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Marilyn and Nick Mosby

Accountabilityby Mark Reutter10:42 amFeb 17, 20210

Mosby’s campaign finance report is riddled with mismatched names and addresses

Who actually contributed money to Baltimore’s state’s attorney last year? Based on the report that Marilyn Mosby filed with the State Elections Board, it’s impossible to say. A BREW EXCLUSIVE.

Above: Marilyn Mosby claims to have received $3,200 from 10 people who reported the same address: 2103 Druid Hill Avenue. (Fern Shen)

The modest West Baltimore rowhouse, located a block from the now-razed childhood home of bandleader Cab Calloway, appears an unlikely epicenter of campaign contributions to Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby.

But 2103 Druid Hill Avenue is listed as the address of 10 people who donated $3,200 to “Friends of Marilyn Mosby,” her campaign committee.

None of the 10 is reported as the building’s owner in property tax records, while all of them are identified in Mosby’s report to the State Elections Board as employees of the “Baltimore City State’s Attorney Office.”

In fact, only one, Janice Bledsoe, works for the SAO. The others range from an equity manager to an inspirational author, a sewer contractor, an events planner, an architect, a hospital association lobbyist and three attorneys.

The building’s owner, on the other hand, has never contributed to any political candidate, according to state elections records.

A similar scrambling of names, addresses and employers throughout Mosby’s report makes it impossible to determine with certainty who exactly contributed to Baltimore’s top law enforcement officer last year:

• Is the real donor the person listed as the contributor?

• Or is the donor the person tied to the address listed, which in dozens of cases does not match the contributor named?

• Or is the employer of record a hint of the actual giver?

The Mosby campaign lists 10 donors at the same address on Druid Hill Avenue. Note that all but one contribution was made through a credit card. (Friends of Marilyn Mosby Campaign Finance Report, January 20, 2021)

The 10 donors having the same West Baltimore building address that is not owned by any of them. (State Board of Elections database)

Penalty of Perjury

The Brew has tried unsuccessfully to reach Mosby and her treasurer, Shariff J. Small, for explanations about the discrepancies found in the report.

While the amount of funds in question is not large (about $20,000), the degree of confusion and the apparent inaccuracies are striking.

While the amount of funds in question is not large (about $20,000), the degree of confusion and the apparent inaccuracies are striking.

As chair of the committee, Mosby vouched under the penalty of perjury that the information in the report is “complete and accurate.”

Most of the contributions were raised during a 40th birthday fundraiser held in January 2020 for Mosby at the Sangria Patio Bar. Suggested contributions ranged from guest ($40) to host ($1,400).

Several of the larger donations came from regular Mosby contributors such as Robert Harrington, the city plumbing contractor, whose $1,400 contribution was listed to the 2103 Druid Hill Avenue address, and P&J Contracting, whose $1,400 contribution was linked to a Mount Vernon law office rather than his northwest Baltimore office and yard.

The fundraiser where dozens of scrambled names and addresses were listed on the report that she and her treasurer pledged last month to contain accurate and complete information. (Mosby flyer; January 20, 2021 campaign report)

The fundraiser where scores of names and addresses were scrambled in a report that Mosby pledged to contain complete and accurate information. (Mosby flyer; January 20, 2021 campaign report)

Mosby pledge under penalty of perjuryOther oddities crop up in the report.

For example, Kevin Pfeffer, a $3,000 Mosby donor, is listed as residing at the Hanover, Md., address of Byron Deese, a Tuskegee University graduate who has given generously to Mosby and her husband, City Council President Nick Mosby, both Tuskegee alums, in the past.

Pfeffer is the president of CMDS, a drug management company, who last year recruited Bilal Ali, a former state delegate and ex-Mosby community liaison officer, as CMDS’ executive director.

Ali is also listed in the report as a $1,400 Mosby contributor, but not as a CMDS manager. Instead, he is identified as an employee of Coldspring Co., a construction contractor.

