Last week, President Trump tweeted that money that had been pumped into the city of Baltimore over the years had been stolen or wasted, writing, “Baltimore’s numbers are the worst in the United States on Crime and the Economy. Billions of dollars have been pumped in over the years, but to no avail. The money was stolen or wasted.”
Trump also told reporters, “I’m pointing out the tremendous corruption that’s taken place in Baltimore and other Democrat-run cities. All you have to do is look at the past mayors in Baltimore to see what’s happened,” The Baltimore Sun reported.
Lester Davis, a spokesman for Democratic Mayor Bernard C. Jack Young, fired back, “We know that this president often does not rely on the truth, so we’re not going to dignify nonsense with a response. It’s just patently false.”
According an analysis of Baltimore’s 2018 city audit by The Daily Mail, millions of dollars that have been invested in the city are unaccounted for. The Daily Mail reports, “The audit notes numerous ‘significant deficiencies’ and ‘material weaknesses’ across almost every department and found a consistent lack of any internal tracking of funds. The accounting for some departments was found to be so lacking that the sum of questioned funds is simply labeled ‘Unknown.’”
The Daily Mail noted, “City Auditor Audrey Askew resigned from her post in February of this year amid rumors that she had been pressured to ‘write off’ sums of money that were otherwise unaccounted for.” The Baltimore Brew reported in April that Askew “expressed concern to colleagues that she was getting incorrect and unsupported numbers from the Finance Department,” adding:
The numbers – which Finance said accounted for federal grants to city agencies as well as cash and investments on hand – led Askew to press for a “qualified” or “modified” opinion to the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). Such an opinion could affect Baltimore’s credit rating and also result in queries by federal agencies over the city’s use of grant money. As a result, Askew was encouraged to “go easy” on city finances.
Before that, in March 2018, Askew told Baltimore’s spending panel, “The city is not able to establish accurate balances of grant accounts.” The Baltimore Sun reported at the time, “Baltimore’s problem with tracking grant money has existed for years. Several previous examinations have found that city officials have failed to properly account for millions of dollars in grant funds,” adding, “In 2014, a finance department study found city agencies couldn’t account for as much as $40 million in grant money from state, federal and other sources.”
The Daily Mail pointed out, “The Department of Housing and Urban Development ordered the city to repay $3.7 million from a grant awarded to serve homeless people. The city claimed to have dispersed the money to anti-poverty organizations that didn’t properly document how it was spent.”
The Baltimore Sun noted, “Over the last five years, Baltimore has received $903 million in federal grants for operating and capital expenses, according to city budget documents. Over the same period, the federal government also provided $1.1 billion to the Housing Authority of Baltimore City, according to USASpending.gov.”