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Government & Politics Justice

Debt-Laden Glenn Followed the Money

Former Del. Cheryl D. Glenn leaves the federal courthouse in Baltimore on Jan. 22. Photo by William F. Zorzi.

By the spring of 2018, then-Del. Cheryl D. Glenn, the Baltimore City Democrat who pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges related to a bribery scheme, was in a financial jam.

Glenn was behind in payments with the company that held a $241,500 home-equity mortgage on her East Baltimore home, while a Baltimore City property tax bill for more than $2,700 was coming due – and she still had not paid the tax bill for a similar amount from the previous year.

Her $50,330-a-year salary as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates was not covering the outlay.

So, in March 2018, midway through the legislative session, when the possibility of getting paid for her vote in favor of a medical marijuana bill arose, she seized on it.

Glenn took her first of four cash bribes totaling $33,750 on April 20, 2018, when a person identified in federal court records only as Associate 1 – a go-between in an apparent deal with officials of a medical marijuana company — pushed $3,000 in cash across the table to her in a Baltimore County restaurant.

Less than two weeks later, on May 2, 2018, the $5,532.94 balance owed in property taxes was paid on her home in the 5200 block of Darien Road, city Finance Department records show.

Four-and-a-half months later, on Sept. 20, 2018, lawyers for Reverse Mortgage Solutions Inc. began foreclosure proceedings against her, filing paperwork in Baltimore City Circuit Court to take her Darien Road home, court records show.

By then, Glenn had taken another $5,000 bribe, this time for agreeing to lead an effort to change Maryland law to give preference to in-state medical marijuana license applicants.

She would go on to take another $25,750 in bribes in two more schemes, one in return for a bill lowering the state qualifications of methadone clinic medical directors, and the other for legislation providing for a liquor license on Belair Road in Baltimore.

Federal prosecutors charged that Glenn solicited and took the bribes between March 4, 2018, and Feb. 11, 2019, before FBI agents confronted her.

Glenn, 68, a former union and community activist who was at the fore of pushing for legalization and then expansion of medical marijuana in Maryland, was charged with wire fraud and bribery in a federal criminal information dated July 23, 2019, but not unsealed until Dec. 23, five days after she abruptly quit the House of Delegates without comment. She was a year into her fourth term representing East Baltimore’s 45th District.

She apparently has been cooperating with investigators since February 2019 and signed a plea agreement with federal prosecutors July 16, 2019 – months before it was finally revealed Thursday — in which she admitted taking the bribes and to the specifics of the schemes.

That year-old plea agreement was not made public until Thursday morning at U.S. District Court, a day after Glenn pleaded guilty in open court to the two criminal charges – a wire fraud count and a violation of the federal Travel Act — before U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake in Baltimore.

After the court proceeding concluded, the two FBI case agents who had been sitting at the prosecution table with the two assistant U.S. attorneys overseeing the case, walked across the courtroom and hugged Glenn.

The federal public corruption investigation into goings-on at the State House appears far from over, and news of Glenn’s cooperation with investigators has surely sent a chill through some in Annapolis.

Both Glenn and her lawyer, William C. Brennan Jr., a criminal defense attorney based in Greenbelt, have declined comment.

As it turns out, Glenn did not lose her home, documents filed in the Baltimore City Circuit Court show.

The Harbor Bank of Maryland refinanced her home on Sept. 20, 2019, granting her a $152,000 mortgage on the property, which she agreed to repay by Oct. 1, 2049, when she is 98, court records show.

The property is currently is valued at $120,100 by the state Department of Assessments and Taxation.

The Harbor Bank loan was enough to pay Reverse Mortgage Solutions Inc. the outstanding balance of $109,448.37 on its original $241,500 home-equity mortgage, which the company granted Glenn on April 15, 2016, nearly a year after her husband, Benjamin G. “Ben” Glenn Sr., died on May 30, 2015, records show.

The Reverse Mortgage Solutions debt was officially satisfied Sept. 27, 2019, court documents show.

The Harbor Bank refinancing also provided her with another $42,551.63, court records show. But as part of her federal plea agreement, Glenn agreed to forfeit $33,750 she took in bribes.

She currently owes $1,215.46 to the City of Baltimore in back water bills, city Department of Public Works records show. Her last water bill payment was Dec. 3, 2019, when $500 was paid on the account, the records show.

But her Baltimore City property taxes are up to date.

For the current fiscal year, ending June 30, $2,600.40 was paid on Jan. 14, 2020, city Finance Department records show. The amount due shows as $0.00.

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Debt-Laden Glenn Followed the Money