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In the Media: Settlement in Sex-For-Repairs Lawsuit; Nick Mosby Releases Wide-Ranging Platform

Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano.
Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano.

A digest of Baltimore news from local sources.

From the Baltimore Sun: Housing Authority Reaches Settlement Agreement in Sex-For-Repairs Scheme

"The Housing Authority of Baltimore City has reached a settlement agreement in a class-action lawsuit that alleges maintenance men demanded sex acts from at least 19 women as a condition of making repairs to their homes, the parties confirmed Monday.

"Paul T. Graziano, Baltimore housing chief, and Cary J. Hansel, a lawyer representing the women, said they reached an agreement for an undisclosed amount of money, pending approval by the court and the U.S. Department of Housing.

"Settlement talks were held Dec. 14 and Dec. 22 before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Susan K. Gauvey, but online court records contain few details on the meetings.

"Hansel and Graziano, through a spokeswoman, acknowledged the agreement but declined further comment.

"The tenants — who were seeking more than $10 million each — contend that several maintenance men at Gilmor Homes, Westport and Govans Manor sexually abused and harassed them in recent years. They claim their constitutional and fundamental rights were violated. Some say they lived for extended periods with no heat, gas leaks, and roach infestations."

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From the Baltimore Sun: Nick Mosby Calls for Property Tax Cuts, Universal Pre-K, Police Reform

"Mayoral candidate Nick J. Mosby plans to release a wide-ranging platform calling for lower property taxes, universal pre-K and police reform, among other ideas.

"The West Baltimore councilman's "15-point Plan for Baltimore's Future," to be formally released Tuesday, calls for changes in city government ranging from education to jobs to crime.

'It's a comprehensive plan,' Mosby said Monday. 'We are unafraid to go after things that are challenging — like systemic issues that have impacted communities for decades. We also want to create a 21st Century city.'

"To improve education, he wants to float bonds to pay for pre-kindergarten for all children. He also wants to build 'state of the art' recreation centers on vacant properties and create a new mayoral office emphasizing 'education reform.'

"To reform policing, Mosby says he will speed up implementation of the police department's body camera program, do away with gag orders in settlements over police misconduct, and increase funding for the police department's Warrant Apprehension Unit.

"To spur economic development, Mosby wants to lower the city's property tax rate, give additional tax breaks to city workers, and offer financial incentives for employers who hire ex-offenders.

"Mosby does not offer specific costs for his proposals and does not say just how he will pay for them, but argues the city's more than $3 billion budget has enough money if resources are reallocated."

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From the Washington Post: Governor Brings Battle Against Urban Blight to Baltimore

"Gov. Larry Hogan is bringing his fight against urban blight to the Baltimore neighborhood where Freddie Gray grew up.

"The Republican governor scheduled an announcement Tuesday afternoon in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood. Other scheduled speakers include Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and state Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth Holt.

"Hogan spokesman Matt Clark said last month the governor was finalizing a plan to address urban decay in Baltimore and would include money in the state budget for it.

"The city of 620,000 has about 17,000 vacant homes. They are concentrated in the impoverished neighborhoods that saw rioting, looting and arson after Gray died in April from injuries he suffered in police custody.

"Hogan wrote in a September op-ed in The Baltimore Sun that empty buildings encourage criminal activity and impede private investment."

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