New inspectors cannot own rental units Those on payroll can't acquire new properties

November 20, 1996|By Robert Guy Matthews | Robert Guy Matthews,SUN STAFF

In a further tightening of city ethics rules, Baltimore Housing Commissioner Daniel P. Henson III announced yesterday that newly hired building and housing inspectors will not be allowed to own rental properties.

The move comes as the department responds to revelations by The Sun this year that at least five housing officials were allowed to own blighted properties in the city for years with little or no enforcement action by the agency.

One city housing inspections chief owned more than a dozen substandard rental houses in Baltimore.

In the coming months, Henson said, Housing and Community Development and the Housing Authority of Baltimore City will hire dozens of new inspectors. He said that building and housing inspectors to be employed by HCD and housing inspectors to be employed by HABC will be covered by the new rule.

Current inspectors will be barred from acquiring more rental properties under the new edict.

"You ought not to give the appearance of being in conflict," Henson said yesterday.

For months, Henson and Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke have been cracking down on housing department officials and other city employees who own rental properties.

In February, Henson ordered all Housing and Community Development employees to complete a 16-page disclosure form and update it yearly. In April, the mayor directed all city employees to disclose any real estate interests they own in the city.

Pub Date: 11/20/96

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