Sun Investigates

Baltimore City ethics disclosures show disparity in reporting gifts

While many governments are moving toward posting ethics disclosure forms, residents of Baltimore still have to travel to City Hall and to a sixth-floor office to see the documents. To save you a trip, we're posting those forms from Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young and the rest of the City Council online. (The forms are posted to the left.)

Ten members of the City Council report that they received no gifts from people who do business with the city, according to recently filed disclosure forms. But two members reported that all council members have received tickets as gifts, though they don't specify what tickets or from whom.

The disparity underscores a continuing issue for the council: Members have different interpretations of what they should or shouldn't list on their ethics forms, which are seldom reviewed but could carry stiff penalties if found to be in error.

Robert Curran, Bill Henry, Rochelle "Rikki" Spector, Nick Mosby , Helen Holton, William "Pete" Welch , Edward Reisinger , William H. Cole IV , Warren Branch and Mary Pat Clarke all report receiving no significant gifts (valued at more than $20) from anyone who does business with the city.

However, James B. Kraft and Sharon Middleton report that all the council members get tickets as gifts.

"I accept tickets to events that are given to [the] entire city council." Middleton wrote on her ethics filing.

"I did attend events to which all council members were invited. I received tickets for some of these events, although not all," Kraft wrote.

Of council members, only President Bernard C. "Jack" Young and freshman Councilman Brandon M. Scott provided details about gifts they received in 2011. Scott reported receiving four tickets from Feld Entertainment to the Ringling Brothers Circus valued at $220.

Young reported receiving 19 gifts, mainly from other elected officials, but also from unions and organizations, such as the Maryland Jockey Club.

This year, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake reported receiving 44 gifts, including items from Baltimore Marathon president Lee Corrigan, Under Armour Inc. Senior Vice President J. Scott Plank, and Harbor East developer John Paterakis Sr. (Paterakis gave the mayor a $75 Christmas gift, which the mayor did not specify in her form.)

Note: Carl Stokes said he turned in his form Wednesday — 16 days after the April 30 deadline and after The Sun collected the forms. There is a $2-a-day late fee for not filing the form on time. He said his form is nearly identical to last year's filing, on which he reported receiving no gifts.