Responding to what it described as a hacking campaign by the Russian government to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, the Obama administration kicked dozens of Russian officials out of the country Thursday and closed two properties — including one on Maryland’s Eastern Shore — that the White House said have been used to gather intelligence.

In the strongest retaliation against Russia the United States has leveled in decades, the administration sanctioned two Russian intelligence services and gave 35 government officials 72 hours to leave the country.

The 45-acre site on the Corsica River near Centreville was purchased by the Soviet Union in 1972, a State Department official said.





During what could only be called a hectic session the county listened to two men who claimed they could stop the Russian sale even after contracts  had been signed, if they could get the county’s blessings on zoning which would benefit some unnamed multi-millionaires from somewhere.

…the figure of billionaire Howard Hughes was mentioned time and again.

The two men were identified as L.L. Hubble, a Baltimore real estate broker, and Saul Feldman, who produced a card which associated him with Comax Metals Company of Baltimore.

Mr. Hubble, speaking of the Russians said, “I don’t like them a damn, but I’d sell to a Chinaman if I could.” Mr. Feldman was asked how he could break a sakes contract with the Russians and reported, “I don’t know, but I know people who can.”

Feldman then returned to the zoning at Pioneer Point, telling the county he had the people with the money to develop it if it could be split up on parcels for people to buy. He sprinkled his claims with a few stories of the big spenders he associated with, telling the county of one man who lost $10,000 in one crack in a gambling casino. He turned back to the zoning problem asking the county, “What do I go away with?” “The same thing you came in here with,” with retorted (Queen Anne’s County Commissioner) Ashley.




Forty-five of the original 1600 acres in the estate, located five miles west of Centreville, were sold to the U.S.S.R. last March by Charles Rist and Charnita, Inc., together with two furnished manor houses, an office building, tennis courts and dock facilities 1.1 million as a vacation getaway for diplomats and their families.

Pioneer Point was intended to be used as a “permanent retreat” for embassy and consular personnel who had previously used leased facilities near Salisbury and at Black Walnut Point on Tilghman’s Island (and at the Duck House on Wye Island ), and was “part of a quid pro quo agreement” which allowed the United States to purchase a similar ‘dacha’ or seasonal countryside resort on the Moscow River.

…Given a guided tour of the compound by Eugene Ivanov, assistant press attaché Soviet Embassy,” journalist Norman Harrington wrote: “When the Russians bought Pioneer Point, it was no longer the well-manicure estate that (John J.) Raskob developed in the late 1920s while he and Al Smith were promoting and financing construction of the Empire State Building…more than $275,000 redecorating was done prior to the sale to the Russians.

 Ivanov and the full-time caretaker, Stanislov Obraztsov showed us through Hartefeld, a 35-room, Georgian-style mansion complete with 12 baths, 13 fireplaces and a wine cellar with storage space for 3,000 bottles.

Then he pointed to an oak-lined glen opposite Mostley Hall.

“You see, there’s the flagpole. They raise the flag in the morning and lower it with a ceremony in the evening,” he said.

When news of the Russians interest in purchasing Pioneer Point…months before President Nixon’s visit to Moscow, there were rumblings in local quarters about “Never seeing the day when a Red flag would fly over Queen Anne’s County.”

Such talk has now subsided…




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