OpenTheBooks Investigation: Baltimore State’s Attorney Office Credit Card Expenditures 57_Baltimore_SA

April 29, 2022 02:13 PM

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The top law enforcement officer in the City of Baltimore, Marilyn Mosby, is under federal indictment for alleged perjury and false mortgage application charges

So, our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com filed open records requests for the credit card purchases during calendar year 2021 spent by her office -- the State’s Attorney’s office. Mosby has been in office since January 2015.

The purpose of our request was to review whether public credit was being used for a public purpose. Conversely, if public credit was used for a private purpose, that is an arguably illegal expenditure.

Maryland is a Dillon’s Rule state, which means that the State’s Attorney can’t make expenditures unless authorized by law. Where in the Powers and Duties of the State’s Attorney do they have to right to make some of these purchases?

Here are our list of the TOP 10 most wasteful purchases by the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s office in calendar year 2021:

Review the entire PDF of credit card production here

  1. Pages 14 through 35: 4x Apple Airpods Pro; 4x Echo Dot smart speakers with Alexa; 12x Echo HP smart display with Alexa; 12x Echo glow smart lamps for kids. 
    Total expenditure: $2,394.
  2. Page 269: Why did the office spend $220.87 on 13 Bluetooth Beanie Babies for Christmas stocking stuffers?
  3. Page 219: Who is Jose Luis Cortes Ramon and why did the office fly him roundtrip from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico to Washington DC Reagan National at taxpayer expense? 
  4. Page 287: Catering Your Way on 11/5/2021 for assorted meals of $460. What was the purpose? 
  5. Pages 279-281: $124.84 in purchases included kids Chino pants, boys 3-pack t-shirts, mac and cheese, Mott's applesauce, footed pajamas, and baby food.
  6. Page 288: why did the office purchase two kids toy box organizers for $60?
  7. Page 291: How is it that two copies of the book, Ecology Of Purposeful Living Across The Lifespan, was purchased for $211?
  8. Page 330: why did the office purchase $556 in lavaliere mics, LED video lighting kits, and teleprompter Bluetooth remotes?
  9. Why did the office buy a $179.99 teleprompter? The answer is obvious --- they NEEDED it.
  10. Page 315: And lastly, why did the office purchase a men's XXX-LG deluxe red Santa suit? 

These were only some of the purchases OpenTheBooks.com found when reviewing the 2021 credit card spending of Mosby’s office after receiving the records from an open records request.

Mosby’s office charged our organization $650 in a transparency tax to produce one year of credit card purchases and the corresponding receipts. We filed the same request with other State’s Attorneys in major U.S. cities including Cook County (Chicago), Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and other locations and no one else charged us a fee.

The astronomical fee for public records harms transparency. For example, Mosby’s been in office for nearly eight years. We would have to pay at least $5,200 just to get the credit card records from her office during her term.

There’s been 2,500 murders in Baltimore since Mosby became the State’s Attorney. Last year, she decided they didn’t have the time to prosecute misdemeanor crimes like prostitution. 

Yet, they are buying Santa suits and running toy drives at local schools.

Instead, maybe the State’s Attorney should stick to their powers and duties – prosecuting bad guys.
 

We reached out to the office of State’s Attorney and requested comment. They did not respond to multiple attempts to reach them. 

If you have a confidential tip, please email Adam Andrzejewski at [email protected]
 

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