City Council Calling for Audit Following Waste Watch Investigations
Updated: Friday, January 18 2013, 09:58 AM EST
After a series of Fox45 Waste Watch investigations, Baltimore City Councilman Carl Stokes says he's had enough.
Stokes says wasteful spending on a convention center hotel and payouts to city employees to compensate for injuries needs a closer look.
A recent Fox45 investigation revealed that the convention center hotel is having trouble paying its bills and the workers compensation payouts for injuries have cost the city $100 million over the past three years.
In a report from ratings agency Moodys, the outlook is negative for the $300 million Convention Center Hotel.
The agency cited lower than projected revenues, a poor economy, and an increasingly competitive convention business as the primary factors which could hamper the hotel's future performance. The firm also noted that the hotel had dipped into cash reserves to make debt payments. The report also suggests the project may have to turn to taxpayers for a bailout
Stokes is also calling for an audit of payouts to city employees for injuries. Fox45 uncovered dozens of claims filed by city workers that Stokes says are troubling. Almost 1,300 claims for compensation came from police officers over the past two years. But what were most troubling were claims for insect bites, trips and falls. One city teacher sought compensation for injury because a student snapped her finger while another claimed to be harmed by a falling laptop.
One transportation worker sought compensation for breathing gas fumes while another wanted compensation for getting a cut while taking headphones off their head.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and her administration has stood by the city's convention hotel but says she welcomes working with the council and individual council members on any issue that they think is important.