UPDATE: Members of the Maryland state legislature are urging the Prince George’s County School District to overhaul the rules for how board members use their taxpayer-funded credit cards, in the wake of an investigation by the News4 I-Team.
Del. Alonzo Washington (D-Hyattsville) said he’ll consider introducing legislation in January to prohibit the district from issuing credit cards to its board members. Washington said the use of those taxpayer-funded credit cards for meals and local hotels, detailed in the I-Team report, is a concern for his constituents. Washington said,
“They want us to do something about it,” Washington said
Washington said he’ll await the completion of an internal audit review of board credit card policy by the district before deciding whether to formally introduce the legislation.
“I’d want to see significant changes,” he said.
Del. Barbara Frush (D-Beltsville) said the district should consider cutting up the credit cards on its own.
“It’s a huge mistake for them to use the cards so freely for meals,” Frush said. “I’m clearly concerned when public money is used for private purposes.”
Prince George’s County school board members have spent several thousand dollars on more than 120 meals at restaurants near school district headquarters – including room service breakfasts, dozens of seafood dinners and private lunches – at taxpayers’ expense in recent months. Many of the meals were purchased by two of the 14 board members, according to a review of expense receipts by the News4 I-Team.
The I-Team’s review of school board expense receipts shows board members regularly use taxpayer-funded credit cards for sit-down meals together at seafood restaurants within minutes of their official meeting room in Upper Marlboro. The meals frequently included appetizers, dessert and $30-per-dish entrees. Taxpayer advocates and district parents said the expenses are unnecessary and a misuse of county school funds.
Boston and her colleagues frequented the Olde Towne Inn, a local institution within minutes of district headquarters. She expensed two different restaurant meals in one day, a $40 lunch at Olde Towne Inn and a $70 dinner at the Copper Canyon restaurant in Lanham on March 12.
A further review by the News4 I-Team found large out-of-town meal expenses, paid for with county-issued board member credit cards. In at least one instance, an official meal expense by a board member included the purchase of alcohol. A county administrator ordered the board member to reimburse taxpayers for the drinks, but not the food.
Prince George’s County School Board Receipts above shows alcoholic Beverages being served to Board members as part of the Menu.
Board members Verjeana Jacobs and Carolyn Boston combined for the largest number of meal expenses, according to the district’s expense receipts, in several cases for meals with each other. Jacobs frequented Jerry’s Seafood restaurant in Bowie, where multiple meals exceeded $40-per-person, including meals purchased on back-to-back days in the fall of 2013. Meal receipts obtained by the I-Team include a handwritten reference to the reason for the meal, including references to “budget”, “summer school” or “board structure.
Both lunch and dinner meetings at Maryland restaurants were expensed to taxpayers by Jacobs on Jan. 24. Jacobs also used her district credit card for a $100 dinner at an Italian restaurant during a board trip to Detroit.
Jacobs spent more than $2,500 on about 50 local restaurant meals since the beginning of 2013, according to the I-Team review. Boston spent more than $3,000 on restaurant food during the same time period, including a $29 room service eggs dish, while staying at a hotel at nearby National Harbor.
Political corruption under Rushern Baker regime appears to be gaining momentum at the Expense of the Prince George’s County citizenry. If left unchecked, the county will suffer severe damages. The Rushern Baker regime is far much worse in terms of corruption than all previous regimes combined. The Prince George’s County current regime Corruption is hidden in Plain Sight.
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)