TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — Baltimore County Councilwoman Cathy Bevins, a Democrat representing District 6, violated the county charter earlier this year when she briefly moved to a house in a neighboring councilmanic district, according to a new report by the Baltimore County Office of the Inspector General.
District 6 includes parts of East Towson, Overlea and Parkville, and stretches out to cover Middle River and other communities along the Chesapeake Bay, according to a county map. But the Office of the Inspector General found Bevins left a rental property to buy a house in the 21236 ZIP Code outside her district.READ MORE: Health Officials Urge Vaccination & Boosters As COVID-19 Rate Rises, Omicron Arrives In Maryland
Real estate records attached with Inspector General Kelly Madigan’s report show Bevins moved into the residence in September, and voting records show Bevins made it her primary residence that same month.
Property records show the deed for the land was transferred to Bevins and her spouse at the end of July 2021.
Madigan’s office interviewed Bevins about the transaction in November, according to the report. Bevins recalled a May conversation with an attorney to the council who said the charter permits councilmembers to move out of their districts “as long as the councilmember had been residing in their district for two years prior to running for office,” the report said.
But the charter goes on to say: “If any member of the county council during his term of office shall move his residence from the councilmanic district in which he resided at the time of his election, his office shall be forthwith vacated.”READ MORE: Maryland Has Three Confirmed Cases Of The Omicron Variant Of COVID-19, Hogan Says
After reviewing the charter, Bevins contacted the council attorney in August and the lawyer apologized for their mistake, the report said.
At some point in September, Bevins moved into the one-bedroom apartment of a family member that is in her district. She said the family member does not spend a lot of time at the apartment due to their work schedule, the report said.
The next month, Bevins signed an amended lease listing her as the primary resident of the apartment, the report said.
According to the report, only the Office of Law can issue an opinion on the charter violation, and it is currently researching the matter.MORE NEWS: Jury Watches Interrogation Video In Murder Trial For Keith Smith, Who Blamed Panhandler For Wife's Death
Madigan’s office also suggested the council consider adopting enforcement measures for charter violations. No such provisions exist, the report said.