Mark Uncapher, is serving as President of the Montgomery County Republican Club. Mark is a long-time party activist who previously served as the Chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Central Committee.
Wes Moore End Runs State Senate Over Rejected Nominee
Governor Names Maria Martinez to Key State Procurement Job
In an apparent end-run around Maryland’s State Senate, which rejected Yolanda ‘Maria” Martinez’s nomination earlier this year, Governor Wes Moore has appointed her as the Special Secretary of Small, Minority, and Women Business Affairs. Unlike the Maryland Stadium Authority board position she was previously nominated for, no Senate confirmation is needed for her new position. Martinez will be paid a $150,000 salary and be a point person for the Governor’s efforts to use state procurement spending to promote his equity agenda.[i]
Earlier this year, the Maryland Senate Executive Nominations Committee chose not to advance Martinez as a Maryland Stadium Authority board member after reports surfaced regarding her past legal and financial issues, including personal bankruptcy and lawsuits waged against her for unpaid debts.[ii] As reported by Maryland Matters, legislators were concerned about Martinez’s 2019 bankruptcy, when she owed $6.2 million, and the 64 lawsuits or liens for unpaid debts filed against her over the past 35 years.[iii]
Among the stranger aspects of the Maryland Matters report are the criminal charges that were filed against Martinez after she, her husband, and “5-6 men in ski masks” cleaned out a business of its inventory. Days later, a Baltimore County District Court judge ordered that all of it be returned. Criminal charges against Martinez were dropped, and she eventually settled with her partner, who bought out her stake in their business. [iv]
Maryland Matters also reported that she’s been a generous Democratic donor, contributing nearly $150,000, including $6,000 to Governor Moore’s campaign. During the Senate’s consideration, Hispanic leader Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA and president of CASA in Action, told reporters he wanted her on the nine-member board of the powerful Stadium Authority because it oversees hundreds of millions of dollars in state construction contracts.[v]
Yet despite the lobbying campaign, Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) commented: “I think that at the end of the day, the Stadium Authority is a fiduciary of state resources. And so I think … we have to make sure that there’s a full level of confidence in the financial acumen of the appointees.”[vi]
During the Hogan Administration, the Governor’s Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs (GOSBA) carefully tracked its performance metrics in dealing with the public:
- “All GOSBA staff participate in outreach and business development events, whether hosted in-house or by others, including 115 events and reaching 19,375 businesses…
- “GOSBA also publishes a monthly newsletter, the Small Biz Bulletin. The quick read format has proven to be very popular among 26,000 subscribers and consistently achieves a 35% open rate and an average 54% engagement rate.
- GOSBA receives a high volume of calls for 1-on-1 technical assistance that require lengthy conversations with business owners. The office has performance targets to respond to customer inquiries within 24 hours; in most cases, they are handled on the same day.”[vii]
In contrast, Maria Martinez’s medical supply business racked up a terrible record on social media before going bankrupt. Of 21 customer reviews on Yelp, every single one was the lowest possible.
Among her customers’ comments:
- “During a frustrating point, I asked to speak to her supervisor. She stated he wasn’t there and that because of my request to speak to him, she now wasn’t going to deliver my scooter until tomorrow. All day, I left messages for the owner (Maria) to call me, but she hasn’t. The employees in this company are completely brain dead. Call another company instead!!!”
- “Worst customer service from any business I have ever dealt with. They act like they do not want customers. Can’t believe they are still in business. Actively looking for a new supply company. Steer clear of this operation.
- “We got a invoice notification from Tri-care about a month ago for something we never received!! This company is fraudulent and I will be looking for a replacement provider immediately!!! I do not recommend this company so spare yourself the headache and just stay away!!!
Special Secretary Martinez will need to improve her customer relations skills, mend fences with the General Assembly and demonstrate that she is a trustworthy steward of public resources.