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The Case Against Sen. Larry Young

The Washington Post
Thursday, January 15, 1998; Page A12

The Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics recommended Monday that the Senate consider expelling Sen. Larry Young (D-Baltimore). The recommendation was based on the following findings of ethical violations, among others:

Failure to disclose a contractual relationship with a state agency and conflicts of interest relating to Young's consulting relationship with Coppin State College in Baltimore.

  • The ethics committee found that Young reached an agreement with the president of Coppin State to do consulting work at $4,000 a month, later increasing to $5,000 a month, but did not disclose the arrangement and did not ask to be excused from voting on matters concerning Coppin State.

    Improper gift solicitation and acceptance.

  • Merit Behavioral Care Corp., a regulated lobbyist, engaged a Young business, the LY Group, for consulting services in 1996 and 1997. The committee concluded that the amount Young received in 1996 to organize a minority health care conference, about $57,000, was "beyond normal and fair consideration for those services" and therefore constituted an illegal gift from Merit Behavioral Care, a lobbyist.
  • The committee also said that in November 1995, Baltimore businessman Willie Runyon accompanied Young to a car dealership, where Runyon paid $24,800 for a blue Lincoln Town Car and then put the car's title in Young's name. Young later obtained a loan of more than $20,000, using the car as collateral to obtain funds for his personal use, according to the committee. Young indicated to the committee that he intended to reimburse Runyon for the purchase of the car, but the committee said there was no evidence to date that he had done so. At the time, Young was chairman of the health subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee, which the ethics panel noted was instrumental in drafting legislation affecting the Maryland Medicaid program. Runyon owns a Baltimore ambulance company that receives thousands of dollars in Medicaid reimbursements.

    Improper use of distruct office funds.

  • The committee accused Young of violating General Assembly guidelines by using public funds to help defray the costs of running his business, which shares office space with his district office.

    Improper use of title for commercial purposes and use of prestige of office in connection with a member's private, professional or occupational activities.

  • The committee said Young violated standards set by the committee that prohibit legislators from using the prestige of their office for commercial purposes. For instance, the committee siad, Young listed his title as "Senator" in conjunction with his personal business activities on the agendas for both the 1996 and 1997 conferences of a black health study group controlled by Young.

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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