Federal prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby and State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, subpoenaing her campaign and the couple’s business records, according to a grand jury subpoena obtained by the Baltimore Sun.
In addition, Union Baptist Church received a federal grand jury subpoena seeking information about whether Nick Mosby had made contributions there, the church’s attorney, Robert Dashiell, confirmed. The pastor of another major church, Bethel AME, also said he received a subpoena, though the Rev. Patrick Clayborn said he did not know details of what it was seeking.
Federal agents visited Nick Mosby at City Hall last week, according to two sources.
Nick Mosby, who was elected last year to his post, has not responded to multiple requests seeking comment. Marilyn Mosby, the two-term top prosecutor, also did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Their lawyer, A. Scott Bolden, issued a statement calling the investigation “a political witch hunt in its purest form.”
“My clients are progressive change agents, making them unfair targets of unnecessary scrutiny by federal investigators. Nevertheless, I can assure you and the people of Baltimore, they have done nothing illegal, inappropriate or unlawful,” he wrote.
Bolden said he advised the Mosbys not to discuss the matter, and they will cooperate with investigators “to fight for the truth to come out.”
Federal authorities have declined to discuss the investigation. The records are listed in a subpoena issued last week to Marilyn Mosby’s campaign treasurer and obtained under Maryland’s Public Information Act.
The treasurer, Sharif Small, had forwarded the subpoena to state elections officials along with an email about the use of campaign funds for legal fees.
Prosecutors also asked Small to supply records related to the private travel and consulting companies of the Mosbys. The companies listed include Nick Mosby’s firm of Monumental Squared LLC and Marilyn Mosby’s Mahogany Elite Travel and Consulting.
The state’s attorney has said she formed Mahogany Elite Travel to help underserved Black families vacation around the world at affordable rates. She said the companies exists in name only.
Of the subpoena sent to Union Baptist Church, Dashiell said he reviewed its records and found that Nick Mosby had made a negligible donation. “I spend more at Starbucks,” Dashiell said.
Emerson L. Dorsey Jr., an attorney for the Mosbys’ church, New Psalmist Baptist Church, declined to discuss whether the church had received a subpoena.
The couple has drawn scrutiny in recent months for business and financial dealings. The Sun reported in October that the Internal Revenue Service filed a $45,000 lien against their home for three years worth of unpaid taxes.
The IRS filing shows the couple owed nearly $23,000 for the 2014 tax year, more than $19,000 for 2015 and about $3,000 for 2016. Nick Mosby, 43, said the debts stem from his early withdrawals of retirement savings because of “unplanned expenses after a series of family tragedies.” Marilyn Mosby has said only that she was unaware of the lien.
Online court records do not show the lien as paid, though Nick Mosby said in December that he paid off the amount. He has declined to discuss the matter further.
Marilyn Mosby, meanwhile, has been embroiled in a tense back-and-forth with the office of the Baltimore inspector general. Mosby faced growing questions last summer about her trips abroad to criminal justice conferences and her private travel businesses. She publicly asked the inspector general to open an investigation. Mosby said any investigation would dispel and suggestion of wrongdoing.
Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming published her investigation seven months later, finding Mosby spent 144 days away in 2018 and 2019 — or one workday a week; Mosby’s office has disputed the number of days.
Cumming faulted Mosby for not requesting approval from the city’s spending panel for more than a dozen trips in 2018 and 2019. Nonprofit groups flew her to conferences in destinations such as Kenya, Scotland and Portugal. Private attorneys for Mosby fired back, arguing that because the nonprofit groups and not taxpayers paid for her travels, Mosby had no obligation to request approval.
A $3,250 payment made by Mosby’s campaign to her private attorneys led James Cabezas, the former political-corruption investigator for Maryland, to request the state prosecutor investigate. Maryland election laws forbid candidates from using campaign funds for personal, legal defenses. Her attorney said the money was refunded.
Last month, Baltimore City Solicitor Jim Shea issued an opinion that found no fault with the state’s attorney. He concluded that the city’s rules for travel by elected officials are ambiguous and inconsistently applied. Mayor Brandon Scott (D) assigned a work group to review the city rules and correct the ambiguities.
Then leaders of the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP stepped in, saying the investigation into Mosby brought to a “tipping point” their concerns about the inspector general’s office and “what appears to be disparate and biased treatment of African American leaders.”
Cumming was appointed in 2018 and became the first woman and first Latina to serve as the city’s inspector general. NAACP leaders announced last month that Cumming had accepted their invitation to meet and discuss the concerns. Both sides have declined to discuss the meeting.
— Baltimore Sun
Emily Opilo contributed to this report.