Conflicting Cash Balances

Outside of the unclear provenance of many Mosby donors, an examination of the report raises questions about how much money is in the state’s attorney’s campaign coffers.

The Friends of Marilyn Mosby committee reported an ending cash balance (as of January 13, 2021) of $68,386.79. But Harbor Bank of Maryland, where the account is held, reported $49,263.18 – nearly $20,000 less – on the same date.

Almost always, campaign committees reconcile the two accounts, often to the last penny, in reports submitted to the State Board of Elections.

This last happened in Mosby’s case in January 2019, when both the committee and the bank reported a cash balance of $53,401.21. Since then, the Harbor Bank account has lagged as much as $27,000 behind committee’s stated balance.

Other Discrepancies

The Brew found several other recurring patterns in Mosby’s latest report:

Employees and former SAO employees are linked to the addresses of longtime Mosby contributors:

• SAO’s Communications Director Zy Richardson, according to the report, contributed to Mosby through the Baltimore County address of a media services company whose CEO, Tyrone Taborn, earlier contributed $1,500 to Mosby.

• Incoming City Councilman Antonio Glover, a former Mosby community liaison officer, contributed to Mosby under the address of ex-housing commissioner Daniel P. Henson. At the same time, three SAO employees used Glover’s apartment building address to donate to Mosby.

• SA Chief of Administration, Camille Blake Fall, contributed $40 to Mosby through Club Paradise, according to the campaign report. The owner of the West Baltimore bar previously donated more than $3,000 to Mosby.

• SA Deputy Bledsoe (incorrectly listed as living as 2103 Druid Hill Avenue in the report) had her actual Baltimore address listed for contributions by two other individuals, one affiliated with the SAO.

Seemingly random people were used as campaign cutouts.

• A donation linked to the Cockeysville address of the CEO of Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. is attributed to an electrician from Parkville. Last year, the electrician, Sekwan Merritt, received media attention when he sued the U.S. government for excluding him from the Paycheck Protection Program because of his criminal record.

• Hairstylist Char Wilson is linked to the address of longtime lawyer-lobbyist Eric Bryant. Last year, Bryant managed Kweisi Mfume’s 7th District Congressional race and is now Mfume’s chief of staff.

2/19 UPDATE: Bryant tells The Brew, “I don’t have any knowledge of or relationship to Char Wilson.”

• DJ Quicksilva, also known as “The Party KingPin,” is listed as a Mosby contributor at an address associated with a former Pikesville businessman.

• A $1,000 contribution listed to a Washington, D.C., attorney has the Bowie address of a public relations and branding expert who has a history of supporting Mosby (see below). Nicole Kirby is listed as the owner of both CarVer Communications and the Bowie property used as the address for attorney A. Scott Bolden.

The same address and same employer was used for two Mosby contributors, Kirby Nicole and attorney A. Scott Bolden. The address and company property is listed to Kirby. (State Board of Elections and State Assessmetns and Taxation databases)

Thwarting Online Searches

Mosby contributors are listed by their first name, followed by the last name, a violation of Elections Board protocol of registering contributors by last name, then first name.

Listing contributors this way makes it difficult to compare Mosby’s 2021 campaign report with her prior reports, which followed the last name, first name standard.

It also can add confusion to – and diminish the transparency found in – an online Elections Board search. That’s because the database is keyed to a last name, first name sequence.

• To reach this reporter: reuttermark@yahoo.com

RECENT BREW COVERAGE:

Mosby’s campaign issues statement on Brew’s story about her legal fees (2/16/21)

Cumming stands her ground, dismissing criticism by Mosby’s lawyers (2/16/21)

Marilyn Mosby’s lawyers were paid with campaign funds (2/16/21)

For Marilyn Mosby, a taxing question (2/14/21)

Seeking exoneration, Marilyn Mosby instead gets highly critical report from Baltimore’s Inspector General (2/9/21)

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