Just two weeks before the city’s election, Aberdeen is proving once again that when it comes to politics, no tactic is off-limits.
A police report filed earlier this summer against a notable local figure has come to light in what may be an effort to turn a dubious allegation into a political hit.
According to the report, former State Senator and Harford County Councilman Art Helton was not charged earlier this year after a 32-year-old woman who rented one of his properties accused him of harassment.
It’s curious that the report comes to light now, months after authorities dropped their investigation, but just ahead of another tight city election.
Helton dismissed the accusations, which were levied in a police report made public last week, claiming the woman “was either mentally irate or on something.” He said the woman and one of her co-workers admitted to him that the accusations were made in an effort to embarrass and defame him after their landlord-tenant relationship went sour.
The authorities seem to agree.
Five days after the woman walked into the Aberdeen police station and lodged her complaint, the Harford County State’s Attorney’s Office had ruled that “there were no grounds to file criminal charges” and the Aberdeen Police Department had closed the case.
Helton said there had been problems with the tenant before, including a drunken brawl within her business that was broken up only when police showed up wielding mace. The woman also allegedly stripped Helton’s property of its sink, cabinets, washer, dryer and other appliances before she moved out about two weeks ago – the subject of a separate police report that Helton has filed against her.
Much more interesting than the non-charges against Helton is the timing of the release of the police report bearing her accusations. The authorities canned their brief investigation months ago, but in an Aberdeen election, nothing stays buried.
“It’s sort of strange that my ‘political friends’ were doing something with this,” Helton said in his office last weekend.
Since the argument in late July that he claims led the woman to make her accusations, Helton has been hearing rumors: rumors about the alleged harassment, rumors about the timing of the report and condition of its release, and rumors about how or why his tenant might have filed the report.
Helton declined to name names, but said he’s certain previous political enemies aren’t beyond “encouraging” someone to tell a story to police.
The Aberdeen Police Department cleared the report on August 14, yet it took a flurry of Public Information Act requests from numerous interested parties before the report was finally released to the public last week. Aberdeen police referred requests for the document to the City Clerk and City Attorney.
Helton claims he’s not much of a public figure anymore, but the former senator is a major player in Aberdeen politics and beyond. Also, until quite recently he had serious aspirations to regain his place in the state senate.
Since his 2002 loss to Nancy Jacobs, Helton has mostly been content to sit back and support other candidates, including his wife Ann, in their political endeavors. But recently he had been on a spirited campaign for the District 34 senate seat, keeping supporters updated on Facebook and Twitter, creating a website in some stage of construction, and plastering his truck with dozens of “Helton For Senate” campaign signs.
Then Helton abruptly dropped out of the race on September 4. His detractors, comprised largely of has-beens and hangers-on displaced when the last administration was voted out of City Hall, immediately linked the August police report to the decision. But Helton said there was a much more simple and serious reason for his withdrawal from the campaign.
While cleaning up at his church in late August, Helton said he fell down a flight of stairs, split a door with his head and ended up in the hospital for several days. His head was OK, but tests indicated he had an irregular heartbeat.
Helton said he was scared and put health and family ahead of politics when he dropped out of the campaign.
But the end of his own campaign didn’t keep Helton out of politics. On September 2, Helton participated in a controversial New Harford Democratic Club meeting during which incumbent Mayor Mike Bennett was narrowly endorsed over challenger Mike Hiob. Helton has also remained a key figure in the campaigns of Bennett and several city council candidates.
Today, with his health apparently again under control, Helton said he will likely decide by the first of the year whether to attempt another comeback.
“I care and I know I can make a difference,” he said. “Maybe I won’t get that chance.”
Helton hinted that his decision to continue pursuit of the senate seat may depend on how his “political friends” decide to use this latest bit of ammunition against him, and how well he will be able to retaliate. Helton said he is prepared to seek legal counsel and react accordingly, depending on how his detractors strike.
Meanwhile, those detractors are salivating behind the scenes, waiting to spring when the complaint is made public, but unwilling to make it public themselves.
It could only be a matter of time – this is Aberdeen, after all, and we’re entering the most raucous time of the year – the countdown until Election Day.
Over the last few years, the height of the local election season in Aberdeen has given birth to a variety of campaign shenanigans small and large, hilarious and horrendous. Here are a few of the Greatest Hits:
March of the Redshirts:
A group opposed to local development, whose members live largely on the fringe, or in some cases, even outside city limits, unified their cause in 2006, donned similarly-hued shirts, and started raising hell at City Council meetings. Through a series of often contentious public meetings, the Redshirts were able to gain traction and enough petition signatures to take the Wetlands annexation to referendum during a special city election.
Save the Wetlands:
In a last-minute ploy to inaccurately inform the electorate into complete confusion, the Wetlands annexation team unveiled its Save the Wetlands campaign. “Save the Wetlands” didn’t mean protecting areas of vulnerable natural resource areas from development. It literally meant “Save the Wetlands Golf Course,” and came with alarmist pronouncements from the golf course owners that without approval of the annexation plan—which at the time included a provision to maintain the golf course—the land would still be developed, but the golf course would not be saved.
