Photo by Wally Gobetz, via Flickr
Baltimore’s chief solicitor will recommend the city sever a lucrative contract with a company whose founder, J.P. Grant, illegally funneled $170,000 to disgraced former mayor Catherine Pugh.
The recommendation comes after an investigation by the city Inspector General found that Grant’s firm, Grant Capital Management, violated campaign finance law and should not have been considered for the contract.
In a report published Tuesday, Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming
said that GCM should not have been considered for its 2018 master lease renewal because the company submitted an affidavit that falsely claimed Grant had not made any campaign donations to city officials and failed to file required campaign finance disclosure forms in the company’s bid.
Given the businessman’s position as a city contractor subject to the Board of Estimates’ oversight, the businessman’s checks to Pugh “appear to have been made with the intent to buy political influence and/or in direct exchange for political influence,” Cumming wrote. The city spending board is largely controlled by the mayor.
“In the midst of 2020, there have been a lot of challenges and the inspector general’s report is just one of those challenges that we’re confronted with,” said City Solicitor Dana P. Moore.
She said she will prepare an official memo recommending the city terminate its contract with GCM for as early as next Wednesday’s Board of Estimates meeting.
office takes it seriously,” Inspector General Cumming said. “I think this is going to be a very good step for Baltimore City and to bring more transparency and accountability into the contracts that our tax dollars are going towards.”
In a letter included in the OIG report, Moore said that Mayor Jack Young and Council President Scott believe that Grant’s actions may call into question the integrity of the city’s bidding process.
“It’s a master lease agreement that has a large price tag on it,” Moore said. “We just want to make sure that we’re doing what we’re supposed to do as fiscally responsible as possible.”
Moore will also ask the city spending board to decide whether to ban Grant Capital Management and its executive leadership from doing business with the city.
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