Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore owes Baltimore City $21,200, having failed to pay any water and sewage charges over the last 18 months, online records show.
Reached tonight, Moore’s campaign spokesman, Brian Adam Jones, did not dispute the accuracy of the bills.
“We’re looking into this and will make sure it’s resolved as soon as possible,” he said.
MOORES PAY THE BILL
UPDATE 10 p.m.: Three hours after this report was posted, the campaign announced that “the Moores have paid the current balance out of an abundance of caution while they review the accuracy of the charges.”
The payments are due on a 8,000-square-foot house that Moore and his wife, Dawn Flythe Moore, purchased five years ago for $2.35 million.
Overlooking Sherwood Gardens in Baltimore’s Guilford neighborhood, the Colonial Georgian residence features a heated outdoor swimming pool as well as six bedrooms and seven bathrooms.
The Brew is not publishing the address of the property for security reasons.
Online records (see below) show that the couple’s last water payment – for $2,000 – was recorded on March 31, 2021, or shortly before Moore announced his campaign for governor.
The inspirational bestselling author and former nonprofit executive had never before run for elective office, but handily won the Democratic Party primary last July. Polls show him significantly ahead of his Republican opponent, Dan Cox, in the November general election.
As governor, Moore says he will direct more state resources to Baltimore and will partner with Mayor Brandon Scott to fight crime.
Last spring, Moore faced questions in the media about assertions he made in his book “The Other Wes Moore” and in television interviews about his close connections to Baltimore while growing up, even though he had spent his childhood and teen years elsewhere.
This report is the first disclosure of Moore’s delinquent water bill.
It should be noted that, as expected, the candidate is current on his Guilford property tax bill.
Records show that JP Morgan Chase Bank, which collects property taxes as part of its $1.9 million mortgage on the house, paid $13,625 for the first half of the year. A second property tax installment is due by December 31.
By law, outstanding water bills must be paid before a house is sold, so the Moores faced no delinquent bills when they purchased the Guilford property in February 2017.
In March 2019, they received a homestead tax credit by vouching that the property was their primary residence.
Outside of the information listed online, the Department of Public Works (DPW) does not comment on customer water bills, so there is no public record about how the account became so delinquent.
Two months ago, the account was $20,698.94 in the red. After a September 14 reading, the balance was adjusted upward to $21,200.26.
No payments were made by the latest September 26 due date.
No System to Collect Overdue Bills
On its bills, DPW includes this warning to customers: “Failure to make timely payment may result in penalties and discontinuance of service.”
But City Auditor Josh Pasch noted earlier this year that DPW does not have mechanisms in place to collect delinquent bills.
Although the high-tech UMAX billing system generates a monthly report that lists all outstanding bills, the agency does not attempt to collect the delinquent funds, Pasch wrote.
It does not mail out late notices to customers whose bills grow more and more overdue. Nor does it forward the delinquent bills to the law department or a collection agency to collect the debt.
Last February, The Brew reported that City Council President Nick Mosby and his wife, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, failed to pay multiple water bills at their Reservoir Hill residence.
The debt was paid shortly after the article was published.