Just before a December 2006 special municipal election regarding annexation of the Wetlands, a flyer was circulated reading “Don’t Be Fooled By the Wetlands Developers” and “A vote for annexation will doom The Wetlands.” More importantly, the flyer included the phrase “Instead of preserving the land, annexation could result in up to 7,800 townhouses.” The Wetlands annexation was ultimately defeated, but that claim would resurface nearly a year and another election later.
Political opponents learned 2007 mayoral candidate Mike Bennett had a dark secret in his past involving the theft and fraudulent use of questions to a Maryland State Police exam. Rather than immediately breaking this news for the public good, Bennett’s detractors planned to ambush him with it during the FOP Candidate’s Night forum. The plan was cut off at the pass when The Dagger interviewed Bennett prior to the forum and he came clean with the full story. Even with the story out in the open, it took an 11th-hour truce for the slate of Helton-supported candidates to agree to participate in the forum.
A grassroots campaign successfully invalidated the candidacy of Helton’s handpicked 2007 city council candidate Steve Johnson. This was accomplished when Johnson, who apparently lives in both Aberdeen and Perryman, dropped his legal opposition to the Board of Elections nixing of his candidacy. But his decision may have been fueled in part by a suspicious mailer sent by a suspiciously named group with the same mailing address as another pro-Johnson citizens group. The letter was purportedly mailed by an entity calling itself Concerned Citizens For a Fair Aberdeen Election, and asked for Helton, Johnson and Johnson’s wife, Julie, to be taken off the city voter rolls. The back of the letter contained a petition for citizens to fill out and mail to city elections judge regarding the rights of the trio to participate in Aberdeen elections. Most mysteriously, however, the flyer used the address for another prominent citizens group, Aberdeen Communities Together, which had been supporting Johnson’s candidacy from the beginning.
A week after Johnson’s candidacy crumbled, a cartoon caricature was circulated illustrating the alleged relationship between Helton (puppet master) and his candidates Bennett, Johnson and incumbent councilwoman Ruth Elliott (the be-stringed puppets). Under the title “Art Helton Properties,” the anonymously distributed artwork helped cement Helton’s image as the one pulling the strings behind the scenes. Perhaps proud that his reputation finally made its way onto an artist’s canvas, Helton still has a copy of the caricature, now two years old, hanging from a bulletin board in his office.
The $15 Million Halloween Suit:
Eleven months after the special election in which the Wetlands annexation was soundly defeated by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, its proponents struck again. Still smarting from the loss and hoping to repay the favor to one of its main opponents, the Wetlands annexation group filed a $15 million defamation suit against Helton, his wife, and the New Harford Democratic Club over their anti-annexation flyer (“Save Aberdeen,” above).
The suit alleged the flyer was purposefully misleading because the annexation agreement would have maintained the golf course for 20 years and that the 7,800-unit figure was ridiculously high because it was apparently calculated using the greatest possible density on the total site acreage.
Why did the Wetlands annexation team sit on the libel suit for 11 months, only to unleash it just five days before Aberdeen’s 2007 election? Officially, it had to do with a one-year statute of limitations on the charge. Unofficially, it had everything to do with payback and the now-classic Aberdeen last-minute campaign twist.
Can’t figure out why Art Helton feels that he some entitlement to stick his nose in Aberdeen politics. I guess we now have to look at Art Helton as a nice guy and we should feel sorry for him? NOT!
Jerry T says
First, nicely written Dag.
Second, so Art claims the female in question admitted the claim was made up and allegedly removes property from his property. Something isn’t adding up. Just not sure what all this equals.
Lastly, more controversy surrounding our Mayor.
Magik Columbine says
I know someone who was a tenant of Helton. An attractive girl (coincidentally??). She never told me of any harassment, but said he’s a total ****** (he and his wife)
vietnam vet says
I’am not sure when Art Helton, became a fixture in Aberdeen I suppose when he bought the Western Auto store in Aberdeen.He owned one in Haver De Grace.
He’s ”Picky”about his property. of which he has a right to be.I’am sure if you were to rent from Steve Johnson. you would find the same thing.
Magik Columbine says
I agree – as long as you’re not doing anything illegal, you’re free to do anything you please. It’s the public’s responsibility to discern whether what he does in his personal life would spill into public life.
Don’t know him, so I can’t say for sure.
Who cares what he does,to me debating this accomplishes nothing.The Senator is probably in enough trouble at home what said on here is not going to make a diffrence one way or the other!
We are all aware of who is running the city and the current Mayor is fine with the relationship between himself and Senator Helton and nothing we say or present will change that,they are actually very similar in charecter perhaps that is the common bond!
Magik Columbine says
Well, I don’t live in Aberdeen, so I don’t care. But if I did, I certainly WOULD care. It always amuses me that people who are FOR an office-holder who has personal issues say that it doesn’t matter what they do in their personal life. Of course it does. It goes directly to their character, which is very important as to what they do in office. Don’t kid yourself.
