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Accountabilityby Mark Reutter2:30 pmApr 9, 20240

Baltimore’s second highest elected official isn’t paying his water bills – again

City Council President Nick Mosby is 15 months behind on his city water payments, a situation similar to what he and his then-wife, Mariyn Mosby, faced in 2022 when their earlier unpaid bills were revealed by The Brew. UPDATED.

Above: Nick Mosby addresses the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge from his City Hall office. (Office of the Council President)

Two years ago, The Brew reported that Baltimore’s then-power couple, Nick and Marilyn Mosby, had failed to pay monthly water bills on their Reservoir Hill house for almost a year.

A day after the story was posted, the Mosbys paid the $907.63 they owed to the city.

A lot has happened to the couple since then – Marilyn Mosby, for example, lost her bid for re-election, divorced her husband and was convicted of three felony counts by a jury at two federal trials.

Nick Mosby, meanwhile, is seeking a second term as City Council president in the May 14 Democratic Party primary, running on a platform of accountability, transparency and “due diligence,” he recently told WYPR host Tom Hall.

But there’s been at least one consistency amidst the flux:

Overdue bills are piling up again at the Bolton Street rowhouse where Nick Mosby lives with his two daughters.

Online records show that the last payment to the city was made on January 13, 2023 – or 15 months ago.

As of today, the property is $1,031.21 in arrears, as shown on the pay.baltimorecity.gov/water portal (we have redacted the street address for privacy reasons).

Mosby, who earns $138,000 a year as Council president, has not responded to a request for comment by The Brew.

*UPDATE* Mosby pays the amount owed after Brew story is posted.

2104 bolton st water 4-9-24

Unopened Mail

The house is owned by Nick Mosby and Marilyn Mosby’s grandparents, Marilyn Thompson and her husband Prescott Thompson, who died in 2015.

In the WYPR interview, Mosby used the house – “I’m the Nick who bought a vacant property in West Baltimore in a block that many people wouldn’t buy” – as an example of his loyalty and commitment to the city.

He said he shelved his career as an electrical engineer and became a public servant, “giving up a lot of money and a lot of access and a lot of resources,” to create a role model for “folks like me.”

The house also came up in his wife’s second federal trial when prosecutors entered into evidence photographs taken during a 2021 FBI search of the property.

The photos were introduced to show that the Mosbys were ignoring tax lien directives mailed to the address by the IRS. But they also revealed piles of unopened mail, including what appears to be city water bills scattered on a conference table.

This photo, introduced at Marilyn Mosby's January trial on mortgage fraud, show unopened city water bills (blue envelopes at lower left) that were found by federal agents at the Mosbys' residence in 2022. (Exhibit 204, U.S. v. Marilyn Mosby)

Unopened envelopes, including several appearing to be city water bills, photographed by federal agents at the Mosbys’ Reservoir Hill residence in March 2021. BELOW: Additional Mosby mail stuffed in a garbage bag. (U.S. v. Marilyn Mosby)

Nick mosby unopened mail 2

No Repercussions

Monthly water bills are sent to city users with the warning that “failure to make timely payments may result in penalties and discontinuance of service.”

So far, no late penalty has been assessed on Mosby by the Department of Public Works – and city water continues to flow to his property.

There is no evidence that Mosby has protested the bill, which averages $69 a month and is lower than the charges to many of his neighbors on the block.

Mosby votes on water and sewer rates as a member of the Board of Estimates.

The next batch of water rate increases are due to start on July 1, and most likely will be publicly disclosed by the BOE after the Democratic Party primary where Mosby, Mayor Brandon Scott and Comptroller Bill Henry are all running for re-election.

Mosby’s two primary opponents – Zeke Cohen and Shannon Sneed – have no outstanding water balances.

During his tenure as Council president, Mosby promised to keep a close check on the city’s troubled water system.

In December 2020, following an inspector generals’ report on DPW’s persistent failure to collect delinquent water charges, he pledged to “lead the Council in solving these problems. The Council will use legislative oversight to force accountability in billing.”

Two years later, City Auditor Josh Pasch reported that DPW had no process in place to collect delinquent accounts despite the installation of an $85 million “smart” BaltiMeter/UMAX billing system.

And in February of this year, Mosby, Scott and Henry approved a $2.16 million contract with consultant Guidehouse, Inc. to help DPW develop a debt collection strategy for unpaid water bills, including “policy and procedures updates, associated communications and reporting tasks.”

Other Candidates

City records show that Mosby’s two opponents in the Democratic primary – Zeke Cohen and Shannon Sneed – have fully paid water accounts, and there are no existing balances on their city residences.

Mayor Scott and Comptroller Henry also are current on their water bills.

In October 2022, The Brew disclosed that then-gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore had $21,000 in overdue water bills at his Guilford residence. Within hours, Moore paid the bill “out an abundance of caution,” while a campaign spokesman suggested that the bill was in error.

The Brew subsequently reported that the high bill was the result of six years of sporadic payments by the Moores, capped by 18 months no payments at all after the city rejected a request by wife Dawn Moore to lower the bill.

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