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The Inner Harbor is rimmed with beloved museums. One of the leading favorites for locals and visitors alike is the National Aquariumwhere you can see 20, different animals in award-winning habitats, including a tropical rainforest and an Australian river gorge.

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Photography by Schaun Champion. Another 1, had to be sent back because they had been filled out incorrectly. Not to mention, fund her campaign and help swing the election. A third commissioner was fired following allegations of domestic violence. As it is in so many metrics, Baltimore is an outlier. Nobody had ever been out here before, and that was part of their frustration. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached, or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Baltimore Magazine. According to a new University of Illinois at Chicago study of just federal public corruption convictions by judicial district, Baltimore has become the second most corrupt jurisdiction in the country—with a staggering guilty pleas or verdicts over the past decade.

Two other referendums made it easier for the council to override mayoral vetoes. You May Also Like. We want to hear from you. Another amendment ificantly increased council input and oversight over the city budget.

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Informer Baltimore County state Senator Thomas Bromwell was sentenced to seven years in federal prison for taking bribes from a construction company. There remain serious issues ranging from how the city awards contracts via the Board of Estimates to the outsized influence of developers. Things spiraled downhill from there. Which was true. Former Baltimore state Senator Nathaniel Oaks was convicted of bribery three years ago after a theft conviction in the late s while serving in the General Assembly. House and Senate and both chambers of the General Assembly.

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With that caveat, the Baltimore federal jurisdiction area led the U. At the city council level, it be might be zoning help in exchange for campaign contributions, but rarely a direct bribe. In many of the most notorious jurisdictions, corruption convictions had actually fallen in recent decades.

For the most part, however, the corruption convictions did slow down in the post-Watergate period—until recently. The sky was the limit. Where does that put the real of people involved in corruption in Baltimore? Buttoned-down Mayor Kurt Schmoke, citing city layoffs, skipped the gala and went back to work following the afternoon swearing-in. M eanwhile, more shoes are certain to drop inside City Hall. The grand jury inquiry appears to involve her campaign finances, their business interests, and federal tax returns. The ethereal Ms.

In the juvenile courts, you hear stories of tragic lives. As an elected position, paradoxically, he notes, it reduces genuine democracy by curtailing the power of each of the other 14 councilmembers. Is corruption the same everywhere?

Nor does it request penalties or criminal charges, merely moving its reports to the relevant city officials and department he, or working with law enforcement agencies if necessary, who make those calls.

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The online database tool, increasingly utilized in other cities, allows Baltimoreans to view day-to-day spending by city agencies and vendors. His wife, Mary Pat Bromwell, was sentenced to a year in prison for accepting payments for a no-show job.

Neither did J. Last year, a Department of Public Works supervisor pleaded guilty to extortion after federal prosecutors charged him with accepting cash payments for work he had DPW crews perform for private businesses. I f, as the saying goes, once an accident, twice a coincidence, three times a pattern, then corruption, waste, and fraud is not just pattern at City Hall, but practice.

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Scott made increased transparency and ability at City Hall a campaign promise. The political corruption convictions never stopped in Baltimore or, more broadly, Maryland. She pauses as the now-surreal memory sinks in. It also did not find documentation that Mosby had donated the 41 gifts she had declared on her ethics forms in and Mosby had actually requested the IG investigation following issues raised by the Baltimore Brewwhich also included other campaign reporting problems. InBaltimore state Senator Michael Mitchell and his brother, former Baltimore state Senator Clarence Mitchell III, were each sentenced to two and a half years at a prison camp in Pennsylvania for taking payoffs to block a federal investigation.

Similarly, in terms of city politics, corruption has hardly been limited to the high-profile implosions of McLean, Dixon, and Pugh. T he irony of the Catherine Pugh Healthy Holly saga is that her biggest selling point to many voters was that she was cast as the experienced and honest alternative to Dixon. Cumming started her career as an ant, but quickly moved into fraud investigation. With a decade of chaos atop the Office of Information Technology, it does not come as a surprise the city was hit with a pair of ransomware attacks in and The second attack caused officials to power down the majority of city servers and ground City Hall to a standstill.

Simpson, who has studied corruption for a half-century, shoots down the idea that investigators are simply better or more aggressive today at catching politicians or police officers with their hand in the proverbial cookie jar.

