Board rules Baltimore council president broke ethics rules

May 13, 2022, 2:26 PM | Updated: 2:53 pm
FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019 file photo, Maryland State Attorney Marilyn Mosby, left, sp...

FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019 file photo, Maryland State Attorney Marilyn Mosby, left, speaks while standing next to her husband, Maryland Assemblyman Nick Mosby, during a viewing service for the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings at Morgan State University in Baltimore. Baltimore’s ethics board ordered Nick Mosby, the city council president Thursday, May 13, 2022 to stop accepting money from a legal defense fund that took donations from at least two city contractors. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore’s ethics board has ordered the city council president to stop accepting money from a legal defense fund that took donations from at least two city contractors.

The Board of Ethics also ruled Thursday that Council President Nick Mosby violated the city’s ethics ordinance by indirectly soliciting for the defense fund established for Mosby and his wife, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, as they faced a federal criminal investigation, The Baltimore Sun reported.

The council president is not facing federal charges, but his wife is scheduled for trial in September on charges that she made false statements on financial documents to withdraw money from her retirement savings and purchase two Florida vacation homes. Marilyn Mosby has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In August, the defense fund received $5,000, its largest individual contribution, from the “resident agent” for a business that was a subcontractor on a deal the city’s spending board considered in 2020, according to the Board of Ethics. The fund also received a $100 donation from the executive director of a nonprofit organization that was awarded a grant by the city. The donors aren’t named, but city ethics law bars elected officials from receiving contributions from such donors.

In a statement, Nick Mosby said he was “perplexed” by the findings and he denied violating the city’s ethics code. He said he “proactively disclaimed” any interest in the legal defense fund, never received money from it and “instructed the trust to return the limited amount of funds received on my behalf” in advance of the board’s findings.

The fund received $14,352 in donations as of March 15 from 135 donors, according to the ruling.

In a letter to council members and the mayor, the board said it issued a notice of the finding so the council can take “appropriate action as required by the ethics law.”

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Board rules Baltimore council president broke ethics rules