BALTIMORE — Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby left Baltimore to attend 24 out-of-town events in 2018 and 2019, causing her to be “physically absent from Baltimore” for 85 days, and most trips were not approved by BOE as required, according to a new Inspector General's report.
On July 20, 2020, the Baltimore City Office of the Inspector General (OIG) received a letter from Mosby, requesting an investigation into the information she disclosed to the Maryland State Ethics Commission on her State financial disclosures, which included her travel, companies, and gifts.
Mosby’s letter cited a news article published by the Baltimore Brew, which Mosby alleged painted a misleading picture of her travel and finances and the requirements of the Maryland Public Ethics Law.
According to the OIG report, Mosby made the request for the purpose of showing that she had “abided by the ethical rules and regulations and has been fully transparent about any gifts, travel, or other financial activity.”
The request encompassed several topics of investigation. First, it encompassed her travel, some of which she had claimed as gifts on her financial disclosure statements.
Second, it encompassed other gifts she had reported on her financial disclosure statements. Third, her request encompassed an investigation into three of her companies.
Finally, Mosby requested the OIG give an opinion as to whether she was in full compliance with the Maryland Public Ethics Law, including the State’s financial disclosure requirements.
The OIG investigation encompassed the travel and gifts she had reported on her 2018 and 2019 State financial disclosure forms, as well as other travel during that period.
With regard to travel, the investigation found that between 2018 and 2019, Mosby traveled out-of-town in her official capacity to attend 24 events and was physically absent from Baltimore City for 85 days. Those trips took Mosby around the United States, and on three different occasions, around the world.
The majority of the trips were not paid for using taxpayer dollars, according to the investigation. Nearly $23,700 of the $27,015 total cost of these trips were paid for by sponsoring organizations.
Six of the 24 trips were paid for in full or in part by the BCSAO/City. The OIG found discrepancies between the travel reported on Mosby’s State financial disclosure forms, the travel list she provided to the OIG, and the OIG’s independent verification of costs.
Amounts and details vary between these two sources, as well as between these sources and the OIG’s independent verification of costs.
The OIG’s independent verification determined that the total cost of Mosby’s sponsored trips taken in 2018 and 2019 were $796.34 less than the amount she had reported on her State financial disclosures.
According to the City’s AM and internal BCSAO policy, when certain travel conditions are met, elected officials must submit travel requests to the BOE for approval.
The investigation revealed that at least 15 of the 24 sponsored trips reported by Mosby met such conditions but none appear to have been submitted to the BOE for approval.
With regard to gifts other than travel, Mosby listed a number of gifts on her 2018 and 2019 financial disclosure forms; many of those listed on the 2018 form do not provide a value.
Mosby’s spokesperson publicly stated that any gifts she received in 2018 and 2019 had been donated to the BCSAO Winter Solstice auction. However, the OIG found no evidence indicating that Mosby had donated a single gift to any past auctions.
The OIG report also states that although it appears her companies did not generate any revenue in 2019, they do appear to have been active, incurring $7,650 in expenses that year.
The expenses included airline tickets and travel for Mosby and others. Additionally, according to her tax filing, Mosby reported a business loss of $5,000, and indicated she had “materially participate[d]” in the operation of Mahogany Elite in 2019.
The OIG said it is not within their purview to make a determination as to whether Mosby fully complied with the State Public Ethics Law, including the State’s disclosure requirements.
The OIG will defer any such finding to the Maryland State Ethics Commission.
In a statement from Zy Richardson, Director of Communications for the State's Attorney Office, she said:
“After seven months of an exhaustive investigation which State’s Attorney Mosby asked for, there has been no finding of wrongdoing, unethical behavior and most importantly no abuse of taxpayer dollars. The State’s Attorney is glad that this investigation has concluded and our office is moving forward with the important work of the people’s business."