from the building community, saying it backed him when he ran for county commissioner in 2010 and for alderman for the city of Frederick. Young served as alderman from 1997 to 2001.

“I’ve always had contributions from the development community,” he said. “It’s no secret. I’m very pro-business, and pro-property rights.”

We're dancing to the tune of $446,951 just last year alone. Which is the ethics violation here? Pro Bono donations, or $446,951 payout into an account dwindling away through a repainted Winnebago that nobody has seen for two years?


At least Blaine found a 'fee' that he does like...Maybe they should change the signs to 'Open for Business and Shut Your Mouth'...Me


It's not a coincidence that David Gray announced his intention to run for county executive and this is propagated by the person he'll potentially run against...Blaine's using his official position as a political weapon against a potential opponent...Remember this day when Blaine announces to run for county executive...He can answer now or answer later the significance of this possible 'ethics violation'...Me


Mburns---Who's worse for Frederick county to impose fees on Friends of Frederick or illegal aliens ???...I'll wait...Me


Blaime Young first excises county funding of non-profits, stating that well-heeled citizens should donate in their own interests. Now he's going after someone whose spouse is donating time to a non-profit. Even if this was done in BoCC Gray's own interest, it's called "Free Speech" in the truest sense of the word.

Time to start picketing in front of Winchester Hall, folks!!!


Wow... No matter who you are, this does not look good. It, at a minimum should have been disclosed by Commissioner Gray to the entire BOCC and the public.


Just stick to your failing Ghost Town. [beam]


Rather than continue to make a fool of yourself by claiming Thurmont to be a "Ghost Town," I suggest you drive through the town and see just how many businesses are open and doing well. If you're adult enough to do so, that is.


Be serious Montgomery.


Could not have said it any better, Marty!


The Fab Four getting their revenge on Mr. Gray. What sleaze balls.


That is so true. One of the techniques of a bully is to deflect attention away from themselves - classic example here.


Blaine Young not only defended Kirby Delauter for acting on behalf of Drees Homes, he has voted on multiple issues affecting this IMA Customer Drees paying young an approximate $7000,00 per month

Even Worse:


Excellent work, Alovelyplace and recommended for all to read. This exposes the deal between Young and Drees homes, by which Drees escapes a responsibility to the community--providing moderately priced dwelling units for those who will LIVE AND WORK HERE... Thus, Young continues to sell his prime "asset"--his government office--to his owners in the developer industry. He picks up $7,000/month for his advertising business from Drees homes and has the nerve to go after Commissioner Gray who receives nothing from Friends of Frederick County. Chutzpah (with a silent "c", for Michelle Bachmann's edification).


Yesterday's WFMD Audio of Blaine Young accusing and 'exposing' this ethical conflict of interest of Gray Enterprises. You Tube:


Are you sure you didn't violate copyright law by recording this?

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