Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby files to run for second term, defying critics

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BALTIMORE — On the eve of the deadline, Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby filed to run for a second term Thursday, making his campaign official despite scrutiny in the wake of his testimony at his ex-wife’s federal trial.

Mosby, a Democrat who has served as the city council president since 2020, filed midday Thursday with a visit to the Baltimore City Board of Elections.

Mosby was previously prevented from filing by about $8,000 in fines accumulated due to late filings on past campaign finance reports, including the most recent one due in January. Last week, Mosby paid off more than $4,000 in fines, while others were expected to be waived. As of Wednesday, however, state records showed he still owed $1,375.

By Thursday, Mosby’s balance was $717. Allen Norfleet, director of candidacy and campaign finance for the Maryland State Board of Elections, said the state has received a “pending payment” for Mosby’s remaining fines. The board must vote on waivers before they are granted, but it will not meet again until Feb. 22. Mosby was cleared to file as he awaits the waiver, Norfleet said. His waiver submission will not be made public until after the meeting.

Mosby faces a challenge from Councilman Zeke Cohen and former Councilwoman Shannon Sneed, both of whom filed to run weeks earlier. Both are Democrats.

The council president’s late entry into the race fueled speculation that he may not enter in light of damaging testimony he provided during the second federal trial of his ex-wife, Marilyn Mosby. Prosecutors said Mosby, while serving as a member of the Baltimore City Council in 2014 and 2015, falsely claimed thousands of dollars of charitable deductions on his taxes.

Mosby claimed he gave a total of $36,000 to charity in those tax years, but federal prosecutors said an expert reviewed his and his former wife’s records and found they didn’t have enough money between the two of them to give that much away.

Testimony revealed Mosby fell behind on the mortgage of his Reservoir Hill home at the time and had his car repossessed because he was in arrears on his payment. From 2014 to 2018, his wages were garnished to pay off student loans. In 2015, he was “tens of thousands of dollars” behind on taxes, testimony showed.

On the witness stand, Mosby took the blame for the onetime Baltimore power couple’s federal tax delinquency, saying he alone handled their taxes and that he wasn’t transparent with his wife as the debt accumulated.

On Tuesday, a jury returned a split verdict, finding Marilyn Mosby guilty on one count of mortgage fraud and not guilty on a second count.

During his first public appearance after the verdict Wednesday, Mosby said he “wholeheartedly” believes he can continue to do the job of council president, which involves chairing the city’s spending board and vetting the city’s annual budget of $3.5 billion.

However, Mosby expressed regret for lying to the public, specifically during a November 2020 news conference when he said publicly that his tax debt was paid off although it was not.

“I think voters know who I am. I’ve been in an elected position for over a decade,” he said Wednesday. “I think they know that this was an extremely personal matter. That’s probably how I should have answered the question.”

Although Mosby announced he was running for office nearly a year ago, he has been slow to stand up a formal campaign. His campaign website remains inactive, and he had just $14,500 in his campaign fund entering 2023. He has since raised $168,000, but lags behind Cohen, who has $532,233 on hand heading into the final stretch before the May 14 primary.

Of his opponents, only Sneed has spoken out publicly against Mosby following his turn on the witness stand.

“No one should be above the law,” she said in a statement last week. “We need a leader who isn’t battling federal prosecutors.”

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