Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young did not engage in "illegal activities" by moving into a house that his sister vacated before fulfilling the residency terms of her loan, the city solicitor said in an opinion issued today.
But, solicitor George A. Nilson said, the city housing department could demand as much as $20,300 from Young's sister for defaulting on the terms of the loan by moving out before the 10-year minimum requirement.
Young, who has been hounded by questions about his various residences, said in a statement that he felt "vindicated" by Nilson's opinion that he had not acted illegally by moving into the home.
"My actions were completely above board," Young said, adding that he was "fully prepared" to pay the money owed by his sister.
Cynthia Young, an employee of the city's 311 center, had received a community block grant loan after she had to relocate from a home in the 900 block of North Durham Street, which her brother had purchased for her. The home was slated for demolition as part of a urban renewal project in 2001. She used the loan in part to buy a home in the 900 block of Central Avenue, and shortly after moving in, put her brother's name on the deed. She moved out in 2005, and Young moved in.
The flap about the loan is the third time in recent months that the council president's residency has been in the limelight. As he launched a bid for the president's seat -- vacated when Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake replaced Sheila Dixon as mayor-- he admitted he had owned a "vacation home" in Edgewood until 2005.
Last month, after concerns were raised about low water bills at a home in the 1500 block of East Madison Street that he lists on his official records, Young led reporters through the Central Avenue home around the corner where he said he actually spends much of his time.
According to the solicitor's opinion, when Cynthia Young moved out of the home, she was liable for 60% of the $20,300 loan. However, an argument could be made that she owed the total amount by adding a name to the deed in 2001, Nilson wrote.
Within a couple years after the Youngs' home was purchased, the city's relocation program "became more flexible" and issued larger grants and smaller loans with fewer strings attached, Nilson wrote.