A City Hall meeting on the Dollar House Bill descended into a “pep rally” on April 26 when Boston-based Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) CEO, Bruce Marks, invited the audience to “pound” on the office door of Mayor Brandon Scott–who Marks described as an opposer of the bill, Fern Shen reports for Baltimore Brew. Though one out-of-town attendee later realized she was ineligible for the bill’s assistance, Krisha Syrkes said a “misleading” email from Marks encouraged her and others to travel to the meeting hosted by the bill’s sponsor, City Council President Nick Mosby.
How did messaging from Marks ‘mislead’ some members of the crowd?
On April 23, Syrkes received an email from Marks inviting her and other NACA program participants to the meeting, which he called a “crucial hearing” on a bill that would allow buyers to purchase homes in the city for a dollar and renovate them with a $50,000 grant and additional NACA funds. Syrkes lives in Virginia, but Marks’ email and remarks at the meeting failed to mention that the legislation would only apply to Baltimore residents.
“I have never felt more betrayed and bewildered,” Syrkes said. “I was appalled by his performance,” she added, blaming Marks for “riling everybody up.” Mosby left the room as Marks began speaking, and he later apologized, expressing his surprise at the group’s actions. In response to the event, six city council members wrote an op-ed criticizing Mosby.
Anything else I should know?
Baltimore laws require individuals who consult with lawmakers to influence legislation to register as a lobbyist, however, Marks’ name is not currently on that list.
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