Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Paul Schurick: A Pearl Among the Oysters?

So, for me, a familiar name recently popped up on LinkedIn: Paul Schurick.  

It seems the erstwhile political honcho and former Schaefer/Ehrlich aide is now ensconced at the Oyster Recovery Partnership in Annapolis, where he has worked as its “Director of Partnerships” since last January.

"Paul works with businesses, organizations and individuals to build partnerships to increase the environmental, economic and cultural importance of oysters. He has more than 30 years experience in policy, communications and partnerships. He has master’s and bachelor’s degrees in economics from the West Virginia University. He served as chief of staff for Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer and director of communications for Gov. Robert Ehrlich. In his free time, Paul enjoys kayaking and cooking. He lives in Annapolis."

Stephan Abel, the Partnership’s Executive Director and Schurick’s boss, was previously Communications Director at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, where he once reported to…Paul Schurick.

Hey, they call it “Smalltimore” for a reason.

Missing from his biography is the fact that Schurick was found guilty of four charges – including election fraud – related to the infamous robocall scandal which occurred during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign. The alleged purpose of the robocall was to trick black voters into not voting. At the time, my old boss, former Governor Bob Ehrlich, denounced what he called “the decision from a Baltimore City jury” (in other words, a jury made up of black people). Schurick’s co-conspirator Julius Henson was separately tried and convicted of a charge stemming from the same incident, and later served time in jail.

Before devoting his career to the betterment of bivalves, Schurick was CEO at Visitors TV Network, an Easton-based start up company that made those travel videos you see when you’re watching TV in your hotel room. Before that, Schurick made serious coin as a crisis communications consultant at the law firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge and Rice (where some members of Team Ehrlich temporarily landed after the governor’s 2006 loss) and at the doomed Ehrlich political comeback effort in 2010 (there he made $15,000 a month at one point, an unheard of amount for a campaign aide).

Hey, I think the idea of Schurick re-purposing as an environmental crusader and steward of the mollusks is certainly amusing, but I guess everyone deserves a second chance – including the one-time Henry Gondorff of Maryland politics (that's a reference to The Sting, folks).

Congratulations, Paul, upon your successful rehabilitation. Perhaps a crab or - better yet - sushi advocacy role is in your future. In the meantime, it's my pleasure to play you a song.

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