Annapolis, MD—In his three years as governor, Larry Hogan has been profiting handsomely from his real estate businesses, according to a Baltimore Sun report published today. Meantime, wages for the average Marylander have been flat. Maryland Democrats say it’s time for the governor to divest and be transparent with taxpayers by making public all properties in which the Hogan Companies has a financial interest.
Hogan is following in the footsteps of the leader of his party, Donald Trump, by putting his own family members in charge of his businesses and refusing to divest from his assets. The Sun also reported that “several projects have been met with controversy in the communities where they’re being built.”
“For the past four years, Larry Hogan has been raking in millions in profits from his businesses while Marylanders have seen their wages fall behind the region and the nation,” said Maryland Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Matthews. “Just like Donald Trump, Larry Hogan’s businesses are still being operated by his closest relatives, they are cloaked in secrecy, and they raise many questions about the decisions he makes as governor. It’s time for Governor Hogan to divest from his companies so Marylanders can be certain that Hogan is working for them, instead of putting millions into his bank account. In the meantime, Maryland taxpayers deserve full transparency and the Governor should make public all properties in which the Hogan Companies has a financial interest.”
Ethics leaders from across the state have questioned the ethics of Hogan’s current involvement with his companies:
- “[Divestment] is the only way to absolutely avoid a possibility of a conflict of interest,” Damon Effingham, acting Director of Common Cause Maryland said. “The governor has a good deal of say over state policy decisions including transportation projects. There’s going to be a concern when you’re in the real estate industry about how your companies might be benefited from canceling or approving a transportation project.”
- Alfred H. Guy Jr., director of the Hoffberger Center for Professional Ethics at the University of Baltimore, said Hogan should erect a stronger wall between himself and the trust. The governor, ideally, shouldn’t receive any information about his real estate business until he leaves office, Guy said. “When you’re in a big position in a small state, everything can be seen or perceived as a conflict of interest. The blind trust is the best way to go. He should say, ‘I trust you guys to do it. Let’s keep it clean and separate.’”
- State Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr., said he’s concerned there isn’t a blind trust separating Hogan from the firm now headed by his brother. “How do you not have a conversation during Thanksgiving?” Madaleno asked.
- State Sen. Bill Ferguson said “You’re either governor, or you’re a developer. Unfortunately, the governor appears to have struggled with this decision. Your focus has to be on the people of Maryland, not the returns from your investments.”
“It’s the exact same as Donald Trump’s sons running the Trump Organization,” he added.