Cmon,whats the big deal politicians are always involved with stuff like this i fail to see why these two should be held to a higher standard for goodness sake its Aberdeen after all!Lets face it it is acceptable to the rest of the county officials i mean these two negotiated the water deal and the others i am sure knew i heard about it in August so i can only assume Mayor Bennett knew in fact i was told by someone at APD that they were told not to let any of this out to the public!
So as i see it,this is completly acceptable to Mayor Bennett so why should you or anyone else care it is the 21st century.
Report#2009-29861 from APD word for word
On 07/29/09 @ approximatley 17:30 hours, Miss [redacted] with a date of Birth of 2/23/1977 came into the lobby of the Aberdeen Police Department and wanted to speak to a officer about a situation that she was involved in. Contact was made with Miss [redacted] by writer Cpl. Larry D. Wade of the Aberdeen Police Department. Miss [redacted] stated to the writer that she is being Harassed by Mr. Art Helton. The writer the asked Miss [redacted] how she was beening harrassed. She statedthat Mr. Helton and herself has a sexual relation that only included oral sex from January until March of 2009, at this time Miss [redacted] advised Mr. Helton that she no longer wanted to have oral sex with him. Mr. [redacted] stated that at this time Mr. Helton started to call her cell phone and harrass her about having oral sex with him, and coming to her place of business. Miss [redacted] stated that she was present when Mr. Helton stated to Miss [redacted] that he would not harrass her anymore. Miss [redacted] went on to state that on different occasion after Mr. Helton stated thathe would stop harrassing her, he would make contact with her and grab her breat and state to her that he knew that she wanted some of this big white ****. Ms [redacted] continued to have sexual relations with Mr. Helton after March. Miss [redacted] and Miss [redacted] stated the Mr. Helton gave Miss [redacted] 6,400.00 dollars to go and get another building, because he did want her in his building anylonger. The writer did ask if Miss [redacted] owed any money for rent. Miss [redacted] stated that she was behind two months in rent, and that Mr. Helton wanted sex in exchange for the back rent. Miss [redacted] stated that Mr. Helton had made a sexual comment to another one of her employees. Ms [redacted] will contact Det Cpl Dubiel on 07/30/09 for further investigation.
That is the complaint in full that is public information. Read into it yourself and make your own decisions.
Question has his answer!!!!!!
It is amazing how often ‘strict constitutionalists’ take the parts of the constitution they do not like (for instance, innocent until proven guilty by a court with a jury of their peers after due process) and throw it out the window.
Court of Public Opinion. It was okay for the NAACP to find guilt in the actions of Aberdeen Police Officers before any official investigation was started. Once the investigation was done and did not go in their favor, the little display at the council meeting was put together.
If Mr. Helton is just the innocent victim of outrageous and slanderous accusations then he can (and should) by all means sue the pants of Miss Victim and Miss Witness. That has not happened. Court of Public Opinion verdict, where there is smoke there is fire. Kind of reminds me of Bill Clinton…..I did not have sex with that woman.
Notwithstanding, I am no fan of Art Helton on a political front, I do give credit to him for developing some trashed properties. I do not believe that he should have carte blanch in the City of Aberdeen and most certainly should not have the power that he has with our elected officials.
Bottom line, this election should be about the residents and for the residents. The police report and allegation are not a part of the election, true, but it has stepped up to this because Art can’t stay out of Aberdeen politics. If Art left Mike Bennett alone and he fell flat on his face then so be it, as it stands now I think (as a voter) that Mike Bennett failed as a mayor even with Art’s help. Two years ago I said it, and stand by it today, a vote for Mike Bennett was and is a vote for Art Helton. Is it ugly, yes, is it a distraction from the real points, yes, but does Art bring some of this on himself, yes I think so.
Just out of curiosity, are there any office-holders that identify themselves as a Democrat that you feel have not failed in their offices? For some reason with a name like Rwinger, I would not expect you to find Bennett acceptable, despite the things he has done for our town (culminating in a water agreement that neither Hiob nor Simmons could pull off).
I vote for Del Dan Riley (D), I vote for Mike Hiob (D), when I played hockey in leagues and college I was not a defensemen (D), not the goalie (G), not the center (C), not the leftwinger (LWinger), I played right wing (RWinger).
By the way, Proud, it’s the 6th amendment to the water agreement, not a new water agreement but the 6th amendment to a standing water agreement to be followed by a 7th if Aberdeen doesn’t get it’s act together. And since we are on a fact finding mission just how long did the 6th amendment sit on the desk of Mike Bennett and why in all that is holy was Art Helton at the signing?
