Young's driver had full-time job with city Chauffeur was also sanitation worker during summer

Ally paid him for a time

Senator's aide says worker held 2 jobs over the summer

December 12, 1997|By Walter F. Roche Jr. and Scott Higham | Walter F. Roche Jr. and Scott Higham,SUN STAFF

The man whom state Sen. Larry Young says he personally paid to chauffeur him around Maryland in the summer was simultaneously pulling down full-time pay as a sanitation worker for Baltimore's Department of Public Works.

Young said during a news conference last week that he was paying Pearly Blue Jr. to ferry him to political and business appointments as a representative of LY Group Inc., a private corporation the senator controls.

When he could no longer afford to pay Blue, Young said he asked a political ally who shares his Baltimore district office, Del. Ruth M. Kirk, if she could place Blue on the state payroll as an aide until he could raise enough money to bring Blue back onto his corporate staff.

Public records show that Blue was being paid by the city Department of Public Works as a full-time sanitation worker in the summer.

Blue was switched to Kirk's staff in October and continued working as Young's driver, according to the records.

In a written response to questions about Blue's multiple jobs, Young's top aide, John H. Francis, said yesterday that Blue was holding two jobs at the same time. He said Blue worked evenings and weekends for LY Group.

City officials, however, said Blue was working five days a week, including weekends.

Blue, 40, was paroled last year after serving a prison term for robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. He was charged with hitting a man in the head with a rock outside a Baltimore bar in 1993 and stealing $40, court records show.

Young said during the Dec. 3 news conference that he met Blue near his district office in West Baltimore. He said Blue, a recovering drug addict receiving treatment at a neighborhood clinic, asked him for a job. Young said he told Blue that he would consider hiring him if he kicked his habit and provided

him with the name of a counselor who could be a job reference.

Young said Blue later returned, telling the senator he was ready to work.

"Come July, I had to put up or shut up," Young said during the news conference. "I paid the young man out of my funds, and did so for the majority of the summer."

City records show Blue was placed on the public works payroll on July 21. Department spokesman Kurt L. Kocher said yesterday Blue was paid for a 40-hour week in the solid waste division for the entire period, which ended Sept. 29. Blue's rate of pay was $5.50 an hour.

During those two months, while he was assigned to collect trash in the city, Blue worked as Young's chauffeur, state records show.

Francis, Young's aide, wrote in a letter Oct. 21 to the state parole board that Blue had been working as a "special aide to Larry Young, chief executive officer of the LY Group," since July 26.

"Mr. Blue's primary responsibility as special aide to Mr. Young is the safe and timely transportation of the CEO to all [appointments] and engagements, timely preventive maintenance and appearance of the vehicle, as well as minor office/clerical support," Francis wrote.

Francis said yesterday he wrote the letter because Blue told him "he needed confirmation of employment and a brief job description. In response to this request, I signed the letter and gave it to Mr. Blue for delivery to his probation officer."

Francis said he took "full responsibility" for the letter. "I signed it," he said. He said Blue is still a part-time employee of LY Group.

Blue could not be reached for comment. "Mr. Blue has left for the day," an aide to the senator said last night.

After Blue left the Public Works payroll on Sept. 29, he was placed on the state payroll as a $1,000-a-month aide to Kirk, who shares Young's district office near the B&O Railroad Museum.

"I asked Delegate Kirk if she would be kind enough to consider taking the young man on until I could work through the process of getting some money to bring him back with me," Young said during the news conference.

While being paid by taxpayers to work for Kirk, Blue continued to work as a chauffeur for Young. He was frequently seen driving the senator to appointments around the city and the state, and he was photographed by The Sun as he got out from behind the wheel of Young's 1995 Lincoln Town Car EX on Nov. 20.

Kirk said in an interview last week that she was unaware Blue was on parole or that state records showed he was on the LY Group payroll. She said Blue was removed from her payroll on Dec. 1, the day The Sun notified Young in a hand-delivered letter that the paper was preparing a report about his outside business interests, including the use of public employees on his corporate staff.

Two days later, The Sun published a report detailing how Young has been using his district office to generate fees from public institutions and health care firms with millions of dollars in state business at stake.

The state Joint Legislative Ethics Committee is examining Young's conduct, and the state prosecutor's office has launched a criminal investigation into the senator's outside businesses and the use of his legislative office.

The day the newspaper published the report, Young held the news conference to refute its findings. Referring to Blue's employment, Young said he was simply trying to help someone in need.

"I looked at myself as just doing what I can do," Young said. "But I can see there are double standards, and I am convinced that the agenda, it looks very clear, that the target is me."

Pub Date: 12/12/97

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