Lawmakers probe spending practices at Maryland state agency

Maryland

FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — A legislative panel in Annapolis Wednesday probed questionable payouts to the head of a state environmental management agency. And a Maryland state senator says the head of that agency went way out of bounds.

Roy McGrath was in charge of financing wastewater projects for Maryland county and local governments. But as he prepared to transition to the State House as chief of staff to Governor Larry Hogan, it was discovered he not only arranged for a six-figure severance, he collected reimbursement for thousands of dollars in luxury travel, tuition reimbursement for his classes at Harvard, and blatant violations of state policy for submitting financial documents to the agency.

“You know, he claims the governor was aware of this,” said State Senator Ronald N. Young (D – Frederick). “I don’t know if the governor was or not. The governor did, when he found out about it, let the guy go immediately. So he did the right thing at that point.”

And Senator Young says this kind of payout may be fine in the private sector, but we’re talking about tax dollars here.

“I just couldn’t believe that someone transferred from a semi-public agency to a public job and got a buyout like that,” Young says. “It’s unheard of.”

And as for that thousand dollar hotel stay? That was a night in New York. But it was one of 79 hotel bookings he charged to the state, including overseas travel.

“I don’t know from what I read that there’s anything there that’s illegal,” Senator Young said,”but it certainly needs to be corrected.”

McGrath, in a welcoming e-mail to his successor at the state agency wrote “it’s a cushy deal.”

Said House of Delegate member Marc Korman (D – Montgomery County), “McGrath treated his job like it was a gravy train.”

And a text exchange from McGrath to the governor as the news got out shows McGrath typing, “never asked for anything but need your help now please.”

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