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Accountabilityby Mark Reutter8:21 pmJun 14, 20220

Sheila Dixon helps a trash hauler – and Olszewski contributor – win a $300,000 fee reduction

Dixon is not registered in the county as a lobbyist. “I just do certain things for them, like expand their market and help them navigate government.”

Above: Former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon and Willie Goode, president of The Goode Companies and CEO of WB Waste. (Fern Shen, Goode Companies)

Among the crowd of garbage haulers who feasted on pit beef and pizza at Jack Haden’s fundraiser for Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski last June, one person stood out.

Sheila Dixon appeared at the cookout not as a Baltimore City mayor who was forced to resign after a theft conviction, but as a political luminary feted by, among others, Willie K. Goode, head of several D.C.-based waste management companies.

Goode had good reason to be a $1,000 “Bronze Sponsor” of the event – and to be grateful for Dixon’s appearance.

Less than three weeks earlier, the Olszewski administration had renegotiated the “tipping fee” his companies paid for trash transfers that would save Goode $300,000 over the life of the contract, documents reviewed by The Brew show.

D’Andrea Walker, acting director of Pubic Works and Transportation, reduced the fee – over objections from her own staff – following conversations with Dixon and Stacy Rodgers, the county administrator.

“I didn’t tell them to lower the fees,” Dixon told The Brew today, saying she simply acted as an intermediary to help a minority businessmen address discriminatory rates.

“I told them to listen to Mr. Goode and his attorney. I introduced them to the county exec [Olszewski] and folks in his office in reference to issues they were having – issues about being overcharged. They wished to have a conversation with the county.”

This isn’t the first instance where contractors won financial benefits, Olszewski got campaign contributions and county residents financially lost, but the quid pro quo appears even more clear-cut than in other recent cases.

For Baltimore County developer, a decade of special favors (1/24/22)

Olszewski, elected on a transparency platform, tried to hobble his corruption investigator (3/10/22)

Trash haulers’ fundraiser for Olszewski paved the way for a major change in county waste handling program (6/9/22)

On April 22, 2021, Goode wrote an email to Walker and Michael Beichler, chief of the Bureau of Solid Waste Management, titled “Open Discussion for Baltimore County New Transload Deal Rate.”

In it, Goode asked for the tipping fee paid by his companies at the Halethorpe transfer station to be lowered from $9.25 a ton to $8 a ton in keeping with the rate charged to his competitors, Republic Services and Waste Management.

D'Andrea Walker speaks last October upon opening of the Towson Loop circulator, flaned by County Executive Johnny Oszewski (to her left) and Councilman David Marx and Council President Julian Jones and County Administrator Stacy Rodgers to her right. (baltimorecounty.gov)

D’Andrea Walker speaks last October at the opening of the Towson Loop circulator, flanked by County Executive Johnny Olszewski to her left and County Administrator Stacy Rodgers on her right. (baltimorecounty.gov)

Overriding Her Staff

Beichler, who had headed the solid waste office for a decade, opposed the request, documents reviewed by The Brew show.

He argued that rather than lowering Goode’s fee, the $8 per ton tipping fees for Waste Management and Republic Service – which had remained the same since February 2010 – should be raised to $9.25 a ton.

Such action was in keeping with recommendations by several consultants, including those brought in by the county executive’s office, and would bring $220,000 more to the county annually. (Now  retired from county government, Beichler would not comment when reached at his home yesterday.)

“They wished to have a conversation with the county”  – Sheila Dixon.

On May 26, 2021, the master agreement signed by the Kamenetz administration with The Goode Companies was amended to reflect a fee decrease from $9.25 to $8 per ton. “All other terms and conditions remain the same,” the document said.

The change, ordered by Walker, would give Goode a break of $43,360 a year, based on his prior annual tonnage, over the seven years remaining on the contract.

On June 7, 2021, Willie Goode made a $1,000 donation to the Olszewski campaign, State Board of Elections records show.

Five days after that, Goode and Dixon attended the Olszewski fundraiser organized by demolition recycling mogul Jack Haden, who was seeking approval of the county’s first private garbage transfer station – he secured it three months later.

The Brew today sent questions to Walker, Rodgers and Olszewski about why they did not follow the staff recommendation not to lower the tipping fee and asking what role Dixon may have played in the decision.

June 15, 3:30 p.m. Update

We received the following statement from Olszewski spokesperson Erica Palmisano:

This fee reduction righted an inequitable fee scale, and to suggest or infer this change was related to political contributions would be a baseless fabrication.

The fee reduction brought Goode’s rate in line with the rate charged to all other contracted trash haulers. As a result, Goode now pays the same tipping fees ($8.00/ton) as other haulers. When DPWT re-negotiated Goode’s fees, it increased his tonnage requirements so the County didn’t lose revenue as a part of this new contract.


Dixon said Goode’s tipping fees were not discussed at the Olszewski fundraiser. “It was just introductions and participating in his fundraiser. If my recollection is correct, that issue had already been resolved” by Goode’s attorney, Robert Dashiell.

Neither Dixon nor Dashiell are registered lobbyists in Baltimore County, and neither submitted lobbyist disclosure forms.

Lobbying is defined by Section 7-1 of the County Code as “communicating with a public official of the legislative or executive branch of county government, in the presence of that public official, for the purpose of influencing legislative or executive action.”

A lobbyist who fails to submit these forms is subject to a fine of up to $1,000, up to 90 days in jail, or both.

Neither Dixon nor Dashiell are registered lobbyists in Baltimore County, and neither submitted lobbyist disclosure forms.

Dixon says she doesn’t consider herself a lobbyist for The Goode Companies or WB Waste. “I just do certain things for them, like expand their market and help them navigate government as it relates to projects they’re working on.”

No Response from Goode

Since her resignation as Baltimore’s mayor in 2010, Dixon has been marketing director for the Maryland Minority Contractors Association, which Goode is a member.

During Dixon’s bid to return to the mayor’s office in 2020, Goode contributed $8,000 to her campaign through his waste companies and a company employee.

Goode did not return an email and phone call to his office. Dashiell also did not respond.

Dixon said she believed people were spreading false information about her role in the tipping fee controversy. Invoking the issue of race, she said it was important for the public to look at the full picture.

“The way Baltimore County has done business – they blocked minority companies, they were very discriminatory. So whoever reached out to you to say I lobbied in order to get [Goode] a reduction is spreading rumors. I wish I had the ability to lobby like that.”

• To reach this reporter: reuttermark@yahoo.com

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