After Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby failed to obtain a lawyer, a judge agreed to delay a hearing on an ethics dispute that found Mosby violated the city’s ethics ordinance by collecting money for a legal-defense fund.
Mosby is disputing the ruling by Baltimore’s Board of Ethics, which called on him to cease fundraising for a legal-defense fund in his name and turn over a list of donors. The ruling, issued in May, found Mosby violated the city’s ethics ordinance by indirectly soliciting for the fund that took donations from at least two city contractors.
Mosby initially said he would comply with the order but in June took the issue to court, filing a two-page motion challenging the board’s findings without the help of an attorney.
Days before a hearing scheduled for Monday, Mosby filed an “emergency” motion requesting a postponement because he was “unable” to get a lawyer.
During a virtual hearing Monday, Baltimore Circuit Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill granted Mosby’s request for a postponement, extending the hearing date until Jan. 10. Although the judge said Mosby had “no good excuse” for not filing his postponement request earlier, he called the case “important” and said Mosby should have the benefit of an attorney to make an argument in court.
Maryland Policy & Politics
Mosby already has missed the deadline to submit a written argument in the case, but Fletcher-Hill said he would entertain a request from a lawyer, if Mosby is able to retain one, to submit a memo making an argument. He declined to set a deadline for such a request.
Mosby, a Democrat who has been serving as council president since December 2020, said he had been unable to find a lawyer because of the unique nature of the ethics case. Local attorneys he has consulted had conflicts of interest, he said.
“I thought I was really close but unfortunately the conflict of interest thing kind of happened again,” Mosby said when asked if he was close to getting counsel. “I believe I’m going to have to go outside this area.”
The dispute arose from a fund established for the legal defense of the council president and his wife, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, as they faced a federal criminal investigation last year into their financial dealings. Although Nick Mosby has not been charged with anything, Marilyn Mosby was charged this year with perjury and making false statements related to the withdrawal of funds from her city retirement account and the purchase of two Florida houses. Her trial, postponed multiple times, is set for March.
In its order, the Board of Ethics called on the council president to accept no payments from the fund and to ask the fund to cease fundraising on his behalf. Nick Mosby also was ordered to request that a list of all donors and donations to the fund be provided to the ethics board. The deadline to comply with the order was in June.
According to the Board of Ethics, the Mosby’s legal defense fund received $5,000, its largest individual contribution, in August 2021 from the “resident agent” for a contractor that is a city-certified minority- or woman-owned business. The business was a subcontractor on a deal considered in 2020 by the city’s spending board on which Mosby sits, the board reported.
It also received a $100 donation from the executive director of a nonprofit organization that was awarded a multi-thousand dollar grant by the city in March.