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Ethics forms for Baltimore officials now back online after site freed from hack

Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott and Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young listen to speakers during the Harlem Park rec center's grand reopening on Tuesday, August 13.
Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott and Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young listen to speakers during the Harlem Park rec center's grand reopening on Tuesday, August 13. (Ulysses Muñoz)

When a hacker shut down Baltimore City Hall’s computers in May, most worries were understandably focused on how the government was going to operate vital functions such as employee email, processing real estate transactions and electronic payments for fines and water billing.

One city website that few concerned themselves with but political junkies love to plumb is the ethics board’s online database of disclosure forms that government and elected officials must submit each year. The mandatory reports require officials to be transparent about any property, earnings or gifts.

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As of Friday the Board of Ethics’s electronic filing website was back up and running, more than three months after the May 7 ransomware attack.

That allows taxpayers to take a look at what top officials such as Mayor Bernard C. Jack Young and City Council President Brandon Scott submitted in late April, a couple of weeks before the hack hit.

The disadvantage of being fully transparent is having to report just about every gift received and event attended — no matter how odd — in 2018 when Young was still president and Scott was a councilman.

Young reported: three tickets worth $540 from Falun Dafa Association in Washington to attend the Shen Yun show at the Hippodrome in December; three neckties worth $94 total from Karen Paterakis Philippou, daughter of bakery magnet John Paterakis as well as $74 worth of “cookies from Eddies of Roland Park” from Paterakis-founded H&S Properties Development; and $3,850 in multiple tickets to various galas hosted by LifeBridge, University of Maryland and Associated Black Charities.

Scott reported: an engraved $15 mug from a leadership club at St. Paul’s School for Boys; another mug, worth $20, from Goucher College; a plaque worth $26 from Montebello Middle School; travel and hotel worth $342 from Big Mouth Productions to see the premier of the “Charm City” documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City; and the $764.28 in city costs for traveling to Fort Worth, Texas, with a council delegation to visit with former police commissioner designee Joel Fitzgerald.

And Comptroller Joan Pratt, as usual, reported her accounting business and a 22 percent ownership in 2 Chic Boutique, the Pigtown boutique she owned with former Mayor Catherine Pugh and that closed last year.

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