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In that vein, there was more cause for optimism in November when former Councilman Bill Henry upset Comptroller Joan Pratt, who had been in office so long she had actually succeeded McLean. A week after the Mosby investigation made news, Scott had gone out with members of his team and the fire department on a public safety walk just south of Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School, better known as MERVO, and his alma mater.

The MVA later indicated otherwise, noting their records had her registered as the co-owner of three vehicles actually, a BMW and a pair of Cadillac sedans. Meanwhile, more shoes are certain to drop inside City Hall. Two of the biggest convictions actually involved big-dollar lobbyists: Bruce Bereano was convicted in of billing his clients for entertaining lawmakers and using the money to make illegal contributions.

Scratch beneath the surface, and there is deep disappointment and frustration with City Hall.

Specifically, Scott was gathering information, clipboard in hand, from homeowners in the largely retired, Black neighborhood about recurrent, massive flooding on the otherwise quiet block. It had been a remarkable ascent. Quite the contrary. Inpowerful former Baltimore state senator Larry Young was expelled from Annapolis' upper chamber after a report from the t Committee on Legislative Ethics concluded he had leveraged his political position to enrich himself.

With all the problems we have? Her two top deputies, who generally write the final reports with Cumming, are both Black women. T o be clear, corruption is hardly out of character, historically, in the city or state. InGov. When residents turned up for the jobs, however, they were told they first needed to get on a bus to a voting site and cast their ballot. Just as often, they come from someone jealous or resentful.

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Finally, voters in November approved a city administrator position to work alongside the mayor and oversee the day-to-day operations of city government. McLean had not risen from the east or westside Democratic clubs when she launched her political career inbypassing the establishment by spending gobs of her own cash on her campaign and TV.

His offenses including using his county-provided police security to investigate political opponents, remove campaign s, and drive the year-old elected official to places where he could have sex with female liaisons. If only it were so.

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She struggled, selling off parts of her business, and then became desperate to maintain appearances and the lifestyle to which she had become accustomed. Even the of convictions, in Baltimore?

The discussion

After decades without audits of major city agencies under Pratt, the City Council passed a measure requiring regular performance and financial audits of 13 agencies by —a mandate the comptroller's office has since struggled to meet. So many of them seem to think they can get away with anything. So how does Baltimore stand up against other jurisdictions? Case in point: None of the University of Maryland Medical System board members who authorized the fake Healthy Holly purchases faced any charges.

The daughter of a Puerto Rican immigrant mother and Canadian father, she is also frugal by nature—often walking or taking the bus to law school at UB, and utilizing public transit for her work commute over much her career. Now, the council can reallocate money it cuts from the budget to other departments or programs.

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In a remarkable stretch fromsome two-dozen City and Maryland elected officials were convicted on bribery, embezzlement, and tax fraud charges. Informer Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold was sent to jail after being convicted of multiple counts of misconduct in office. The Jacqueline McLean case and trial should have been a cautionary tale. It's the first time in city history the Ethics Board has enjoyed full-time staff. Her wealth had not only made her candidacy possible, but seemed its very basis.

For all the overdue structural reforms, voters ultimately have to place trust in those they put into office.

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That same year, 22 City police officers were charged in connection with a bribery and gambling inquiry. Overshadowed today, a federal investigation of a towing kickback scheme uncovered in involved more than 60 officers, leading to 16 convictions inside the department. Ultimately, her association with Catherine Pugh, with whom co-owned a boutique that Pugh used to launder money, probably did in her reelection bid.

Just crossing the street, it was apparent people here wanted to believe in the year-old mayor, immediately recognizable to passersby with his stylish and bold Afro, and they greeted him with enthusiastic waves. Tips have quadrupled during her tenure, rising to more than last year, and are on the same pace in Hotline tips generally come from two types of people. It now includes seven women, with 12 of the 17 staffers people of color.

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I n truth, much of the unlawful and unethical activity in and around City Hall—overwhelming in volume for years—has been obscured by the drama of mayoral indictments. His wife, Rikki Spector, was appointed to fill his City Council seat in when he was selected for the bench and remained there for four decades. Thank You! Typically, they are generated by a citizen, vendor, or city employee, and less often a city official.

Ina longtime DOT supervisor pleaded guilty in federal court to taking thousands in bribes in exchange for construction permits. Can a city with our history be reformed?

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Inthe City Council also voted to move the Ethics Board—ly almost nonexistent—under the Office of the Inspector General, which has ased staff to assist the Board.