Annapolis, MD—Today, Maryland Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Matthews joined Senator Richard Madaleno and activists fighting for a living wage on a press call to renew their demand for Larry Hogan to divest from his real estate business and urge the governor to focus on governing and increasing wages for Maryland workers, who have seen their wages fall behind the nation and the region.
In his three years as governor, Hogan has been profiting handsomely from his real estate businesses, according to a Baltimore Sun report published on Friday. 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.
“Marylanders are right to be concerned that Larry Hogan is profiting off of his Maryland real estate holdings while serving as our governor,” said Senator Richard Madaleno. “As the head of his party continues to make news every day due to his unethical involvement in his real estate businesses, Larry Hogan has decided to follow suit. We need him to completely divest his Maryland real estate ventures and make clear that his priority is public service, not personal profit.”
“Since Larry Hogan entered office, has taken home millions in profits while Maryland workers have seen their wages continue to fall behind the region and the nation,” said Maryland Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Matthews. “The secrecy surrounding the relationship between Governor Hogan’s businesses and his administration raises many questions about Governor Hogan’s decisions. He must divest from his company and in the interest of transparency, he should make public all properties in which he has a financial interest.”
“For too many years Marylanders are losing earning power under this governor. We need a governor who is going to fight for working-class families, not a one whose personal private business is profiting while his constituents’ earnings are lagging,” said Gustavo Torres, President of CASA in Action.
“If you don’t want people to starve, you have to make sure we can earn enough,” said Faizan Shahid, a father of three and Menzies airplane fueler at BWI who’s fighting to join 32BJ SEIU. “I couldn’t afford to keep my car which means I’m no longer able to drive for Lyft as an extra source of income. A $15 minimum wage would mean I wouldn’t run out of money for milk to feed my baby and I wouldn’t have miss out on being a parent.”
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.”
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.