In his first public comments since Gov. Wes Moore announced the decision to rescind Tom Kelso’s appointment as the chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, Kelso said he understood the decision and will continue working as long as necessary through the transition.

“I respect Gov. Moore’s decision to name the chair of his choosing, and I am committed to continuing my work until the governor has named a new chair and the nominee is confirmed by the Senate,” Kelso said in a statement Sunday.

“Once my successor is confirmed, I will work diligently through the transition to ensure our longstanding partnerships, including those with the Baltimore Orioles, Baltimore Ravens, Baltimore City Public Schools and others remain strong and the great work of the MSA continues.”

The timing of the removal comes at a key time for the Orioles. The Major League Baseball franchise’s lease at Oriole Park at Camden Yards is set to expire at the end of the year, although the Orioles can trigger a one-time, five-year extension to their lease by Feb. 1. The Orioles face multiple off-field questions beyond the lease, with members of the Angelos family involved in lawsuits over the fortune of Orioles owner Peter Angelos.

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The Maryland Stadium Authority plays an integral role in negotiating new leases for the Orioles and Ravens at Maryland-owned venues. In early January, the Ravens secured a new long-term lease at M&T Bank Stadium, keeping the National Football League franchise in Baltimore for the next 15 to 25 years. The lease was originally set to expire following the 2027 season.

By reaching a lease extension, the Ravens unlocked their share of $1.2 billion that the state set aside for improvements to the stadium complex. Those renovations will come in the form of more luxury seating and plazas at M&T Bank Stadium, among other upgrades.

The Maryland Stadium Authority was established in 1986 and oversees planning, financing, building and managing sports and entertainment venues in Maryland.

“It has been a privilege to have served eight years as chair of the Maryland Stadium Authority,” Kelso said. “During my tenure, I am proud that the board and great staff of the MSA have worked on projects that positively impacted communities across Maryland, which includes positioning Camden Yards complex for future long term success.”

Kelso was one of 48 people Moore opted to remove from their positions, reversing appointments former Republican Gov. Larry Hogan made to various state boards in the final months of his time in office.

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Kelso has served on the Maryland Stadium Authority since 2015, and was re-appointed by Hogan in July. Moore, a Democrat who took office on Jan. 18, can rescind appointments of anyone named to positions by Hogan during the Maryland General Assembly’s recess between last April and this month.

Kelso served as Hogan’s finance chair during the former governor’s re-election campaign in 2018, although he has supported campaigns across aisles.

“I want to thank Tom Kelso for his eight years as Maryland Stadium Authority Chair, and for continuing to lead MSA until a new chair is confirmed,” Moore said in a statement. “Under new leadership, MSA will continue to build upon existing partnerships that will position Maryland for success for generations to come. I will work with MSA leadership to pursue and create many new opportunities to enhance the Maryland experience for those who live, work and visit here.”

Andy Kostka is an Orioles beat writer for The Baltimore Banner. He previously covered the Orioles for The Baltimore Sun. Kostka graduated from the University of Maryland and grew up in Rockville.

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