Some leaders in Baltimore’s Black community have expressed “significant concerns” with Baltimore City Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming’s investigations of several of the city’s Black politicians, including Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby and his wife Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. (Courtesy photos)
By Sean Yoes
AFRO Senior Reporter
The current federal criminal investigation of Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and her husband Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby splashed into the public arena when federal agents marched to City Hall and Mosby’s office as he presided over the Board of Estimates meeting on March 10.
But, recently video footage of the federal investigators entering City Hall reveals they were led by Baltimore Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming, who has been engaged in a months-long, very public tussle with Marilyn Mosby over the State’s Attorney’s travel history and expenditures. The image of Cumming leading investigators into City Hall has significantly raised concerns from Mosby supporters.
“Recognizing that she did nothing wrong, Baltimore’s State’s Attorney self-initiated an investigation by the Inspector General, who unfortunately did not follow the objective standards of her profession. The Inspector General intentionally omitted facts, failed to provide context for the information she received and erroneously misinterpreted laws, which she rightfully called into question the objectivity of her report,” said F. Scott Bolden, attorney for the Mosbys in a recently released statement.
Today (April 7), Bolden also released an annotated list of gifts the State’s Attorney received in 2019, produced by the Maryland State Ethics Commission. The agency requested Mosby amend her 2019 gift disclosure because it was allegedly “overly transparent,” according to a source familiar with the interaction between the Ethics Commission and Bolden.
“Now, the Inspector General is captured personally escorting federal agents into City Hall and directing them to the Council President while he was conducting a Board of Estimates meeting. This attempt to disrupt the hard work of Chairman Mosby, assisted by the IG, shows a coordinated, personal and purposeful attempt to cast public aspersions on my clients and to publicly disclose a grand jury investigation,” Bolden added. “Further, it speaks volumes to her ill intentions against Nick and Marilyn Mosby that appears to be personally, politically and even racially motivated.”
Cumming, who has been Inspector General for Baltimore City since 2018, said her escorting federal agents into City Hall was merely a “professional courtesy.”
“I was contacted by the local field office of the FBI and the IRS that we partner with and asked to quietly escort agents into City Hall as a professional courtesy which I did,” Cumming said. “In the end, we are on the same team with our federal and state partners with the shared mission to combat fraud, waste, abuse and corruption,” Cumming added.
However, there are some in the city that argue Cumming has revealed a “pattern” in her investigations.
“The Baltimore City NAACP has convened an esteemed group of African American leaders in the faith, legal, and civil rights community. Collectively, we have significant concerns about your conduct and the application of your authority wherein you appear to disproportionately target African American elected leadership as well as African American vendors and contractors within Baltimore City government,” reads a letter from NAACP Baltimore branch president Kobi Little, to Cumming.
“While we do not stand in support of any specific candidate or current office holder; recent events involving State’s Attorney Mosby are just an example of the disparate biased treatment of African American leaders and a tipping point for this call to action,” Little added. “We are concerned with not only the targets of your investigations that are overwhelmingly Black, but we are also concerned with your inability to follow the standards of your profession and the consistently improper accusatory tone of those you target.”
The ultimate purpose of the letter, beyond voicing “significant concerns” with her conduct, was allegedly to schedule a meeting with Cumming, who is the city’s first Latina and first woman inspector general.
The virtual Zoom meeting took place on March 5. Those in attendance included Cumming, members of her team, Dana Moore, Deputy City Solicitor and Chief Equity Officer for Baltimore City, Little, attorney J. Wyndal Gordon, Nicole Mundell, Executive Director of Out For Justice, Robyn Murphy of JRM Consultancy, among others. The meeting, contentious at times, ended with an agreement to craft a joint letter that acknowledged the meeting, that there was an exchange of information between the two sides and an agreement to continue the conversation. The original letter was drafted by Moore and sent out the morning of March 8. Later that day Cumming sent an email to the meetings participants obtained by the AFRO that reads as follows:
We do NOT approve the document for release today. My staff has serious family issues and we will revisit this statement tomorrow morning.
However, after a series of subsequent edits and conversations a consensus was never reached and the letter was never released.
“I understand all people bring their perspective to this experience but unfortunately Kobi Little has several facts he shared with you wrong,” said Anthony McCarthy, Special Agent for Communications, Office of the Inspector General, to the AFRO.
“The organization had already sent a letter to the oversight committee demanding they meet and condemning the Inspector General. She agreed to the meeting in good faith but Kobi had already came to a conclusion before he met with her,” McCarthy added.
“As far as a joint statement, the Inspector General did agree to release a joint statement but Kobi in fact refused to sign an edited statement. After five to 10 edited statements went between the group and the Inspector General, it was clear that a resolution could not be reached on the wording of the statement and it did not move forward.”