There you go running your mouth hiding like a terrorist waiting in the wings. Let your face be shown, or I will assume that everything you say is just a guess or opinion, opinion I might ass that would question your mental stability. Since when does democrat and republican have anything to do with this election. You just stated the only damn thing Bennett has done in 2 years, something that like I stated before could have been done much earlier, he just timed it around the election hurting Aberdeen residents even more. By the way, that is were I give Art some credit, he did the water deal, not Bennett. He doesn’t have the knowledge or negotiating skills get it done, thats way nothing hasn’t gotten done in this City for 2 years. Remember the things built in this City during his time are all Simmons and Wilsn projects, he Bennett has no projects on the books that he brought to the table. By the way Hiob had several water solutions long before this deal, the Mayor just ignored them, not to mention, Hiob isn’t Mayor and when he is, you will see great increase in projects around the City. Are you also saying that Ruth Elliott and Ruth Ann Young Couldn’t get the deals done also? Can’t just insult one council person without lumping them all together. They must be your friends, so you will lay all the blame on one person instead of a very incapable group that just couldn’t get along. You are a wimp and have a terrible perception of the truth. I can’t figure out how you made it through life this far with out a leash to guide you. He also had no problem proposing a $17,000 raise for himself and cutting the Boys and Girls Clubs funding by almost 70%. At least we put enough pressure on him were that didn’t happen. He treated the board of the Boys and Girls Club like shit, and if that gives you any shadow of real motive, I don’t know what would. Last I checked Mike Hiob was a Democrat, so I don’t know what your problem is with him. You must be financially gaining something from Bennett being Mayor, so I’m going to call you crooked, and maybe is far as going as calling you a thief to the Aberdeen taxpayers.
PD,whats amazing is the statement you just made i can remember not to long ago you were part of a group that wanted to throw a person in jail before any type of due process.What has changed,i think the public would like to know,no nevermind,nobody cares.
I have to say…this is just precious. If there was any evidance Helton would have been charged. The phone records would have proven that. Not his…hers. This is better than listening to birthers.
Go Dagger !
is the aberdeen election so prized that opponents are reduced to attacking people who aren’t even running in the race???
I understand that mr helton might be some sort of “puppet master” but having back room puppetmasters is politix 101. No one successful in politics is ever their own dog, no matter what level they’re at.
I’m glad you wrote this, but its somewhat shameful to see all this controversy.
First off, ‘Question,’ thank you for so beautifully illustrating my point about Helton’s detractors.
Second, there are some very good reasons why you shouldn’t be so cavalier about tossing around the name of the victim of alleged sexual harrassment.
Third, and most importantly, that is NOT the report in full. You conveniently left out the most important part. The part where the Harford County State’s Attorney’s Office ruled there “were no grounds to file criminal charges” and where the Aberdeen Police Department added two very important words – “Case Closed.”
When she took the money from Helton, consentually, I might add, she became a prostitue and Art became the customer. And your right, I did forgot to put in there the case was closed, and I also didn’t put in there that all the insiders in this City know that this is business as usual for him. These things have been going on for years, and he bullied everyone into keeping there mouth shut. I imagine that $6400 and free rent had alot to do with CASE CLOSED.
He took adgantage of a weaker person, and that is the bottom line.
Are you out of your mind?
If you were to make such statements in an open public forum, versus an anonymous internet forum there would likely be grounds for libel or slander against you for making what appear to be unfounded claims and assertions to the underlying facts of what may or may not have happened.
I don’t want this to sound like I am defending anyone here, but If i knew who you were in real life, I could file an equally viscous report against you, regardless of there being any factual basis to the claims.
First of all Art has made himself a public figure and in the court of law public figures and celebrities fall under different case law and that case law is precident under “Times vs. Sullivan” that governs that public figures can not sue for in this case is libel, the written portion of this law. There are no unfound claims or underlying facts, this is an actual police report that is public knowledge. The report can be interputed as an editorial in any way possible that is within reasonable circumstances of the event. Thats what I’m ding here. I think neither you or I would ever put ourselves in this position to ever have to worry about it. The statements were never refuted in the report from Mr. Helton, so we have to assume that the $6400.00 was a payment to not move forward with an investigation.
Mr Helton is not a public official so that case law does not apply. Making oneself a public figure is different than a public official. The same case law applies to him as you and me.
George Robinson says
Times v. Sullivan does apply as Mr. Helter has stated that he is running for office and has held office in the past. Just because a public official is not in office now does not take himself out of the parameters held in Times v. Sullivan. Do you not think George Bush or Bob Ehrlich are public figures now that they are out of politics?
George Robinson says
One need not be a public official to be a public figure. Apologies fort butchering Mr. Helton’s name in my earlier post.
I’d like you to clarify something for me if you don’t mind. Is this an opinion piece, a news piece or an editorial? Thanks.
Comment #3 in the actual olice report filed with APD.
Actually I was asking Brian if this was an opinion piece, a news piece or an editorial. Thanks.
How did you view it, PTB?
Wouldn’t it be proper for the the renter (victim) to be inertiewed for this story?
From Justice Brennan who delivered the opinion of the Supreme Court in NY Times v Sullivan (with Justice Black and Justice Douglas)
“Because of the importance of the constitutional issues involved, we granted the separate petitions for certiorari of the individual petitioners and of the Times. 371 U.S. 946. We reverse the judgment. We hold that the rule of law applied by the Alabama courts is constitutionally deficient for failure to provide the safeguards for freedom of speech and of the press that are required by the First and Fourteenth Amendments in a libel action brought by a public official against critics of his official conduct.[note 4] We  further hold that, under the proper safeguards, the evidence presented in this case is constitutionally insufficient to support the judgment for respondent. ”
The case law specifies “PUBLIC OFFICIAL” not public figure and it also specifies “OFFICAL CONDUCT”. This would only apply to Mr Helton for his official conduct when he WAS a public official. Not as a land lord/developer.
