Leaked documents that reveal Councilwoman Belinda Conaway, D-7, owns a home in Randallstown have many questioning whether she lives in Baltimore City.
Under city charter rules, city councilpersons are mandated to reside within the district they represent, but according to a deed leaked by political blogger and city council aspirant Adam Meister, Conaway may have lived outside the 7th district for several years.
In the deed dated June 21, 2006, Conaway amends ownership of a Randallstown home she purchased in 1997, adding her husband and her married name, Belinda Washington. She also signed an affidavit that day, certifying the home as her principal residence.
Yet Conaway insists she lives on 3210 Liberty Heights Ave., a 2.5-story brick home located at the far edge of her district.
According to the Maryland Elections Center, she, her brother State Delegate Frank M. Conaway Jr. and her father, Clerk of the Court Frank M. Conaway Sr., list that same Ashburton address as their primary residence. State records show Conaway Sr. owns the property.
The Conaway family has dominated city elections for decades with their powerful last name and “Mama Bear, Papa Bear, and Baby Bear” campaigns. Mother Mary Conaway is associated with another address on Cross Country Boulevard.
When the AFRO knocked on the door of the Ashburton home last weekend, a man who sounded like Conaway Sr. responded from a window. Soon after, Belinda Conaway answered the door.
While inside, she asserted that she and her husband own the Randallstown property but she lives at the Ashburton dwelling. She would not say whether her husband lived with her. “My husband is not an elected official,” she said.
The councilwoman said she welcomes other media outlets to show up unannounced any morning to watch her leave to take her two children to school.
A woman who lives directly behind the Ashburton property said she sees Conaway leave the home regularly. “Her car is parked there every morning and she speaks and she’s always nice,” the woman said.
But a man who lives next door to the Randallstown home said he sees Conaway there at least four times a week. He pointed out vehicles that he said belong to her husband and mother-in-law.
No one answered when the AFRO rang the doorbell of the two-story, vinyl siding home on Southall Road, although two cars were parked in the driveway.
Conaway said the “whirlwind” of attention surrounding her residency is “a little bit funny.” “My properties are public information,” she said. “This is not something new.”
She wouldn’t say if she rents out the property in Randallstown.
At least two other city councilpersons have faced residency issues in recent years. Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young was challenged about a property he listed as his primary address that was found to have unoccupied-like water bills last year, and political insiders joke that Councilwoman Rochelle “Rikki” Spector, D-5, actually lives in a ritzy condominium with her boyfriend in the 11th district.
A spokesman for Young’s office said the Ethics Board or Inspector General would handle sanctions if a councilperson was found to live outside their district.