The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Wes Moore pays $21,000 water bill after charges are made public

Maryland Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wes Moore and his wife, Dawn Moore, at their home in Baltimore on Sept. 6. (Bryan Woolston/AP)

Maryland gubernatorial hopeful Wes Moore paid a $21,200 Baltimore City water bill on Wednesday after a news outlet reported that the last time the bill was paid was in March of last year.

Moore’s campaign said Thursday that the candidate and his wife, Dawn Flythe Moore, were unaware of the bill and “paid the current balance out of an abundance of caution while they review the accuracy of the charges.”

“Voters should know that the Moores paid the bill as soon as they became aware of it,” said Brian Jones, a spokesman for Moore.

Baltimore Brew reported Wednesday that Moore owed tens of thousands of dollars in water and sewer charges and that the couple had not paid the bill over the past 18 months. The Moores made their last payment, $2,000, in March 2021.

The Moores said through a spokesman that they never received a shut-off notice or delinquency notice. The city has had a history of sending incorrect bills and of residents being unaware of how much they owe.

An audit of the city’s water billing found that Baltimore has no process for collecting delinquent bills, resulting in substantial financial loss to the city. Baltimore manages 400,000 total water meters in the city and in Baltimore County.

Moore, the Democratic nominee, is facing Republican Dan Cox in the gubernatorial contest in November. A recent Washington Post-University of Maryland poll found Moore leads the race by a 2-to-1 margin, with the best-selling author and former nonprofit chief holding a 32 percentage point advantage over the Donald Trump-endorsed, conservative delegate from Frederick.

This article has been updated with additional comment from Brian Jones.