Sorry, forgot the reference:
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
376 U.S. 254
Argued January 6, 1964
Decided March 9, 1964
* Together with No. 40, Abernathy v. Sullivan, also on certiorari to the same court, argued January 7, 1964.
George Robinson says
I suggest you re-read.
New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964), was a United States Supreme Court case which established the actual malice standard which has to be met before press reports about public officials or public figures[Emphasis Added] can be considered to be defamation and libel; and hence allowed free reporting of the civil rights campaigns in the southern United States. It is one of the key decisions supporting the freedom of the press. The actual malice standard requires that the plaintiff in a defamation or libel case prove that the publisher of the statement in question knew that the statement was false or acted in reckless disregard of its truth or falsity. Because of the extremely high burden of proof on the plaintiff, and the difficulty in proving essentially what is inside a person’s head, such cases—when they involve public figures—rarely prevail.
The respondent, an elected official in Montgomery, Alabama, brought suit in a state court alleging that he had been libeled by an advertisement in corporate petitioner’s newspaper, the text of which appeared over the names of the four individual petitioners and many others. The advertisement included statements, some of which were false, about police action allegedly directed against students who participated in a civil rights demonstration and against a leader of the civil rights movement; respondent claimed the statements referred to him because his duties included supervision of the police department. The trial judge instructed the jury that such statements were “libelous per se,” legal injury being implied without proof of actual damages, and that, for the purpose of compensatory damages, malice was presumed, so that such damages could be awarded against petitioners if the statements were found to have been published by them and to have related to respondent. As to punitive damages, the judge instructed that mere negligence was not evidence of actual malice, and would not justify an award of punitive damages; he refused to instruct that actual intent to harm or recklessness had to be found before punitive damages could be awarded, or that a verdict for respondent should differentiate between compensatory and punitive damages. The jury found for respondent, and the State Supreme Court affirmed.
Held: A State cannot, under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, award damages to a public official for defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless he proves “actual malice”–that the statement was made with knowledge of its falsity or with reckless disregard of whether it was true or false. Pp. 265-292.
(a) Application by state courts of a rule of law, whether statutory or not, to award a judgment in a civil action, is “state action” under the Fourteenth Amendment. P. 265.
(b) Expression does not lose constitutional protection to which it would otherwise be entitled because it appears in the form of a paid advertisement. Pp. 265-266. 
(c) Factual error, content defamatory of official reputation, or both, are insufficient to warrant an award of damages for false statements unless “actual malice”–knowledge that statements are false or in reckless disregard of the truth–is alleged and proved. Pp. 279-283.
(d) State court judgment entered upon a general verdict which does not differentiate between punitive damages, as to which, under state law, actual malice must be proved, and general damages, as to which it is “presumed,” precludes any determination as to the basis of the verdict, and requires reversal, where presumption of malice is inconsistent with federal constitutional requirements. P. 284.
(e) The evidence was constitutionally insufficient to support the judgment for respondent, since it failed to support a finding that the statements were made with actual malice or that they related to respondent. Pp. 285-292.
273 Ala. 656, 144 So.2d 25, reversed and remanded. 
There is ABSOLUTELY no mention of the “Public Figure” only “PUBLIC OFFICAL”
Porter G says
The concept of public figure was assinine in and of itself. How could you determine that Mr. Helton is a public figure? Because people in Harford County know him? Maryland? The US? Does the law change for him in Nevada? Just assinine.
Mr. Helton is a public official. Once a public offical, always a public official, or they all wouldn’t be getting free health insurance for the rest of there life.
George Robinson says
Not only have I studied the case, I have litigated on its behalf. I can assure you that public official and public figure are synonymous as the Courts are concerned.
George Robinson says
You are speaking of the facts in the case. I am speaking of the holding i.e. the decision…i.e. the law that resulted from the facts of the case.
George Robinson says
It’s a US Supreme Court Case… so that does make it the law of all of our states. Whether you find it assnine or not is of little relevance.
Anyone who has litigated cases under 376 U.S. 254 would know the difference between public official and public figure. The case law is specific and Justice Brennan left absolutely no question that the decision regards a PUBLIC OFFICIAL and their official conduct. Now the definition of public official is any person holding a legislative, executive, administrative or judicial office, whether appointed or elected; any other person who performs a public function or provides a public service; any other person defined as a public official in the domestic law.
Mr Helton, although a former Public Official, is just an average citizen now like you and me.
George Robinson says
Under Times v. Sullivan Brittany Spears is a public figure.
George Robinson says
Thank you for the spirited debate. Gotta get back to work.
It is refreshing to debate a subject based on interpretation of the fact and without the threats and name calling that is usually prevalent on this blog. Have a pleasant day Mr. Robinson and I look forward to reading your future posts.
