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Baltimore Inspector General investigating city Department of Public Works trash yards

Agents from the Baltimore Inspector General's Office conducted an investigation Thursday at Department of Public Works waste disposal yards on Bowleys Lane and Reedbird Avenue, a spokesman for the department said.

Investigators were seen at City Hall, where their offices are located, unloading boxes of documents taken from the Reedbird Avenue yard.

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Jeffrey Raymond, a spokesman for DPW, said, “We’re cooperating to whatever extent we can.”

Raymond said the yards remained open to the public while the investigators were on scene Thursday morning. The two sites are centers for residents to drop off household trash.

Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming declined to comment on the investigation.

As an internal city watchdog, the inspector general has the authority to seize city property in the course of its investigations and does not need a subpoena or search warrant.

The inspector general secured the conviction of two DPW workers in separate cases in 2017 and 2018 who had been stealing scrap water meters and selling the brass.

In another case, investigators found that the department’s meter readers wasted some $120,000 driving around aimlessly or going home early rather than finding more work to do.

The department has also come under federal investigation in recent years. Six employees and six trash haulers were convicted in a long-running scheme in which the haulers paid bribes to avoid dumping fees — costing the city $6 million — and a related scam involving the theft of scrap metal.

Agents from the Baltimore Department of the Inspector General on Thursday morning carry boxes of documents into City Hall, where their office is located. The documents were taken from offices of the city's Department of Public Works, which the IG is investigating.
Agents from the Baltimore Department of the Inspector General on Thursday morning carry boxes of documents into City Hall, where their office is located. The documents were taken from offices of the city's Department of Public Works, which the IG is investigating. (Doug Donovan / Baltimore Sun)
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