After City Council President Jack Young invited reporters on a tour of two houses he owns in East Baltimore to clear up questions about his residency, he is now accused of purchasing a home with taxpayer dollars intended for poor people. During a news conference last week, Young defended himself by responding to what he termed another “attack” initiated by WBAL reporter Jayne Miller.
Miller initially questioned the 10-year Council veteran about whether he lives on Madison Street as records signed under oath state water bills show no recent use. That issue seemed resolved when Young stated he also owns a second home on Central Avenue, but Miller now asserts the second home is supported by federal funds for low-income residents.
During the conference last Friday, Young said he bought a home for his sister, Cynthia Young, on N. Durham Street. When the house was condemned, the home on Central Avenue was purchased in exchange as part of a renewal project more than a decade ago.
Miller reports that along with a housing replacement payment of $22,500, Cynthia Young received a $20,300 community development block grant, called a loan, which would be forgiven if she adhered to several rules, which included the sale or transfer of the home.
Miller reported that Cynthia added her brother’s name to the deed shortly after the agreement was signed in July 2001, which violated the agreement. But Young said his name was on the original deed and should therefore have transferred over to the new one.
“The company that ran the program did not list my name,” he said. “Later, I pointed out the error and the deed was corrected.”
City housing officials said they would look into the matter to check for any violations in the agreement, which may have forbidden an elected official from obtaining a personal or financial interest in the property.
However, Young said his sister was incorrectly advised to apply for the loan to account for the difference between the purchase price of the new home and what he and his sister were paid for the old house.
“The federal program calls for homeowners to be made whole in the relocation process, which means the federal program should have paid for the replacement house in full,” he said. “It did not. None of the funds used to purchase my home involved money for low-income housing. Hundreds of families were bought out at all income levels. To say my home was purchased with money meant for the poor is simply not true.”