John S says
For Hooter, I have read the comments here and think there is a fact that everyone is missing – When Mr. Helton goes out and discusses issues or is running Mr. Bennett’s campaign he introduces himself as SENATOR Helton.
Does that make him a public figure? Don’t ever believe he could be considered an average citizen. I don’t believe the average citizen, even in our current social setting would do the things that Mr. Helton has done over the years. Talk to people that have been close or worked for him.
George Robinson says
Sorry to jump back in….but Hooter to understand the law that emerged from the rule in Times v. Sullivan you should also take a look at Curtis Publishing v. Butts 87 S. Ct. 1975, 1967 where the Supreme Court held that public figures as well as public officials are protected by the same malic standards set forth in Times v. Sullivan. In this instance the public figure was a college athletic director accused of fixing a football game.
The holding by CJ Warren held that The New York Times standard applies to defamation actions by “public figures” as well as those by “public officials.” Pp. 162-165.
Delegate Dan Riley says
Interesting reading. Shows the “new politics” of forget the issues and attack your opponent(s) through character assassination. If you have nothing on your opponent, make up something. Mislead the public with deceptive mailers and posters. And some wonder about voter apathy.
To hear the issues addressed it is to the voters of Aberdeen’s benefit to attend the forum on the 28th of this month at the American Legion at 7:00pm.
Dan: Art Helton isn’t running for any office in Aberdeen so he is not an opponent of anyone, unless you agree that Art Helton is running for mayor as Mike Bennett’s handler.
By the way, I saw the Mike Bennett/ Mike Hiob scorecard over at Beards Hill today. Talk about misleading the public with deceptive claims.
This is one of the most even handed articals I’ve yet to see in the Dagger.
Go Dagger !
Dave Yensan says
I second Richie’s comment. It appears to be a restatement of several old facts and the addition of any new data. Brian, we may disagree on many fronts but never on the even handedness that you have shown on this blog. Thank you Brian and thank you old friend for pointing out what should have been obvious.
Just like with Bill Clinton, everyone is preoccupied with the details. Who cares about Art’s sex life! It is about his politics. He is a centrist idealist who is good for us.
St. Justin says
Lawerence, If your statement wasn’t so misleading AND funny, it would make me sick.
Who is “us” you *****? Art is good for one thing and that is Art. Guess a Senator tapping on the floor in the bathroom is nobodies business either. Bet you talked about that for days.
St. Justin says
The current “mayor” of Aberdeen has called Art Helton the “economic engine” of Aberdeen (I always thougth that title applied to A.P.G.!). Therefore….Art MUST be good for Aberdeen? The question is….will Art be good for Mike Bennett’s re-election, or will he hurt it? The fact is, Mike Bennett has hitched his wagon to “Senator Art” for his entire term. They meet in the mayor’s office on a regular basis, they sit together at events, they campaign together, they’ve even started attending various predominately African American membership worship services together in hopes of getting their members to vote for Mike Bennett. I believe that those congregations will see through their hollow and hypocritical attempt to lure voters toward Bennett. Also, Art is his Bennett’s campaign manager and biggest cheerleader, while Bennett is Art’s biggest fan! Hopefully the voters of Aberdeen will know the facts on election day and respond accordingly.
vietnam vet says
Well the fact the ”Mayor” know’s his ship, is sinking.it only stands to reason he would resort too desperate measures.
Mike Hiob for Mayor. Semper fi & Gary Owen
John S says
I finally got around to reading the Record today, what a bunch of hogwash. You would think that the current mayor did all of those things without anybody else, no council and no city staff. As far as the great strides he made with state and county political leaders that’s a real joke. Most of the local leaders attended Mike Hiob’s get together at the Clarion as well as some prominent state leaders. Where was the Record – must have been in it’s usual position, bent over with head inserted. Get real Record or are you in the pay of a well known past senator or perhaps the NHDC?
Am in total agreement with VN vet – MIKE HIOB for MAYOR. Semper fi & Gary Owen
Delegate Dan Riley says
This is why it is so very important, for citizens of Aberdeen, to attend the candidate forum at the American Legion, 7:00pm, October 28. There you can hear directly from the candidates their position on the issues and defend their records, not The Record.
I will be unable to attend the canidate’s forum. Will the Dagger post the questions/answers on line before the election?
Aaron Cahall says
We’ll have live streaming video of the event via this site, and a recording of it for later viewing along with a recap similar to the one we posted yesterday from Bel Air.
Jerry T says
Hooter: It will be streamed LIVE on Dagger Press.
Interesting note on Mr Helton, was seen with Peter Bosworth, one of the areas largest residential and business developers…he was with Bennett too putting campaign material in peoples mailboxes…ILLEGAL.
I found flyers stuck in my door jam from Bennett and another. I am glad I can recycle them in my green bin otherwise I would’ve had to pay to throw them away!
Dave Yensan says
Did you read the piece form Bennett? I know the manly art of taking credit for everything that goes well on your watch and then blaming the previous administration for the mistakes. Mike Bennett ha taken it to a new level. According to him he will bring us world peace if reelected.
No, I did not read it. I made my mind up when Hiob stated he was running to vote for him. So any propraganda from Bennett went right in the trash.
