Former Maryland Chief of Staff Larry Hogan abused his position as leader of the Maryland Environmental Service, including by securing an unprecedented $233,647 severance package, according to a legislative investigation.
The investigation also said Roy McGrath collected exorbitant personal expenses and hired inappropriate close personal associates, The Baltimore Sun reported. Lawmakers released the results of the investigation Friday in an 82-page report detailing McGrath’s behavior and recommending MES seek financial restitution for money McGrath and his associate Matthew Sherring spent on activities irrelevant to their business. work.
Senate Speaker Bill Ferguson called the report “deeply disturbing on all levels.”
“Mr. McGrath’s conduct and disregard for long-standing rules and policies to enrich himself and loyal friends goes beyond what we expect from our officials,” Ferguson, a Democrat in Baltimore, said in a statement.
House Speaker Adrienne Jones, a Democrat in Baltimore County, said the behavior described in the report “dissolves public trust in our entire system of government and can never be tolerated.”
“The committee’s work to expose this egregious behavior was the first step in restoring that confidence, and we hope that the remaining questions about Mr McGrath’s talks with the Hogan administration will eventually be answered, ” she said.
McGrath resigned in August 2020 after being criticized for accepting severance pay when he left the environmental agency to work in the governor’s office. He spent 11 weeks as Hogan’s chief of staff before reports of his severance package surfaced.
In October 2021, McGrath was indicted. Among the charges, he was charged with using Maryland Environmental Service funds to pay a personal pledge to a museum and got the agency to pay tuition for a class after resigning from his job as executive director. He also recorded conversations with senior state officials without their permission, it says.
According to federal and state charges, McGrath personally enriched himself in 2019 and 2020 by using his positions of trust to get the agency to make payments to him. The indictment alleges that McGrath led the agency’s board to approve a $233,647 severance package — equivalent to one year’s salary — by falsely telling them the governor approved the payment.
When Hogan questioned McGrath about the package, McGrath falsely told him that the board offered him the severance payment in accordance with customary practice, the indictment said.
The General Assembly launched a probe shortly after the revelations in 2020. The Joint Legislative Committee investigating McGrath hired outside advisors, collected evidence and heard testimony in 2020 and 2021.