Violations of standards: failure to disclose a contractual relationship with a state agency
The Joint Committee concludes that Senator Young failed to disclose the details of a contractual relationship with Coppin State College, a State agency, in violation of 15-513(b)(4) of the State Government Article. The requirements of 15-513(b)(4) provide:
"(b) A legislator who enters into any of the listed transactions shall report in writing to the Joint Ethics Committee and the presiding officer of his branch of the legislature for recordation with the Clerk of the House of Delegates or Secretary of the Senate, at the times and in the manner required by the Joint Ethics Committee:
(4) details of any contractual relationship with the State or a State agency, including the subject matter and the consideration."
Conflicts of interest
The Joint Committee concludes that Senator Young participated legislation relating to Coppin State College during the 1997 Session as discussed above in which he was disqualified from participating due to a presumed conflict of interest in violation of 15-511 of the State Government Article, and which disqualification was never suspended by filing a statement with the Joint Committee as provided in 15-512 of the State Government Article.
Under 15-511(a) of the State Government Article, conflict of interest of a legislator is defined and provides that if a conflict exists, the legislator in question is disqualified from participating in any related legislation. ...The statute also sets out circumstances in which conflicts of interest are presumed to exist.
Disqualification of a legislator from participating in legislation under 15-511 of the State Government Article may be suspended under 115-512 if the legislator with a conflict files a sworn statement with the Joint Committee describing the circumstances of the apparent conflict and the related legislation, along with an assertion that the legislator is able to participate in the legislation fairly objectively, and in the public interest. If such a statement is filed, the Joint Committee has the authority to comment on the propriety of the legislator's participation. The requirements under 15-512 of the State Government Article provide:
"(a) The disqualification arising under 15-511 of this subtitle is suspended if a legislator with an apparent conflict files with the Joint Ethics Committee a sworn statement which describes the circumstances of the apparent conflict and the legislation to which it relates and asserts the legislator is able to vote and otherwise participate in legislative action relating thereto, fairly, objectively, and in the public interest.
Whenever a legislator files a statement for the suspension of the disqualification, the Joint Ethics Committee on its own motion may issue a statement concerning the propriety of the legislator's participation in the particular legislative action, with reference to the applicable ethical standards of this matter.
(b) The suspension of the disqualification by the filing of the statement is subject to further action by the Joint Ethics Committee if the question of conflict comes before it as to the same circumstances and the same legislator.
(c) All sworn statements filed under this section shall be a matter of public record."
Gift solicitation and acceptance
Solicitation and acceptance of a gift from Merit Behavioral Care Corporation
Merit Behavioral Care Corporation ("MBC") engaged the services LY Group, Inc., Senator Young's subchapter S for-profit corporation, in two written agreements for consulting services during 1996 and 1997. The 1996 contract extended from September 15 to December 31, 1996 for locating and developing business opportunities for MBC "except in the state of Maryland," essentially for $10,000 per month. That 1996 contract also provided for the LY Group to "assist MBC with the preparation of a budget for [a] study group and conference..." Budgeted and other approved expenses were to be advanced or paid, as the case might be, by MBC. After the proposed conference, LY Group was scheduled to receive an additional $10,000.
Much of the information relative to this relationship was supplied by Senator Young. MBC did not respond to the Joint Committee's requests for information.
The 1996 contract provided for Senator Young to assist MBC in establishing business relationships with minority owned healthcare enterprises, outside of Maryland. According to Senator Young, his consulting services under the 1996 contract consisted at first of getting to know the divisions of Merit. In addition, Senator Young said he helped to develop "initiatives" for obtaining "public sector money" in various states other than Maryland. No report or other written materials appear or were provided by Senator Young, aside from the bills. For these 1996 consulting services, Senator Young's LY Group was paid $35,000.