Former Baltimore City Hall staffer Elizabeth “Betsy” Gardner struck a plea deal with state prosecutor last week, admitting to accepting $15,000 in payments she received from one community group without reporting the money in her financial disclosures.
Gardner, who served as a community liaison for then-City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young, pleaded guilty July 26 to one count of perjury. Baltimore Circuit Judge Melissa Phinn sentenced her to three years of unsupervised probation.
Gardner, 55, declined to comment Friday.
“It was a sad ending to a long career dedicated to helping the citizens of Baltimore City,” her attorney, Joseph Murtha, said.
With her guilty plea, she admitted to omitting the payments on her financial closure forms with the city.
“Government officials are required to file truthful and accurate financial disclosure forms to ensure transparency and identify any potential conflicts of interest,” Maryland State Prosecutor Charlton Howard III said in a statement. “Our office will continue to hold accountable any public official who abuses the public trust.”
Gardner had faced as much as 10 years in prison if convicted at trial.
In court documents, prosecutors wrote that Gardner, as a community liaison, worked with the Mt. Washington Merchant’s Association. Over time, the group hired her to plan events and she “received other gifts/payments from the organization,” prosecutors wrote.
Gardner worked as a community liaison in 2016 for the City Council president. She continued to work at City Hall until last January, according to a spokeswoman for Mayor Brandon Scott.
In addition to working as a community liaison, Gardner ran for City Council in District 5 four years ago.