Saturday, May 27, 2006

Tom Perez says tainted Duncan aide 'led negotiations'

County Council member Tom Perez (pictured), who in 2003 opposed the lease of Montgomery Hills Junior High School to a private school of corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff, tells the Washington Post that Doug Duncan's campaign aide "led negotiations on behalf of the county."

The Duncan campaign operative, Jerry Pasternak, was a Montgomery County official at the time. According to the Post, a board member of Abramoff's Yeshiva school said "that Pasternak also 'was probably' the person who solicited him for contributions to Duncan's campaign account."

Pasternak declined to give the Post his side of the story.

Duncan's gubernatorial campaign issued a statement instead in Pasternak's name: "At no time during our discussions about Yeshiva, did I ask [the Yeshiva board member] for campaign contributions." In the campaign statement, Pasternak acknowledged that he was "involved in the project," but that county attorneys handled the leases.

Perez is running for state attorney general.