The head of the Baltimore Economic Development Entity said a former mayor’s claims that the quasi-public organization has $ 30 million in funds it should lend are false.
During the Baltimore Development Corp. Board of Directors meeting. Johns Hopkins University board member Christy Wyskiel on Thursday asked about claims made by former Mayor Sheila Dixon at a candidates’ forum sponsored by the Open Society Institute-Baltimore on February 5 that the organization accumulates funds in its microcredit fund.
” I do not know where it comes from. It’s completely non-factual, ”said Colin Tarbert, President and CEO of BDC.
A recently completed audit of the organization, which was released after the board meeting, shows that BDC currently has total assets of over $ 26.9 million and approximately $ 2.98 million in loan funds.
There is currently about $ 380,000, Tarbert said, in the agency’s micro-loan pool. BDC uses these funds to make loans typically ranging from $ 5,000 to $ 30,000, he said. Businesses mainly use credit to purchase new equipment.
“A few big loans and we’ll be out of loan funds,” Tarbert told board members.
Dixon made her statements in response to a question posed by the forum moderator about what she would do as mayor to increase investment in inner cities. The former mayor began by saying that she would use incentives to encourage small developers to invest in communities that are suffering from divestment before turning to BDC.
“Right now, BDC, the Baltimore Development Corporation, has $ 30 million in micro-loans that haven’t been distributed to a single small business. I would take that $ 30 million out of the Baltimore Development Corporation and work with small businesses to help them grow or start their businesses, ”Dixon said.
Dixon’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story. In two other candidate forums available for online review, the former mayor did not repeat the request.
The first African-American woman to be elected president of city council and first woman to be elected mayor of Baltimore, Dixon resigned in early 2010 under a plea deal after admitting her guilt on a perjury charge and had previously been convicted of one charge embezzlement.
After leaving office, Dixon worked as a marketing director for the Maryland Minority Contractors Association, which advocates for these types of businesses to have more opportunities and access to government markets.
Dixon in 2016 ran to regain his old job. She lost the Democratic mayor’s primary to former mayor Catherine Pugh by around 2,400 votes. Pugh resigned from his post last year during a federal investigation into his “Healthy Holly” scandal and subsequently pleaded guilty to four federal counts.
Dixon is running for mayor again in an overcrowded Democratic primary area that includes current Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, City Council Chairman Brandon Scott, State Senator Mary Washington, Lawyer Thiru Vignarajah and Mary Miller, who served in the former president of Barack Obama’s administration.