Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby has asked the city’s Inspector General to investigate her travel and for-profit businesses, saying she wanted “an independent authority” to review what she said was misleading reporting by Baltimore Brew.
In a letter dated July 20 to IG Isabel Cumming, Mosby argued that she has “always been transparent and fully disclosed all information in accordance with my ethical obligations” and “any insinuation to the contrary is false, misleading and unethical.”
Mosby’s office released her letter to The Baltimore Sun, but did not provide a copy to The Brew. Today, she used the State’s Attorney’s official Twitter account to publicize her request for “a speedy and thorough investigation.”
The Brew story last Thursday disclosed that Mosby reported at least $30,672.63 in 2018 and 2019 airfare, hotel rooms and per-diem expenses – by far the largest amount of travel reimbursements to any elected official in Maryland.
Under state ethics rules, such reimbursed expenses are considered “gifts” to the officeholder and reportable on annual disclosure statements filed with the Maryland State Ethics Commission.
In addition to travel, Mosby reported over $1,500 worth of gifts – including cosmetics, body oils, bracelets, plaques and CBD (cannabidiol) drops – which her spokesperson said were “for the most part” donated to an annual office party that “raise[s] money for victims of crime.”
The Brew’s report also disclosed the creation by Mosby of three private businesses to offer “traveling hospitality” and “consulting and legal services.”
For more than a week, Mosby has failed to respond to multiple interview requests from The Brew about her businesses, while complaining on a private Facebook page that she has been singled out by the media for unfair criticism.
Her spokesperson, Zy Richardson, said the companies were formed as a “long-term venture” by Mosby “to help underserved Black families . . . vacation at various destination throughout the world at discount prices.” Richardson said the companies are not currently operating and that Mosby “has not received a single cent in revenues.”
Mosby did not report the companies on her disclosure statement filed on January 30, 2020. But five months later, on July 2, the companies were disclosed in an amended disclosure form.
That filing took place several days after The Brew began examining her travel activities and downloaded her ethics filings, which triggers notification to the filer.
In her letter to Cumming, Mosby complained about the headline of the Brew story that stated that the prosecutor “took 23 trips in 2018 and 2019 pocketing $30,000 in travel reimbursements.”
She argued the word “pocketing” was highly misleading because the air travel and hotel expenses for her trips were paid by conference sponsors and not reimbursed personally to her.
Shortly after the article was published, The Brew agreed to change the headline to “accepting $30,000 in travel reimbursements,” which Mosby said in her letter was still unacceptable.
Mosby said she will share whatever documentation Cumming requests to further an investigation, concluding that “I am confident that I have always abided by the ethical rules and regulations and have been fully transparent about any gifts, travel or other financial activity.”
Cumming acknowledged today receiving Mosby’s letter, but would not confirm or deny that she has opened an investigation.