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Wednesday  •  April 14, 2021

The Rouse Project Breadcrumbs

By Steven Keller




  • The Rouse Project may be leveraging the public affairs firm Adeo Advocacy for its website (and potentially for Columbia Association election advertising).


  • The founder and president of Adeo Advocacy was previously a Managing Partner at KOFA Public Affairs (now KO Public Affairs).


  • KO Public Affairs is led by two present-day registered Howard County lobbyists for The Howard Hughes Corporation, Howard County’s largest developer.


  • The Howard Hughes Corporation has been actively boasting to worldwide investors about their “ability to control cities” and how they strive for “ownership and monopoly control” of Columbia, MD as they “control [Master Plan development] rights through Rouse legacy”.


  • The Rouse Project has been using a tree logo that is extremely similar to an image that is trademarked/owned by “Howard Research and Development Corp“, which is a business proxy of The Howard Hughes Corporation.




1) A google search of “Rouse Project” and “Adeo Advocacy” brings up this website (which no longer exists in live, non-cached format)

The original site of “” indicates that The Rouse Project“‘s website was originally hosted (and potentially created) by the company Adeo Advocacy, a “Strategic communication and public affairs” firm based in Baltimore. Other recent advertising work published by Adeo Advocacy bears a striking resemblance to ads that The Rouse Project and its slate of Columbia Association (CA) election candidates have published (mailers, social media ads etc.).


The early CA election candidates identified by The Rouse Project were leaked here.


Since then, only three of their five initially-identified candidates made it onto the final election ballots and each of their campaigns have shared very similar styles of unprecedented, expensive, and sometimes coordinated advertising.


2) The President & Founder of Adeo Advocacy was a former Managing Partner of KOFA Public Affairs up until 2018.  KOFA Public Affairs is now known as KO Public Affairs.


KO Public Affairs is a very politically connected and politically active PR firm that has attempted to covertly influence a variety of local issues here in Howard County.  This political firm’s behind-the-scenes involvement in the 2019 HCPSS school redistricting (through their leaderships’ sister company, Center Maryland) is detailed in this previous post.


3) Two leaders of KO Public Affairs are registered Howard County lobbyists for The Howard Hughes Corporation.  A Founding Partner and a former KOFA Public Affairs Partner have been Howard Hughes Corporation lobbyists since (at least) 2019:


2019 Howard County Registered Lobbyists

2020 Howard County Registered Lobbyists

2021 Howard County Registered Lobbyists

4) The Howard Hughes Corporation is actively boasting about their “ability to control cities” and “ownership and monopoly control” of Columbia, MD. In investor briefings, the company highlights Howard County’s 2010 Master Plan and how it gave Howard Hughes the ability to “control [Master Plan development] rights through Rouse legacy”


5) The Tree image used in some of The Rouse Project’s advertising bears a striking similarity (almost exact match) to a tree symbol that is trademarked and owned by Howard Research and Development Corporation (which is owned by The Howard Hughes Corporation)


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