Lt. Gov. Brown, Annapolis disclose Vegas spending, apologize for lateness

At least $55,000 in taxpayer dollars spent by nine agencies at networking event

August 08, 2012|By Luke Broadwater | The Baltimore Sun

Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Annapolis Mayor Joshua Cohen this week disclosed to The Sun how much money their administrations spent attending a May convention in Las Vegas, two months after the legal deadline to respond to a public information request. 

Representatives for both men apologized for the lateness of the disclosures. 

* Brown and his chief of staff spent just more than $3,000 in taxpayer money at the event, the Global Retail Real Estate Convention, which was attended by about 40 members from the state and seven local governments. Brown and Maia Hunt-Estes spent more than $300 on food at the annual four-day conference of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), which serves as the ultimate business-government networking event and has more than 20,000 attendees. 

* Cohen spent more than $2,000, including more than $300 for meals and $1,000 for travel. His expenses were paid for by the Annapolis Economic Development Corp., which earlier in the week refused to release any information about funds spent on the trip, arguing that it is a private entity and not subject to public information laws. 

After learning this, Annapolis spokeswoman Rhoda Wardlaw released the information and emphasized that the development corporation receives taxpayer money and should respond with transparency to public information requests. 

The new disclosures reveal that at least $55,000 in taxpayer money was spent by nine area agencies on the trip.  

The Sun continues to wait for a complete response for the city of Baltimore's expenses. The city, which sent nine staff members, including Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake -- who was featured in a panel discussion -- has released only some of its expenditures for the trip. 

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