Dave Yensan says
It’s illegal for people like you and me, but not fore Art. He gets waivers and papal dispensations to avoid all inconvenient laws and ordinances.
Just a word about the so called “water use agreement” that Mayor Bennett is so famous for lately. Aberdeen has been purchasing water from Harford County sources for YEARS. The county has not exactly been charging Aberdeen for every single gallon it currently uses. Aberdeen will just now be paying for all of the water its been using for years anyway. Do not believe that this is the big answer for the water problems in Aberdeen!!! It is a temporary band aid for a huge issue. I hate the fact that peole are praising his actions on this. Why not take a step in solving the problem for the long haul not just for the next few years. Only give credit where it is due and Mayor Bennett does not deserve any for this “agreement”. Kudos to the county for soaking some money out of the sucker though, hope my bill goes down.
Dave Yensan says
Thanks for spotting that taxpayer. There are several long term solutions for the water use problem. Because none of them suited Art and his boy, the County bent the City over and shoved it in all the way. What a horrible waste of money.
Attack attack attack! What solution do you recommend? Do you support reducing development and thus the future draw on our water? Do you support spending tens, if not hundreds, of millions in some sort of plant on the Chesapeake? Do you support tapping environmentally fragile local streams and still spending millions on a plant and associated distribution infrastructure?
The truth is that we will all be spending more on water no matter what. The approach that Mayor Bennett has taken will cost us considerably less over foreseeable future as it does not involve radical infrastructure advancement. Future water issues will be spread across the county, sharing the ‘tax burden’ across the county and not sapping any one jurisdiction.
John Savitch says
ProudDemocrat – this is what you are calling patriots that you disagree with
So who is calling whom names?
Mailing from Art Helton came today in the mail. It reads:
Another Aberdeen City Election and another attempt by some to be vicious and personally attack anyone that opposes them. I seem to have gotten the brunt of the past two Aberdeen elections. This latest politically motivated attack is particularly mean-spirited involving nasty accusations about me that were unfounded. These political tactics are truely hurtful to my wife and 5 daughters.
As an Aberdeen buisnessman for over 40 years, I have taken great pride in the City of Aberdeen and have been a leader in helping to revitalize our City. This revitalization has brought millions of dollars in property tax base and over 275 new jobs to Aberdeen. Hopefully, these personal attacks on me and others will be judges for what they are “Dirt Smear Politics” in an election year.
Return address was 8 N. Parke Street – Aberdeen, Md 21001
Dave Yensan says
He is the victim. Poor Art. It’s only smear politics when focused on him, when he pulls the dirty tricks and outright lies it’s OK.
Did i read this correctly?WOW ART HELTON has sent a mailer about “DIRT SMEAR POLITICS” this is a joke right, have the other candidates attacked THE CURRENT MAYOR? Have there been mailers sent out which impune the current MAYORS reputation because if there were i havent seen them! I dont think Mike Hiob plays those games i think he will challenge statements made by the current Mayor and his possie, but he would not under any circumstance resort to “DIRTY POLITICS”!
I think the FORMER SENATOR IS TALKING ABOUT HIMSELF again or perhaps in his mind he believes he is the Mayor of Aberdeen and this is just one more indication of who really is in control of the city!
By the way ART many people have contributed thier lives and thier livlihoods to help build Aberdeen long before you came around,and you can bet if we are sucessful in getting you out of city hall the city will grow and prosper!You sir have sucessfully stifled a vast array of buisness oppurtunity for the city by making sure you got yours and to HELL WITH EVERYONE ELSE! You are in control of the ship now ,but sooner or later (hopefully sooner) you, and your group will be gone, and city hall will be returned to the PEOPLE WHERE IT BELONGS!
Well ladies and gentleman the truth is in fine print Art Helton is the current Mayor of Aberdeen just reading the mailer is indication enough. Why on earth would he put that out there if there is no truth to it why respond?One can only assume that he infact is running for Mayor and he felt the need to respond as if he were on the ballot.
Al J Thong says
Joe- I think you’re right. If you look at his last few attempts to get back into public office its evident that he lacked physical and financial support to the point where he personally “loaned” vast sums of his own money to his campaign basically trying to buy a seat. Aberdeen was an easier target. He found an unknown, totally empty suit and infused himself into that vacuum becoming the defacto Mayor. And what fun is that if you don’t let people know?
I didn’t relize Art was running for anything in Aberdeen. Can someone help me out. Also what about the bombardment of mailers sent out about fred simmons on the last election, which he did, I know because the office centre in Havre de grace printed them for him.
Question and some Answer
Dave Yensan says
Not only the ones he put out with his office on them but also the others with made up authority lines. He violated at least three Maryland election laws, but as I said earlier, laws don’t apply to him and his.
Art isn’t, but some on here and in public seem to forget that and belittle Mayor Bennett by suggesting that he is Art’s puppet (and thus attack Art rather than attack the mayor directly) Attacking Bennett is challenging for them as the mayor has done a good job and there is very little about which to attack him.
