Who are Larry Hogan’s Secret Guests in State-Owned Luxury Boxes Paid for by Taxpayers?

Sep 21, 2018

Annapolis, MD—Today, the Maryland Democratic Party released documents that show that on numerous occasions Governor Larry Hogan has used the state-owned, taxpayer-funded luxury boxes at Camden Yards, Fedex Field, and M&T Bank Stadium to allow his real estate business, the Hogan Companies, to bring guests to events. The records show that Hogan has personally hosted Hogan Companies executives, including Hogan Companies president Tim Hogan, who has used the box at least nine times. On at least four occasions, Tim Hogan brought his own guests to events and the Hogan administration will not divulge their identities. On two other occasions, Tim Hogan brought his wife as a guest, but she was disclosed on internal attendance records. Additionally, at least five other Hogan Companies executives and employees made appearances in the luxury boxes, gaining prime access to state decision-makers.                                             

The documents raise serious questions about Gov. Hogan’s involvement with the Hogan Companies during his tenure and suggest that Hogan has used taxpayer resources and his position as governor to benefit the company.

Taxpayers deserve to know what guests Tim Hogan brought to these events and why their identities were hidden on the attendance lists. Were they potential clients of the Hogan Companies? What connections or business advantage did the Hogan Companies gain from their presence at state-owned luxury boxes surrounded by high-ranking state officials?

Larry Hogan has been criticized for refusing to disinvest from the Hogan Companies as governor and continuing to profit from the company, despite clear conflicts of interest. Questions continue to arise about whether the business has profited by decisions made by his administration. Instead of divesting from his real estate holdings and stake in the Hogan Companies, as ethics experts have called on him to do, Hogan merely put these assets into an open trust managed by three trustees – two of which themselves were given access to state luxury boxes.

“These documents confirm Maryland taxpayers’ worst fear about Larry Hogan’s conflicts of interest,” said Maryland Democratic Party chair Kathleen Matthews. “Instead of completely divesting from his real estate business, Governor Hogan’s continued involvement in his private company leaves Marylanders wondering if he’s working for them,or to enrich himself. Taxpayers deserve to see verifiable proof of who these guests were, and the Hogan Administration should explain why numerous executives for a private company owned by the Governor have been given prime access to luxury boxes.”

The State of Maryland owns luxury boxes at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, FedEx Field, and M&T Bank Stadium, with their use controlled by the governor. Hogan Companies executives make regular use of the luxury boxes. In total, at least six different employees of the Hogan Companies have made appearances in the taxpayer-owned and funded luxury boxes – a high percentage of the company, which during Hogan’s tenure as governor has only listed having between roughly 10 to 14 employees in total. Attendees during these events frequently ordered beer, wine, liquor and food likely on taxpayers’ dime, likely totaling thousands of dollars. Attendance lists for each of these events can be found here. Itemizations or receipts for beer, wine, liquor, and food ordered at these events can be found here.

Tim Hogan has attended at least nine events in the State of Maryland’s luxury boxes.

For six of those nine events, he is listed as being permitted to bring guests – consisting of his wife on two of those occasions and unspecified as to who attended on the remaining four.

Particularly noteworthy events include:

  • On April 10, 2015, Tim Hogan attended the Orioles opening day game along with an unspecified guest. Gov. Hogan was also in attendance at this game.
  • On April 26, 2015, Tim Hogan and his unnamed personal guests (amount unspecified) attended an Orioles game.
  • On May 15, 2015, Tim Hogan and his unnamed personal guests (amount unspecified) attended an Orioles game where the only others listed as being in the box were Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford and Rutherford’s guests.
  • On November 22, 2015, Tim Hogan attended a Ravens game in the luxury box. Also in attendance at this event were Gov. Hogan and three Hogan Companies executives – Jake Ermer, Kevin Setzer, and Victor White. Attendees at that event ordered numerous bottles of wine, beer, and food, including crab dip likely on taxpayers’ dime.
  • On December 3, 2017, Tim Hogan attended a Ravens game and is listed as using four tickets, meaning he had multiple unspecified individuals he brought to the game with him. The only others listed as being in the box for this event were Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, who used 10 tickets on unspecified individuals. Attendees at this event spent over $800 likely in taxpayer money on food and alcohol, including beers and bottles of Crown Royal whiskey, and Tito’s vodka.

Also attending events from the Hogan Companies were Chief Operating Officer and trustee of Gov. Hogan’s open trust Victor White, Vice President and trustee of Gov. Hogan’s open trust Jake Ermer, Vice President Kevin Setzer, former chief legal officer David Katz, and former Senior Associate Ray Blackburn.

Additionally, guests in the luxury boxes at events attended by the Hogan Companies executives and their invited guests ordered thousands of dollars worth of liquor, beer, wine, and food, likely on taxpayers’ dime. This includes Crown Royal whiskey, Titos’ vodka, beer, wine, crab cakes, and shrimp cocktail, among other items.