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Ravens Insider: Gov. Wes Moore hosted Nancy Pelosi, developer David Bramble, others in Orioles and Ravens suites


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In suites reserved for Wes Moore at Maryland’s publicly owned sports stadiums, the governor welcomed more than 1,000 different individuals or groups during the Orioles’ and Ravens’ 2023 seasons — making up a list filled with government staffers and political allies, friends and family, community leaders, donors and executives, according to rosters The Baltimore Sun obtained through public records requests.

The suites, which typically cost thousands of dollars per game, at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium are built into contracts between the teams and the Maryland Stadium Authority. They have long been used by governors. Under Moore, a lifelong sports fanatic who played wide receiver at Johns Hopkins University, it was no different for his first year as Maryland’s sports fan-in-chief, the records show.

Some visited frequently — one cabinet member went to a quarter of the Orioles’ 81-game home slate. Others showed up for a game or two, like Baltimore native and former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cheering on the Ravens with Moore at a disappointing AFC Championship game in January, or prominent local developer David Bramble watching the Orioles lose in game 2 of the ALDS in October.

Invitations have gone to both the leaders of the powerful teachers’ union — the Maryland State Education Association — and local education-focused groups like Building African American Minds, a nonprofit based in Easton. At the Sept. 28 Orioles game, when Moore surprised the city by announcing the initial agreement on a new stadium lease, the guests included volunteers and staff for We Our Us, a Baltimore group working with young people to avoid violence.

More recently, on opening day last month, Moore honored Maryland Transportation Authority Police Officers just days after they stopped traffic on the Francis Scott Key Bridge moments before its collapse.

Mar. 28, 2024: At Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Governor Wes Moore shakes the hand of officer Garry Kirts, left, one of the first responders at the Key Bridge collapse. (Kevin Richardson/Staff)
Mar. 28, 2024: At Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Governor Wes Moore shakes the hand of officer Garry Kirts, left, one of the first responders at the Key Bridge collapse. (Kevin Richardson/Staff)

Pelosi, whose father and brother were both Baltimore mayors, and her husband, Paul, were among several prominent names in the suites for the Ravens playoff games. Those also included former Orioles player Adam Jones, state Senate President Bill Ferguson and Downtown Partnership of Baltimore President Shelonda Stokes at the same Jan. 28 game. Two Eastern Shore Republicans were also there, Wicomico County Executive Julie Giordano and Del. Carl Anderton, along with Baltimore Democratic Sen. Antonio Hayes, according to the guest list.

A week earlier, at the Jan. 20 playoff win against the Houston Texans, were Maryland Democratic Party leader Ken Ulman and Montgomery County Councilman Will Jawando, who ran for and dropped out of the ongoing U.S. Senate race a few months earlier.

The Orioles disappointing playoff games, meanwhile, featured a who’s who of Maryland politicos at the suite with a view from behind home plate. Invited to the Oct. 7 and Oct. 8 games were U.S. Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, former U.S. Rep. Tom McMillen, and state leaders Attorney General Anthony Brown, House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones, Treasurer Dereck Davis and Comptroller Brooke Lierman. All are Democrats.

Also among that crowd: Bramble, the Baltimore developer who, three weeks later, stood with Moore and other elected officials to unveil his plans to redevelop Harborplace, which his firm had purchased out of receivership in 2022. Bramble was the only private sector executive aside from John Avirett, a partner at the private equity group Stepstone, on the list for those games.

The other standout on those Orioles playoff lists is Paul Edwards, a Republican who heads the Garrett County Board of Commissioners. Edwards said in an interview that he and Moore had bonded over a mutual love of Baltimore sports during one of Moore’s visits to Western Maryland.

“He invited me to discuss some priorities. We spent most of that time together talking about childhood memories of the Orioles,” Edwards said, laughing about how they’ve been able to strike a friendship despite their political differences. “We’re about as opposite as you can get. He’s a big city guy and a Democrat and I’m a small-town country boy and a Republican.”

Edwards was one of only two Republicans — the other being Rising Sun Mayor Travis Marion — among the 97 individuals who attended at least two Orioles games in the governor’s suite in 2023. Half of those were staff in Moore’s administration. Most of the rest were either elected officials or high-ranking state appointees.

Brown, the attorney general, went to four games, as did Labor Secretary Portia Wu and Veterans Secretary Tony Woods. Cardin, Ruppersberger and Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr., a Democrat, each went twice.

The most frequent visitor to the governor’s Orioles box, though, was Tisha Edwards, a Moore cabinet member who worked in top roles during his campaign and previously at the education-focused startup he ran, called BridgeEdU. Before that, she was a top Baltimore City government and schools official.

Now serving as the governor’s secretary of appointments — a position in charge of vetting and nominating hundreds of appointed positions every year — Edwards attended 21 Orioles games, more than a quarter of the team’s appearances at home. Her partner, Lamont Riley, attended 12, which was the fourth-most of any individual and seven more than any other person who was not a government employee.

The records show Edwards, who did not respond to a request for comment through a governor’s office spokesperson, attended two Ravens games. She was one of the 19 individuals or groups — out of 160 total — who attended more than once.

There is no formal policy in the governor’s office on how frequently staff can grab a ticket, though staff members “work hard to ensure that as many people as possible have access to games,” said spokesperson Carter Elliott IV. Capacity for the Orioles suite is 22 people and for the Ravens suite it’s 24, Elliott said. Market rates for the suites are between $2,000 and $6,000 at Oriole Park and between $8,000 and $25,000 at M&T Bank Stadium, according to Suite Experience Group, an online marketplace that sells tickets.

Others scattered throughout the guest lists are friends or donors to Moore.

The July 28 game against the Yankees, for instance, included a small list of wealthy investors and their spouses from New York and elsewhere who have also donated to Moore’s campaign or his inauguration. That included investor David Kleinhandler, hedge fund manager Paul Touradji and private equity firm manager Ernest Lyles.

Moore was previously a New York-based investment banker and chief executive of Robin Hood, one of the country’s largest anti-poverty nonprofits. His predecessor, Republican Larry Hogan, had similarly entered office in 2015 from a successful private business career running the real estate-focused Hogan Companies.

In Hogan’s early years in office, he frequently invited Hogan Companies employees to the stadium suites, according to previous Baltimore Sun reporting.

Moore’s family has also attended games in the suites. His mother, Joy Moore, went to four Ravens games while his sisters, Shani Moore and Nikki Moore, went to three and two, respectively.

Moore himself attended several Orioles games and most of the Ravens games in his first year in office. An enthusiastic cheerleader for the teams and their role in Baltimore, he’s thrown out the first pitch on opening day, tossed footballs with Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and talked about his pride in securing the Orioles’ new lease that will keep them at Camden Yards for up to three more decades.

“I’m really proud that 20 years from now, hopefully, I’ll be able to hang out with my kids and grandkids at Camden Yards, watching the Orioles play,” Moore said in an interview earlier this year.

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