This is a typical teabagger move, find something to attack, then attack it. Find anything related (no matter how disconnected it may be) and attack it. Attack, attack, attack, attack. How sad that our politics has come to this. No wonder so many people are turning away from government and politics… the right-wingers out there are blocking access to functional government with cesspools of filth and lies.
Dave Yensan says
PD It is nothing about attacking anyone. When you have someone who has demonstrated, time and again, a total inability to think beyond the speech he is a puppet. You by the way have demonstrated an inability to think beyond whatever talking points the party gives you. Get outside your narrow little box and try thinking. It’s a fun exercise.
By the way, do you think that government exists for the people or that the people exist for the government?
Your question: By the way, do you think that government exists for the people or that the people exist for the government?
The answer: NEITHER is true in the United States… the ‘people’ IS the government! The very question is flawed; we the people establish ‘the government’ for the purpose of protection, litigation, diplomacy, and commerce. I am always amazed at how so many citizens are disconnected from this reality. We can talk to these people, select those people, and interact with these people. It amazes me how often citizens overlook the reality that they can contact their representatives and influence legislation.
It also amazes me how people pay so little attention to local and state elections (as compared to presidential elections) when it is these local elections that have a much greater impact on our lives.
It further amazes me that people are so turned off by ‘government’ and political races – of all the powers we have as US citizens none is more important than the vote, and nothing is more important when it comes to voting than being an informed citizenry. We should all take the time to listen to candidates, particularly when they have complicated things to say (which sadly, is why repugs win so many elections… they have a simplistic message that sounds good without any in-depth investigation, and sadly our media is so afraid to actually ask challenging questions, and our public is so fixed upon a quick sound bite, that the more complicated Democratic messages are not given their due consideration).
Mayor Bennett did a great job last night by the way, and while so many are attacking so much about his connections, he came out with a solid opening performance that pretty much set the record straight. I actually thought that Hiob did a decent job as well, but said one thing that we all should be afraid of. He was hell-bent on the idea of ‘independent rule’, the thought that the county and state governments essentially have no right to dictate to anything we do in Aberdeen. This is scary… we are part of Harford County and Maryland, and we must work as a part of those governmental levels in order to solve our problems, especially the water problem. Mr. Bennett was correct, if we do not get money from the state or federal government to build new water delivery infrastructure, then there is no way we can afford such development without radically increasing taxes. The water deal last month was huge, and REALLY has helped us out of a jam. Give credit here… they Mayor and the City Council did a good job, exactly what we elected them to do.
Proud: Did you authorize over 20K to be wasted on replacing 2 year old office furniture because of a personal dislike for the outgoing mayor? If that in fiscal irresponsibility I don’t know what is. Did you authorize hiring a professional greeter for City Hall, complete with full benefits package? Was that a position that was needed or was it a favor for a friend? How come other City Hall employees man the greeter desk most of the time?
It would be so nice to get a real answer as opposed to stammering lip service.
On Looker says
Some people who make sense!
Saw mayor Bennett,and Helton tonight off in the corner they looked like Maytag repair men,whole place full of people and they are huddled off to the side no interaction with anyone.They must have been tired from picking up all the Hiob signs that keep on disapearing!
George Robinson says
You hide behind the Constitution and defame it all in one sentence. You use the term “teabagger” in a derogatory manner to deride those who choose to exercise their Constitutional right to protest. If you mock them for exercising their right to protest then you mock the First amendment as a whole. This is the very Amendment that you hide behind in your own comment where you refuse to identify yourself. Do you not think that a group of people should have the right to protest their government? If not, then you are you in opposition to the 1st Amendment as a whole? Or are you only in disfavor with thee 1st Amendment when people disagree with your point of view? If this is the case, then you must favor a dictatorship over democracy.
A lot of very good men and women have fought and died to protect our inherent right to assemble and exercise free speech granted by the 1st Amendment of the Constitution. Perhaps, if you feel the need to mock, you should argue the merits of the content of their protest, but not the act of protesting in and of itself.
I look forward to you response?
Dave Yensan says
In today’s mail, a postcard with no return address nor authority line, yet is clearly a political flyer, reads:
“During Mike Hiob and Ron Kupferman’s last 6 years on the Aberdeen City Council
Your property taxes were raised 56%
Your water and sewer bills were doubled
They did nothing to solve the city’s water shortage
They stood idly by while vital city infrastructure deteriorated
They voted twice for large developer driven land annexations that would cost you and the city $$$millions after you , the voter, rejected the annexation
WE CAN’T AFFORD THEM ANYMORE”
The way in which the card is addressed has only been used by one party so far. His or her campaign must have approved and supported this smear. This is why the City Charter needs to call for Maryland law to prevail. If the City were governed by MD law for elections, this would be a criminal offense.
SAME CRAP, SAME PEOPLE They just don’t know how to ACT.
BREAKING NEWS says
BREAKING NEWS: Art Helton was seen urinating outisde behind Mike Bennett’s home (6:20PM). Isn’t that public urinating, indecent exposure?
just dropped in says
You could have made a citizens arrest…….
I tink he might have thot that the daek one be der. He didn’t need pee.