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City Watch Dog defends report critical of Marilyn Mosby, despite lawyers demands to revise

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Posted at 4:15 PM, Feb 16, 2021

BALTIMORE — Baltimore City Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming is standing by her investigative report into State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby's travel and personal business dealings.

David Shuster and Andrew Jay Graham, who represent Mosby, have disputed several of the report's findings of potential wrongdoing, and have demanded that corrections be made.

It was Mosby who in the name of transparency initially called for the investigation, after media reports surfaced questioning her travel.

RELATED: Mosby's attorneys dispute watch dog report that found potential violations

One portion of the report heavily argued is whether or not the City's Board of Estimates needed to approve Mosby's travel.

The Inspector General found that Mosby had traveled 24 times out-of-state throughout 2018 and 2019, causing her to be "physically absent" from the city for 85 days.

Of those, Cumming said the city or taxpayers paid full or partial costs for only six of the trips.

Based off Cumming's interpretation, Mosby was required to seek approval from the City's Board of Estimates for all trips costing more than $800, which in this case was at least 15 times.

Shuster and Graham disagreed, saying that only applies if Mosby was requesting the city to pay or reimburse her for the trips.

In response Tuesday, Cumming defended her understanding of the policy.

"The OIG found dozens of past instances of City elected officials, Baltimore Police Department employees and other City agency employees having submitted travel requests for BOE approval in accordance with the AM 240-3 when City funds were not actually being spent."

Cumming also provided documentation of those occasions, which can be reviewed below.

The attorneys also took issue with Cumming's conclusion that Mosby broke a promise to donate gifts she'd received during the trips.

Cumming wrote that Mosby received 41 gifts between 2018 and 2019.

Emails from Mosby's office stated, "the majority of gifts the State’s Attorney has received and reported are donated to the BCSAO auction during our Winter Solstice celebration, where we raise money for victims of crime.”

But the Inspector General contradicted those claims, citing a review of listed auction items which found no record of Mosby ever donating.

Her lawyers fired back, calling Cumming's reporting "a gross misstatement."

They say Mosby was never required to donate the items, but planned to for the 2020 Winter Solstice, which ended up being canceled due to the pandemic.

The third and final point Mosby's lawyers took exception to, was Cumming's analysis of their client's personal business dealings.

Although the Inspector General found no evidence of revenue or income related to the companies, Mosby’s 2019 personal tax return confirmed $5,000 in expenses.

Shuster and Graham said that too was "misleading."

In her written conclusion, Cumming deferred her findings to the Maryland State Ethics Commission saying,"It is not within the purview of the OIG to make a determination as to whether SA Mosby fully complied with the State Public Ethics Law, including the State’s disclosure requirements."

Cumming followed that up Tuesday, stating that from her standpoint, the investigation is considered closed.

In a statement from Mosby's campaign, they said:

“Mrs. Mosby initially broached several instances of erroneous media reporting as a threat to her electoral viability, which was a political matter. Indeed, in response to the reporting, constituents contacted her to voice their misguided concerns. Once the scope of the investigation evolved and expanded, it became increasingly clear that it was a legal matter that encompassed more than her electoral viability, which is why she ceased using campaign funds. When the scope of the investigation changed, she sought advice from the State Board of Elections and the State Ethics Commission to establish an appropriate mechanism to set up a legal defense fund for the tens of thousands of dollars in additional costs. There was never an intent to mislead, which is why she reported the initial expense of $3250 in her routine campaign finance disclosures."