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Annapolis lobbyist hit with lead-paint citation

Annapolis lobbyist Bruce C. Bereano has been fined $13,000 by the Maryland Department of the Environment for allegedly violating state lead-paint regulations on two properties he owns in the capital. But Bereano disputes the state's charges, saying the homes he rents out are lead-free.

According to a state complaint, an MDE inspector saw chipping, peeling or flaking paint on the exterior of one of the two properties on Pinkney Street in June. The department had been asked to check out the properties by the city of Annapolis, which also regulates rental housing. Tax records show both homes were built before 1950, according to the complaint, when lead paint was widely used. Bereano failed to register the rental properties as required by state law, officials said, or submit needed certification when new tenants move in that measures have been taken to minimize lead paint hazards in the homes.

Peeling, chipping, flaking lead-based paint in older homes is a prime source of lead poisoning in young children. Its use in homes has been banned since 1950 in Baltimore City and since 1978 elsewhere.

Bereano said he bought the row homes in the late 1970s or early 1980s and had both demolished and completely rebuilt. He said the contractor who did the work assured him no lead paint was used, and the homes are rented only to adults. Bereano said he would challenge the state citations and fine.

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